Vegas’ giant MSG Sphere is here, with U2 and Darren Aronofsky takeovers in the line-up

The $2.3 billion orb has an “event like no other” from Darren Aronofsky lined up, with the possibility of another Sphere coming to London.

Date
6 July 2023

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The MSG Sphere has shown off its $2.3 billion LED capabilities for the first time. A series of visualisers – among them fireworks, the American flag and the moon – dominated the Vegas skyline on 4 July. The 17,600-seat Sphere, which has been under construction since 2019 with reports of costs ballooning in the process, says it will “bring wonder to the world and redefine the future of live entertainment”. So what does it mean for visual arts?

Hosting music, film and sports, the Sphere aims to step far beyond the immersive VR and AR experiences which have dominated the art world over the past year. Speaking to Rolling Stone, MSG Ventures CEO David Dibble summed up the concept behind the venture: “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have VR experiences without those damn goggles?’ That’s what the Sphere is.”

The Whale director Darren Aronofsky is one of the first creatives signed up to create a “Sphere Experience”. Postcard From Earth comes to the Sphere in autumn and will make use of additional sensory elements like wind and scent.

The director says: “I see Sphere as a great opportunity to pluck people from the bling and thrum of the Vegas strip in all its human constructed madness and immerse them as fully as possible in the wonder, awe and beauty of the natural world. Postcard from Earth is a sci-fi journey deep into our future as our descendants reflect on our shared home.”

U2 is also putting on a live music experience at the venue called U2:UV Achtung Baby Live – readers can see the trailer for the event here. U2’s guitarist The Edge describes the Sphere as “a new genre of immersive experience, and a new art form” in Rolling Stone.

The Sphere promises more collaborations will be announced, suggesting leading creatives – across music and film – will be heading to Vegas to work on experience-led projects in the coming months, though the reaction from the creative world to the rise of immersive art experiences over the past year has been divided.

Talk of London’s very own Sphere coming to Stratford is ongoing, though many City Hall politicians have called on Sadiq Khan to refuse planning permission over concerns of travel and wildlife disruption and light pollution.

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Copyright © Sphere Entertainment Co. via YouTube Sphere, 2023

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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