Starting the day with brunch at one of Pearl's favorite places, Bouchon. The steak hash in particular was both interesting and well done, with mushrooms sub'ing for potatoes, while the poitrine de porc braisee was a great mash of flavors if you could remember to combine a bit of everything (grits, relish, braised pork, egg) in each bite. Benedicte au crabe and poulet et gaufres for the Lai's, the chicken (poulet) was roasted instead of deep fried, which was a bit of an odd combo with the bacon-and-chive waffle. Massive portion but Pearl did not finish.
Stopped by Zoo Station, U2's display/store inside the hotel, after lunch. Did lanyard pickup as well (hello Vibee package!), then walked over to The Sphere for even more merchandise. Supposedly the same as Zoo Station but we actually found some minor (and welcome) differences that were compelling enough to start spending money. Did I mention The Sphere close-up is even more impressive? Which to be fair, as it should be for $2.3 billion. We did a quick lunch after at rather busy Gordon Ramsay's Pub and Grill, where the beef wellington looked rare but was actually not rare enough, the sticky toffee was crazy sweet, and I unfortunately found both my salad and my shepherd's pie to be too salty.
The whole point of the trip, of course, was U2 at The Sphere, and holy crap, what a performance it was. Nearly a full 540 (not merely 360!) experience, it was even more than I expected. I don't want to know how much money or CPU hours or GPU hours needed to visualize such a performance to fully embrace what this venue can do. Maybe a third or half of the songs were done in a more conventional format for the visuals, just to remind you it's an amazing venue for that as well, but the end result was holy crap. U2 still holds up as well, and this residency-in-everything-but-name is still drawing legions of devoted fans, many of who do multiple shows and fully embrace the experience. One song was particularly effective with the ceiling seemingly crashing down, and another was waves of clouds/smoke/some sort of color effect. Yet another was like stars and the galaxy above, while one was back down to earth with (literally) Vegas as the background, then Vegas being deconstructed as the song went on.
In particular, Even Better Than the Real Thing, Mysterious Ways, One, All I Want Is You, So Cruel, Elevation, and Beautiful Day were unusually good, although honestly, just about everything was good-- even by U2's standards. Atomic City is also better live than it is recorded, which seems to be pretty common for a lot of U2's more recent stuff.
Getting out was a s***show til we figured out to go back via the lower level to the street, and the walk to Tacos El Gordo lead only to another massive line for tacos. But Pearl was determined and honestly the adobada (yet cooked on a vertical spit like al pastor) was pretty good.
A great night!
Setlist via setlist.fm:
Even Better Than the Real Thing
Until the End of the World
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World
All I Want Is You
When Love Comes to Town
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Love Rescue Me
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
Love Is Blindness
Where the Streets Have No Name
With Or Without You