Five Surprising Things About Sphere Las Vegas

Just about everywhere is dark in the Sphere

Having admired the Sphere ever since its rotund exterior lit up for the first time on the Fourth of July, I was thrilled to get a chance check out the inside. I attended a showing of “Postcard from Earth.” Here’s what struck me as I checked everything out and watched the show.

  1. It’s dark inside. Most surfaces are black and shiny. The other major color is a dark royal blue. The effect might be described as futuristic, but in some important places, it’s just plain dark. The hallways leading to the seats are mole tunnels, and the restrooms feel like deep space. Even though the lighting effects are pretty in the bars, I couldn’t help wondering what they’re trying to hide in the hallways and bathrooms.
  2. The steeply canted, three-quarter round seating area is identical to the format made famous by ancient Greeks. I thought perhaps the Sphere might offer innovations on this classic arrangement, but apparently there is no better way to guarantee that every seat is a good seat.
  3. Large-scale art is floor-to-ceiling
  4. The seats are tightly packed. While they’re perfectly comfortable, the space between the rows is narrow. To let someone pass once you’re sitting down, you must stand up and fold your seat up. It works, but there is not an inch to spare. In addition, the stairs leading to the seats are significantly narrower than ordinary steps. They can’t fully accommodate an adult-size shoe. Tread carefully.
  5. “Postcard from Earth” is a beautifully photographed film, and it fills the dome with impressive imagery. The sound system is also excellent, and the promised “haptic technology” does make the seats vibrate and breezes blow. The film’s narration, however, is heavy-handed preaching about the evils humans have inflicted on the earth, concluding with the vapid suggestion that we need a new planet to mess up. If I’d known, I would have brought earbuds and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony as replacement audio.
  6. The exterior surface is the Sphere’s true innovation. The inside is really just a big IMAX with enhanced resolution and sound. The outside, on the other hand, is an impressive new addition to the skyline of Las Vegas. The structure is nowhere near as tall as a Strip resort, but it’s visible from many angles around the valley. The designs that have appeared on its surface have so far been original, entertaining, and visually stunning, even when they’re advertisements. The Sphere’s LED exterior is like the fountains at the Bellagio and the volcano at the Mirage. No need to go inside—or pay money—to enjoy the spectacle.
Wide-screen images–note the theater seats are visible at the extreme left-hand side of the photo
(Click photos for larger images)


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