Achtung Baby Live | Live Show
The Stage Architecture for U2’s show U2:UV at the Sphere marks a bold development from the band's previous stage setups. This show is a reimagining of the traditional performance space and its relationship with the spectators in this brand new, state of the art building.
- // 2023
- // Theatre Residency
- // Las Vegas, USA
In past U2 tours, stage architecture often featured bespoke video screens that doubled as sculptural masterpieces, framing and supporting the performance area. However, Sphere brings a paradigm shift. The colossal 250ft high spherical video surface immediately takes centre stage, dominating the visual identity of the show.
Collaborating with U2 under the Creative & Show Direction of Willie Williams, together with Artist, Es Devlin, the concept of the production is as a group art show including works from various artists. The canvas of the screen stands as the major focus of the design with a simple statement infront as the performance space.
The band takes their place on a striking, square, monolithic stage platform that seems to hover slightly above the audience. This STUFISH designed stage draws inspiration from Brian Eno’s illuminated record players, functioning not just as a stage but as a mesmerizing and sculptural work of art in its own right. Measuring 14m (46ft) square, the stage surface itself is an expansive video screen, radiating light, colour and imagery that envelops the space throughout the show.
The juxtaposition of the raised 10m (30ft) circular centre level, set within the larger square video stage creates a visually striking stage layout.
In the vast expanse of the Sphere, where intimacy and grandeur coexist, the staging serves as the connective tissue between the band and the immersive visuals that envelop the audience.
Rather than competing with the screen’s colossal scale, it acts as the adhesive, forging a connection between the musicians and the captivating images that wrap around the audience, transforming the entire space into a living canvas for their performance.
As with every U2 project, It’s a visionary leap forward in concert design.
U2:UV Emblem Design
The emblem for U2:UV is a captivating fusion of artistic elements, designed by STUFISH to encapsulate the spirit of the U2 live experience, the intricate stage design, the vibrant allure of Las Vegas neon lights, and the architecture of the Sphere. It weaves together a tapestry of colours, shapes, text, and animation to form a truly immersive visual identity.
At its core, the emblem draws inspiration from the illuminated record players created by Brian Eno. Like these captivating devices, the emblem’s various components come to life through a gradual metamorphosis of colors, orchestrated by a dynamic algorithm. This spectral dance evokes the ever-shifting, pulsating lights of the vibrant Las Vegas strip, immersing viewers in a continuous visual journey. To infuse vitality into the logo, multiple versions have been created, each bathing the emblem in a different spectrum of hues.
For the digital realm and as a live artwork on the Exo-Sphere, an animated version is set to the soundscape of Brian Eno which adds an extra layer of anticipation and intrigue. It draws viewers into the spaces between the shifting layers of colour, where energy and excitement await.
In essence, the emblem for U2.UV is not merely a static symbol; it’s a living, breathing embodiment of the U2 experience, a harmonious blend of art, technology, and emotion that invites all who behold it to become part of the journey
Creative Director Willie Williams Set Designer STUFISH Executive Director and Band Consultant Gavin Friday Creative Consultant/Video Artist Es Devlin Creative Consultant and Choreographer Morleigh Steinberg Creative Consultant, Stylist, Head of Wardrobe Sharon Blankson Sound Design Joe O’Herlihy Video Live Director Stefaan “Smasher” Desmedt Sound Consultants Steve Lillywhite, Jacknife Lee Live Content Producer Treatment Studio Video Artist John Gerrard Video Artist Marco Brambilla Video Artist Industrial Light and Magic
Production Manager Jake Berry Associate Director Mike Smith Tour Director Ciaran Flaherty Tour Producer/Promoter Arthur Fogel for Live Nation Management Principle Management, Full Stop Management Stage Built by TAIT Custom Video Floor by FUSE Custom Automated lighting towers Y-Lines Softgoods Rosebrand Additional Scenic and Prop Fabrication SRS Fabrication, Electric Sky.
Photos and Sketches by STUFISH, Rich Fury