Las Vegas was the last place on my list to visit. EVER! Vegas was a lost city to me. My images from Nicolas Cage on a bender in Leaving Las Vegas, and countless Hollywood films not to mention my own cringeworthy feelings meant — I was not going to ever go there.

I know that sounds dramatic, but I have my emotional baggage about the place. My dad had gambling issues, my first husband was hit by a car there and never made it back. Needless to say, it was off my list.

Thoughts of Vegas sank me.

But then they built The Sphere, a $2.3BN futuristic ball in the Nevada desert with the world’s biggest LED screen and suddenly I was curious. The images beckoned me toward it like a vibrating magnet. The dome looked like a planet, pulsating with light and energy and creativity. The images of it were powerful.

“Let’s go see U2 at the Sphere,” I said to my husband.

“You’re kidding, you want to go to Vegas?

“No, I don’t want to go to Vegas, but I want to go to The Sphere and see U2. I heard if we stay at the Wynn, it’s across the street, we barely have to go into Vegas, we can just go for the night and experience The Sphere.”

It was the second to last weekend U2 would be performing there and I heard the show was incredible and an immersive. Literally Rock and Roll re-imagined.

So a week before, we booked the trip and would go for a quick 24 hours.

Friday morning, February 23rd, we grabbed our backpacks, bringing only our toothbrushes, something to sleep in, and a fresh outfit. We were traveling on Spirit Airlines and didn’t want an up-charge for anything as we spent a pretty penny on the last minute tickets to the sold out show on Stub Hub.

Let me just say, everything we experienced during that 24 hour trip blew me away.

First of all, the Spirit flight was seamless. From everything I have heard, that never happens but the flight was on time, clean and a total non-event. We left Salt Lake at 3 pm and arrived in Vegas at 4 pm ( a one hour time difference).

The Uber ride to the Wynn Encore was quick and we checked into our gorgeous room which was part of a package hotel/air deal my husband had found. Genius!

And as we walked through the hotel, I was blown away by the gardens and mosaics and light. I kept saying, “Wow, it’s amazing, this is so beautiful and elegant.”

It seemed that everyone was dressed in every day clothing. Running shorts, sneakers, comfy clothing, nothing outrageous. Another surprise.

We passed the slot machines and roulette tables, craps and croupiers that filled the common areas as we wandered through the connecting hotel lobbies, of which there were a few. It was great people watching and the retail stores were glittering with the most expensive offerings that we never did go into, but it didn’t cost to look.

We had a few names of restaurants but had reserved nothing because we wanted to get to the show early. We figured we would only have an hour to eat, so we would grab a bite before 6 pm and head over by 7pm. We wandered through the Venetian which was a short walk from our hotel, across an elevated walkway, and we never had to cross a street. Phew!

We landed at the bar of Sushi Samba which had a fun buzz. Apparently you needed a reservation there but we waited for a seat to open at the bar and when only one did, we shared it. The couple next to us was sharing a seat as well. The wife was celebrating her 48th birthday, her husband was there for his bowling finals with a $10K prize and they loved to gamble and came often. We shared stories and pictures of our doggies. They were adorable.

They told us what to order, it was happy hour and everything was half price and the sushi was incredible. Again a total shocker. Fresh delicious sushi in the middle of a lobby bar in Las Vegas. Wow!

By 6:45 everyone was starting to leave and we followed suit, walking the 20 minutes outside on the sidewalk to The Sphere. We joined what felt like a parade of concert goers. We learned the Sphere held 18K people which was a shocker. But, it all felt so orderly. There were police everywhere. People were dressed mostly in black, again, no glitter, in comfortable walking shoes.

Inside the Las Vegas sphere

There was something Worlds Fair like about entering the Sphere. We were ET entering a rocket ship to the future as we ascended 3 massive elevators to get to our 300 level where we would sit. It was spacious, despite all the people, there was nothing cramped or claustrophobic about the crowds or the venue. Dim lighting with Neon here and there invited us into what felt like the museum of the future.

We grabbed a drink, we bought neon light up Sphere cups like true touristas, and we headed to our seats. Walking into the sphere through a dimly lit entrance was zen-like. There was a calmness despite the crowds. It was oddly quiet.

We were awed with the vastness of the inside of this dome. Our seats were close together but not cramped and it seemed the entire place was in a state of awe as well, entranced by the space and curious about the experience to come.

And then the music started with an incredible DJ warming us all up, some of us got up to dance at our seats. It was upbeat but still calm. Oddly, the sound was just right and it didn’t pierce my ears. The DJ played for 40 minutes and we settled into the energy. And then like a big drum roll, the theme song of The 2001 A Space Odyssey vibrated through us, our seats even vibrated for real, and you could feel the rush of anticipation fill the space.

U2 walked onto the turn table designed stage and from then on it was pure electricity. The music, the message, the future, the art and the science flowed through us. There was something so hopeful about it all. Bono and his band are over 60 and look it which is totally relatable for we BA50s, and their message was an appreciation of our earth, our planet, our spirits, the power of positive energy and love. It was gorgeous and inspiring.

The light show was completely immersive and we sat for almost 3 hours. We were transported through all the elements of space and time: to deserts, through the galaxy, to other worlds, then back to reality which faded away back to the beginning of time — into the water. All of our senses were engaged.

I’m not sure what Vegas truly is still for me as I managed to avoid most of it but surprisingly, I am busy looking up what show I will go to next at The Sphere as the whole experience was BEYOND!

 

 

 

 

 

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