U2 Tell Apple Music About New Song "Atomic City" and Preview Their Upcoming Run of Shows at Sphere in Las Vegas

Article Contributed by Apple | Published on Friday, September 29, 2023

Bono and The Edge of U2 join Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 for a conversation about their new single “Atomic City” in Las Vegas as they prepare to christen Sphere this weekend. They discuss the origin and subject matter of the song and its relation to Vegas, recording the track at Sound City with Larry Mullen Jr., the heartbreak of playing their upcoming shows without him, and how the band’s fans inspired their upcoming Sphere shows.

Bono on U2’s New Single “Atomic City”…

It's just an invitation to our audience. It's like a come-all-ye. You know what come-all-ye is? It's an Irish word for... A come-all-ye is like a song that invites everybody in. Las Vegas was known as Atomic City because they had atomic bomb tourism here in the fifties. "Come and watch the mushroom cloud." But now all the fear and dread of splitting the atom and using it as a weapon of mass destruction, there may be clues for how we get out of the climate crisis through fusion rather than fission. Though even fission, which is regular nuclear energy, is getting safer and smarter. And we've campaigned against nuclear energy and we've kind of turned around a little bit on that one. And so the lyric, "atomic sun for everyone," that's that reference. So we're using it as in a comic sense, Atomic City, but actually the idea that by not splitting the atom, by fusing the atom, you have unlimited energy, it's just a beautiful idea to plop in the middle of a seventies swing stomp…

U2 on Having Larry Mullen Jr. Play Drums on “Atomic City” and The Heartbreak of Playing Their Upcoming Sphere Shows Without Him…

Bono: It's really tricky for him. And he came in the night before we recorded it in Sound City. So many stories in that studio. And Edge wanted us to go there. And Larry went the night before to just make sure. He didn't know if he could play for an hour or... he didn't know if he could play for 15 minutes. And he just played up the storm.

The Edge:  John was saying (his tech) that he loved the sound of the room so much, he ended up playing for like three hours.

Bono: It was the right place for us. And it took its toll on Larry. He's miming. We're doing the video and he's like, "Ow." But he's going to get back to fitness.It's a heartbreak for Larry to be here and to see this and know that Bram is standing in for him. And by the way, Bram is a superstar. He was a fan of Larry's and a student of Larry's. And now he'll be here playing instead of Larry, and that's got to hurt as much as some of the injuries. But he gave it all on this song anyway. Drummers are born, not made. And they speak their own language. They're a breed apart. And we're nothing... That's where the rock and roll comes from in our band.

U2 on How The Band’s Fans Inspired Their Upcoming Live Dates At Sphere in Las Vegas...

The Edge: Walking in and actually seeing our stage there and the finished building was quite a moment. That's when it really got real.

Bono: In the end, this is about trying to make a connection with our audience. That's what this is about. Trying to make the worst seat in the house the best seat in the house. Whether it was jumping into the crowd, whether it was climbing speaker stacks, whether it was early forays into video, this was all just an attempt to get closer to our audience.