U2 Name Live Drummer for New 2023 Las Vegas Residency
Last fall, U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. revealed that he would be taking time off in 2023, regardless of what the band had planned. Now, with the Super Bowl reveal of U2's planned Las Vegas residency at the MSG Sphere at The Venetian this coming fall, it has now been confirmed that Mullen will not be taking part, but the band has a drummer lined up for the shows.
Bram van den Berg will be sitting in with the band, and doing so with the blessing of Mullen, as revealed in a statement accompanying the residency announcement. “It's going to take all we've got to approach the Sphere without our bandmate in the drum seat, but Larry has joined us in welcoming Bram van den Berg who is a force in his own right," stated Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton.
The 40-year-old Dutch drummer is best known for his time with the band Krezip. “VERY excited about this opportunity to join Bono, The Edge and Adam on stage in Las Vegas. It’s big shoes to fill but Larry and the band have been so supportive, I can’t wait!!," said the drummer in a posting on Instagram.
“We are incredibly proud of him!! The fact that a legendary band like U2, and also one of Bram’s favorite bands, has now come his way is unbelievable," stated the band Krezip in a posting. "And again, because of course we’ve known for a long time how good he is..!” The drummer's U2 stint will only be a temporary one, with the musician expected to retain his role in Krezip after his services with U2 this year are fulfilled.
As for Larry Mullen Jr., he stated last fall in a Washington Post preview article hyping the band's Kennedy Center Honors celebration, "You only do this if you're having the best time, and not everyone is going to make it because the price is so high. So I think the challenge is for more generosity. More openness to the process. I am autonomous and I value my autonomy. I don't sing from the same hymn sheet. I don't pray to the same version of God. So everyone has their limits."
He later added, "I have lots of bits falling off, elbows, knees, necks, and so during COVID, when we weren't playing, I got a chance to have a look at some of these things. So I'd like to take some time, which I will do to get myself healed." He then went on to express his joy in playing in the company of creative people and will miss the audiences, before confirming, "My body is not what it used to be physically. Like next year, I won't be performing live next year. I don't know what the band’s plan is. There's talk of all kinds of things."
Just as U2 previously toured to recognize the anniversary of their album The Joshua Tree, these 2023 residency dates will serve as a nod to their 1991 album Achtung Baby. A brief ad revealing their Las Vegas residency was revealed during the Super Bowl, with the full ad also available down below as well.
The show, titled U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at the Sphere will find the band playing The Veneitian hotel's new state-of-the-art venue, MSG Sphere at the Venetian. The dates will take place this fall, marking U2's first live outing in four years. While the official dates have yet to be announced, fans can register to be alerted of ticketing info using Live Nation's Verified Fan service.
The band stated, "The Sphere show has been in the works for a long time. We don’t want to let people down, least of all our audience… the truth is we miss them as much as they appear to miss us… our audience was always the fifth member of the band. Bottom line, U2 hasn’t played live since December 2019 and we need to get back onstage and see the faces of our fans again. And what a unique stage they’re building for us out there in the desert… We’re the right band, ACHTUNG BABY the right album, and the Sphere the right venue to take the live experience of music to the next level… That’s what U2’s been trying to do all along with our satellite stages and video installations, most memorably on the ZOO TV Tour, which ended in Tokyo 30 years ago this fall. The Sphere is more than just a venue, it’s a gallery and U2’s music is going to be all over the walls.”
The Edge added, "The beauty of the Sphere is not only the ground-breaking technology that will make it so unique, with the world’s most advanced audio system, integrated into a structure which is designed with sound quality as a priority; it’s also the possibilities around immersive experience in real and imaginary landscapes. In short, it’s a canvas of an unparalleled scale and image resolution and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation.”
In other U2 news, the band just released "One" from their Songs of Surrender collection, which features 40 of the band's biggest songs re-recorded and reimagined. The song, with the new arrangement, was used during a Super Bowl weekend feature saluting the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year. You can get Songs of Surrender and the new version of "One" here.