U2 Reveal New Song in Las Vegas Film Shoot

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-09-17)

U2 played a new song last night in an impromptu concert and video shoot in Las Vegas. The song is called “Atomic City” which is an old nickname for Las Vegas. It was played multiple times for a crowd of people in Fremont Street.

A few video clips can be seen below courtesy of Vegas Best Ideas and John Katsilometes:

VIDEO: “Atomic City” twice and “I Still Haven’t Found”

VIDEO: “Atomic City” from another angle

The lyrics are:

Atomic City – U2

Come all you stars falling out of the sky
Come all you angels forgetting to fly
Come all who feel we’re not on our own
All the UFOs come on your way home
That’s no way to be carrying on
Come on
We made the future this song
In luck and in song
Just have to be right one more time, then you’re wrong

Atomic City…Atomic
Alone Alone
Atomic City…Atomic
Alone Alone

I’m free
Where you are is where I’ll be
I’m free
So unexpectedly

Come all who serve above and below
Come all believers in all you don’t know
Come quick come soon
Comme ci, comme ça
Dive into your eyes
And blah blah blah

Guitar shaped
Pull the strings
Sinatra swings
A choir sings
Love is God
And God is love
If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough

Atomic City…Atomic
Alone Alone
Atomic City…Atomic
Atomic song for everyone
For everyone
Oh Yeah (For Everyone)

This is the dice
That’s roulette
The wheel has not stopped
Spinning yet

I’m free
In your arms where I’ll be
I’m free
So unexpectedly
I’m free
I see what’s in front of me
And your freedom is contagious
What you got I want to be

I’m free
It took me my whole life
I’ve got the keys to the cages
I’m ready for bright lights

I’m free
I came here for the fight
I’m front row in Las Vegas
And there’s a big one on tonight

It looks like Bono is still working out lyrics, and is heard making up a few bits including “blah blah blah” as he goes. We’re still working out the lyrics above, so changes may happen. (Thanks Nicole for the assist!)

“Atomic City” is a nickname that was given to the city of Las Vegas by the city and its Chamber of Commerce in the mid-1940s. They felt the nickname suggested progress and modernity, and hoped it could be used in advertising to attract tourism to the city. In the 1950s, nearby atomic bomb testing drew in spectators, and calendars were printed advertising the best locations to watch the explosions as well as planned dates and times. In 1956 Elvis Presley appeared in a nightly residency at The New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, billed as “America’s only atomic-powered singer”. The Killers have recently given a nod to this part of Vegas’ past with their 2012 single “Miss Atomic Bomb”.

As we mentioned earlier in the week, U2 have been working on a new song that is expected to be played at the Sphere shows, and should be released soon. (We expect a September 29 release to streaming services and digital store fronts.) Last night, the new song was played live in Las Vegas, as the band filmed a video for the song. Yes, the full band, including Larry Mullen. Larry Mullen has been working with the band in the South of France and more recently at LAFX studios and Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. Steve Lillywhite has been working with the band on the song, which is titled “Atomic City”. Recording finished earlier this week, although Bono did say that the song was unfinished as they were making a “low budget video”.

Bono introduced the song, “This is the world premiere of ‘Atomic City’ a rock ‘n’ roll 45-inch tradition of late 70’s post punk if you are interested…Blondie, The Clash” and he jokes that the band will take it from everywhere.

The Edge is wearing a black leather jacket with the handwritten Achtung Baby logo on the back. Larry Mullen is wearing a Ramones T-Shirt for the shoot. Adam Clayton is wearing a grey jumpsuit with what appears to be words in black over a red background on the back.

Although Mullen is present for the video shoot, and has been working in studio, we are told he will not be performing at the shows at the Sphere, and that his recovery from surgery earlier in the year continues. Bram van den Berg will be playing at all 25 shows at the Sphere. Bono shared “This is The Edge on guitar. The Edge is a science experiment, we should see what happens. Adam Clayton. Bet his whole life on U2 and we won. The four of us recorded this song, Atomic City. Sadly, Larry Mullen will not be with us at the Sphere. He doesn’t listen to doctor’s orders, neither do many of us. But he’s here tonight and we are so, so proud of our comrade. And wanted to be with us on this occasion.” Bram will be playing the 25 shows at the Sphere while Larry continues his recovery.

U2 were seen together performing the new song together on the back of a flatbed truck, and were filmed as they moved around the Fremont Street area. This area, is the same area where they filmed “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” in 1987. The truck moved from one spot to another throughout the video shoot. While moving the song was played three times through while the band mimed the performance, before finally coming to a stop in front of the Carousel Bar at the Plaza Hotel. When the truck came to a stop a crowd of 250 hired extras rushed toward the stage as the song was played a fourth time. Although Bono’s vocals were live, the remainder of the band were not live and the instruments were pre-recorded. The new song was played a second time at a full stop. The band then played “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and Bono spoke about recording the song in the same location. The song was played as a “country song, it’s a Saturday night Sunday morning kind of deal anyway, it’s a confession about not going to confession.” The song was played in front of the extras. U2 then played “Atomic City” three additional times, the second time asking for more energy from the crowd of extras. The band also rehearsed “Beautiful Day” earlier in the night but it was not performed in front of the crowd of extras, but we include it here as it was a public rehearsal witnessed by many. (“Atomic City” was also played while the band were filmed performing on moving dollies.)

The performances while filming the video, are the first time the band have performed together publicly since December 2019 when they finished The Joshua Tree 2019 tour in India.

For the full show details, including set list, please check the following show listing:

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