It's not an optical illusion: the MSG Sphere is mind-blowingly real

Anyone driving through Las Vegas this week may have thought aliens had landed. Looking like a spaceship against the skyline, the giant MSG Sphere was turned on for the first time, offering a show featuring roving eyeballs, spiralling galaxies, US flags and.. er.. Halloween pumpkins. You name it, it was in there.

The 366-foot-tall concert venue is being billed as the world's largest spherical structure. It doesn't open for events until September, but the exterior LED screen was turned on for 4 July celebrations, and it looks like this could become one for our pick of the best buildings to visit – if you like truly gaudy experiences.

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Even in a city that has dancing fountains and a half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, the MSG Sphere looks over the top. The 1.2 million hockey puck-sized programmable LEDs on the outside of the building will be lit day and night with animations and seasonal imagery (expect to see a snow globe at Christmas). 

Fittingly, the interior, which has a 250 feet high 16K wrap-around LED screen, haptic seats and machines to create wind, temperature and scent effects, will be inaugurated by U2, a band famous for light shows. They will open the venue with a mammoth series of 25 concerts from September 29.

Drawn up by the architecture firm Populous, which has designed Olympic Games and Fifa World Cup stadiums, the 18,000-capacity venue cost $2.3 billion to build. It will be connected to the Venetian resort by a pedestrian walkway. 

Bono told Apple Music: “Most music venues are sports venues. They’re built for sports – they’re not built for music. They’re not built for art. This building was built for immersive experiences in cinema and performance … you can’t come here and see an ice hockey game.” (It seems you will, however, be able to see boxing and mixed martial arts).

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The venue looks set to draw tourists to Vegas like flies to a lamp – hopefully without similarly fatal consequences. However, opinions on Twitter are divided. Some describe the venue as "mesmerising" and say they'll visit Vegas just to see the venue. Others think it looks "creepy" and "hideous" while others fear the dramatic looks of the venue could cause accidents (both for humans and wildlife). 

There has been much opposition to proposals to build a similar venue in London (if you prefer to listen to music at home, you might be able to find a great headphone deal among the best Apple Prime Day 2023 deals.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.