October 10, 2023
Melinda Head

What is the Las Vegas Sphere?

An experience like none other

The World’s most advanced audio-visual stadium has opened in Las Vegas.

It consists of a 17,600 seat venue (20,000 standing capacity) with a 360 degree immersive video display that wraps up, over and around the audience.

Within the large dome is a 160,000 sq. ft. LED display with 16K x 16K resolution and a 256 color palate.

Beyond the visual experience, the Sphere has 1,600 permanently installed and 300 mobile loudspeaker modules designed to provide “controlled, consistent and crystal-clear concert grade audio … providing each audience member with a truly exceptional and personalized listening experience”.  

It also features infrasound haptic seating, which allows audience members to “feel” environmental effects, as well as other atmospheric effects, such as wind, scents and temperature, “to create multi-sensory experiences that take storytelling to an entirely new level”.

Connected to the Venetian Hotel, the $2.3 billion Sphere (just a paltry $1.1 billion over-budget) is co-owned by Madison Square Garden Group and Las Vegas Sands Corp. It was designed by Populous, a renowned global architectural and design firm that Fast Company named the most innovative architectural firm in 2022.

www.thespherevegas.com says that, when the exoskeleton screen is lit up, the Sphere can be seen from space. Light pollution is not a concern in Las Vegas, but it is a concern in Stratford, just outside of London, England, where the next Sphere installation is envisaged. Locals are not impressed by the offer of free blackout window blinds.

U2 was brought onboard to debut the Las Vegas Sphere and will play a 25 show residency there until the end of the year. The rumor mill says that Harry Styles might be the next big gig.

Edge, Adam, Bono, and drummer Bram Van den Berg (sitting in for Larry) took to the Brian Eno inspired illuminated turntable stage.

Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, Andre Agassi, Paul McCartney, Matt Damon, Luke Wilson, Neil Patrick Harris, Connie Britton, Jimmy Kimmel, Bryan Cranston and LeBron James were on hand for the inaugural experience, among other celebrities.

Mind-blowing is an understatement:

“IMAX meets the Death Star with a lot of swagger.” (USA Today)

“Just WOW.” (Lauren Sanchez, Jeff Bezos’ current partner)

“… things looked absolutely out of control, with wild animations spanning the entirety of the screen in ways that must be completely disorienting for our lizard brains. People were just losing it.” (The Verge)

“The @spherevegas is a musical multiverse of madness!!” (Skylar Astin, Actor)

"An utterly astonishing, admirably raw Vegas extravaganza …This cocktail of eye-popping visuals and slightly unruly performances absolutely works." (The Guardian)

For those who can’t make it to Vegas or for whom U2 Sphere ticket prices are too high, you’ll just have to settle for your own personal VR experience.

The Meta Quest 3 (previously know as the Oculus) may be your best option for an individual immersive experience minus haptics

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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