A giant, shapeshifting orb has invaded the Las Vegas metropolitan area. If you’ve seen pictures, you’d be forgiven for being alarmed. It resembles something that might land on Earth during an alien invasion. A giant pulsating ball that likes to change its colour and appearance, the orb sometimes looks like a bomb going off. In other cases, it resembles a giant eyeball. Or the moon. Or, in some cases, a gateway to another dimension…
So, yeah…wtf is that thing?
Unfortunately, it is not an alien spacecraft, an inter-dimensional gateway, or even the head of an enormous colour-changing octopus. Instead, it’s a new concert venue.
The MSG Sphere has been under construction for nearly five years but will finally open its doors later this summer. Initially announced in early 2018 by the owners of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, the Sphere is the newest component of the Venetian resort — a gigantic casino/hotel complex developed by Sheldon Adelson and operated by Apollo Global Management. It was designed by global architecture firm Populous, which is best known for designing events stadiums, and is going to be used for concerts, film showings, and sporting events.
As you might’ve guessed, the Sphere is pretty different from your typical arena. Standing 111.56 m tall and 157.28 m wide, it is capable of seating 18,000 people. Its creators say it is the largest spherical structure in the world. Most importantly, the venue’s walls are affixed with thousands of LED lights, which allows it to project an endless variety of bizarre imagery onto the surface of its 580,000-square-foot programmable exterior:
But there aren’t just LEDs on the Sphere’s outside. On the interior of the venue, the structure also boasts a “towering” 16K LED screen, which, CNN reports, “wraps over and around much of the audience and can augment the concert experience with trippy animations or close-ups of the performers.”
In short: this is one trippy-arse place to see the Blue Man Group perform.
The Sphere is expected to officially open its doors later this summer. So far, announced events include showings of a Darren Arronofsky movie in August and a series of U-2 concerts beginning in September. If you want to check out Sin City’s new giant ball, you can head to the Sphere website for tickets.
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