Courtesy of Apple Music
The band also performed an impromptu acoustic version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” during a camera change, recalling a moment from the 1987 Vegas video.
U2 will kick off their two residencies at Las Vegas’ Sphere with at least one new track: “Atomic City,” a Vegas-themed tune that’s expected to be released on or before the band’s opening show on Sept. 29. While filming the music video, the foursome played the song Saturday on repeat while placed on a flatbed trailer parked on Fremont Street in the neon-filled downtown area.
And by the four, we mean the entire, original line-up with Larry Mullen Jr. on drums. Although the founding drummer will be sitting out the Sphere residency due to health reasons — Bram van den Berg will be filling in for the shows — Mullen was in tow with three others on a trailer that was being driven around town, apparently also taking part in the recording session that took place earlier for “Atomic City “.
Page U2songs.com gathered on-scene reports from fans who captured video of the downtown Vegas set, posting the full lyrics to the song, as well as video clips of the performance and Bono’s comments. Las Vegas Review Journal entertainment columnist John Katsilometes was also on hand to provide extensive video coverage of the shoot as well as a press release.
“All four of us recorded the song. Unfortunately, Larry Mullen Jr. he won’t be with us at the Sphere,” Bono told the crowd, according to Katsilometes’ report in the Review Bulletin. “She doesn’t follow doctors orders…Neither do many of us. But tonight he’s here… Give it up for Larry Mullen Jr.!”
The arrival of a truck pulling a trailer in the city center was not spontaneous. Katsilometes said that 250 extras were solicited by email and each paid $150 per set, so the band went through “Atomic City” four times. It’s clear that there was no cell phone ban on the extras, as almost every observer on set appears to be holding one to take video. Fans on the website reporting to U2songs.com said that the backing tracks appeared to be pre-recorded during the recording, but Bono was singing live.
Bono described the new song as “a rock ‘n’ roll 45 in the vein of ’70s post-punk, Blondie, the Clash, some ’70s punk… We’ll take it from everywhere.”
The title of the new song refers to the nickname Las Vegas got in the 1940s.
“I’m free / I came here for a match / I’m front row in Las Vegas / And there’s a big one tonight,” the Sin City-centric tune sings.
The group also delighted the extras during the camera change by playing – not to the backing track – a new arrangement of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, the original video for which was also shot in the same area. in downtown Las Vegas in the late 1980s before the current outdoor roof was installed over the famous boulevard. Bono told the crowd they were reworking the 1987 rock classic and said, “Let’s try it as a country song. Anyway, it’s kind of like Saturday night on Sunday morning; it’s a confession that I don’t go to confession.”
According to U2songs.com, Mullen recorded with the rest of the band in the south of France, as well as in two studios in Los Angeles, with producer Steve Lillywhite, in sessions that ended early last week. However, the site noted that Bono appeared to be improvising or tossing and turning in the spots, suggesting that the lyrics may still be changing.
The fan site noted that this was the first time the group had performed in public since the closing of “Joshua Tree” in late 2019.