Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Wonder of this World


As we were landing in Las Vegas this month on our way to Boise, Idaho to see my partners Mom and to spend a week on Lake Payette, I looked down to get my first view of The Sphere.  It was the biggest dome I had ever seen and it looked like the construction was finally finished.

By the time we returned, what will soon be known by us all as the next Wonder of the World, had opened. And the first show was U2.

This from Wikipedia:

The sphere-shaped project was designed by Populous,[13] and its interior would include the world's largest LED screen.[10] MSG initially estimated the project cost at $1.2 billion.[10] In February 2020, the company said the cost had increased to $1.66 billion as a result of design changes consisting of guest enhancements.[14] The cost continued to increase, eventually surpassing $2 billion due to the 2021–2023 global supply chain crisis and the 2021–2022 inflation surge. With a final expected cost of $2.3 billion,[20] it is the most expensive entertainment venue in Las Vegas history, beating out the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

The Sphere opened on September 29, 2023, with Irish rock band U2 beginning a 25-show residency called U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere.

The dome's roof required 3,000 tons of steel.[42] The roof started to take shape in March 2021, as crews began the installation of 32 trusses, each one weighing 100 tons.[ Truss instalation reached the midway point in May 2021, and the crane had to be moved to the southern side of the property to install the remainder. 

The dome was topped off on June 18, 2021,[45] and work was already underway on an external exosphere which would be built around the dome.[46] The exosphere will be made of LED light panels which will be visible from several miles away. It will be 30 percent taller than the dome.

Upon completion of the roof's steel frame, 6,000 cubic yards (4,600 m3) of concrete were then pumped onto the roof. This formed a layer measuring 10 inches (250 mm) in thickness, and weighing approximately 10,000 tons.[49] The roof was finished in October 2021. Crews then turned their focus to a 730-ton steel interior frame which will support the LED screens and audio system.

A second topping out, for the exosphere, took place on May 24, 2022. This was followed by installation of the interior and exterior LED screens.[53] The latter was illuminated for the first time on July 4, 2023, during Independence Day celebrations.

The Sphere is 366 feet (112 m) high and 516 feet (157 m) wide at its broadest point.[25] It is the largest spherical building in the world at 875,000 sq ft (81,300 m2).

The NYT's review on the opening seemed a little overwhelmed as everyone else including the band seemed to be:  "And so there was Bono on Friday night, onstage, tantalizingly close, freakishly accessible and, in some moments, perhaps just a tad lost. His band, U2, was inaugurating Sphere, a hyperstimulating new performance venue in which the whole exterior is a screen, and essentially the whole interior as well." 

When I was a young man in my twenties, I owned an advertising agency that among other venues and clients, promoted the Armadillo World Headquarters. It was a great way to grow up.  Armadillo is famous in Austin and in Texas.  It was there that we introduced Willy Nelson to everyone, not just the Hillbillies.  It was there that we recorded Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. It was there that we formated a new radio format called "progressive country" where the rednecks and the hippies learned to get along for a while. It was there that we spawned the first PBS music show, later to become the longest running show on PBS called Austin City Limits.

My love of music and the performance arts morphed into my love for humanity resulting in a career of developing large scale renewable energy projects so that Austin and Texas now have more renewable energy today than pretty much anybody. And, I have spoken about the Texas experience in North and South America and in Europe, showing that we can affordably meet the needs of an advanced society without drowning ourselves in carbon dioxide and the rising seas that accompany it.

And it is a wonder of this world that the nations are so challenged to overcome the greatest failure of the free Market ever, and effectively fight climate change, and bring about the policies that can save us all.

And it would take a lot to get me interested in a performance venue in Las Vegas given the crises we face in our Climate and in the health of our Body Politic.

But a sphere is not just a metaphor, it is where we all live.  

And we are going to see U2 in 

the Sphere



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Anonymous said...

Fantastic Facts Mr.O

2:45 PM  

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