Just like that, U2 is set to close out their Sphere residency in Las Vegas this weekend.

It's been a fun ride and feels like yesterday I was traveling to Las Vegas for their second show. Before the shows kick off, there were some big question marks — How would Bram van den Berg fit in? What will “So Cruel” sound like? How will they construct their setlist? 

Luckily, the band put any worries to bed on the very first night. 37 shows later, and U2 has just two remaining on their 40-night stay.

While the setlist has largely remained the same night-to-night, that doesn't mean the band hasn't changed things up. Who would've expected appearances from Lady Gaga or “Peace on Earth” being played?

So I figured, ahead of the final two shows, why not try and predict some potential surprises?

4 bold predictions for U2's final Sphere shows

U2 desert landscape from Sphere show.
Photo courtesy of Ross Stewart.

Below you can find some predictions for the final Sphere shows. These include setlist changes (or lack thereof), big announcements, and a possible Larry Mullen Jr. sighting.

U2's setlist largely plays it safe

While U2 has done a great job varying their setlist from night to night at the Sphere, I expect basic setlists on both of their final nights. For one, I believe the band is recording the shows for future releases. Why risk not having two performances to select/edit from? It makes more sense to play two static setlists across the shows.

But what does that mean? I think that the band will return to the Rattle and Hum set during their acoustic portion of the show. This portion of the set was intended to vary each night, and the band usually would play a different variation of it every night.

However, the first shows included the set of “All I Want Is You”; “Desire”; “Angel of Harlem”; and “Love Rescue Me.”

Now, I know three of those four songs are regulars on U2's tours. “Love Rescue Me” was a huge surprise to hear and I could see the band wanting proshot footage of that. At the same point, “All I Want Is You” is playing in the Songs of Surrender arrangement, so it's a unique rendition of the track.

Maybe U2 replaces “Love Rescue Me” with their cover of Crowded House's “Don't Dream It's Over.”

Regardless, I wouldn't expect anything radically different from this portion of the show. I'd expect the band toopt to stick with the songs they've performed several times rather than introducing new material.

Some songs are retired

This next prediction is looking at the macro level of U2's career. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the two shows so much as their implications going forward.

Unfortunately, U2 probably will retire some of the songs played at the Sphere after the shows conclude (namely Achtung Baby's album tracks). It was amazing to hear songs like “So Cruel”; “Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World”; and “Love Is Blindness” in a live setting. However, I doubt there's much of a place for them after their Sphere shows. After all, the residency is sold on the premise of hearing Achtung Baby in full for the first time.

“Atomic City” will sadly likely be shelved until the band's next Las Vegas show. I love the song, which harkens back to the band's punk roots, but it's so tied to the city they resided in for the last six months a la “Ahimsa” and India.

There are some Achtung Baby tracks that are no-brainers for future tours like “One”; “Even Better Than the Real Thing” (perhaps not in this arrangement); “Until the End of the World”; and “Mysterious Ways.” Hopefully, “Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” isn't left in the stables after the Sphere shows conclude.

Some of the turntable songs like “Seconds” and “Peace on Earth,” while great to hear, also feel unlikely to return to U2's setlists going forward. I'll leave “Two Hearts Beat As One” as a possibility, as the band seems to like to go back to it every seven years or so.

Bono makes a big announcement

It's been over six years since U2 released Songs of Experience, their last album of new material. Bono and Co. have talked about a new rock ‘n' roll album for a while now, and I could see it being the time to make a formal announcement.

Either that or U2 announces a new tour at the end of the final Sphere show. I think that one way or another, Bono will make some announcement that will fire up their fans. The two things may go hand-in-hand, as their next tour will likely be in support of the new album. So I would bet on the former but wouldn't rule out the latter.

Larry Mullen Jr. does show up

A rumor from the Daily Mail last week suggested that Larry Mullen Jr. may show up during these final U2 Sphere shows. I'd take these with a grain of salt, as Mullen has sat out all of the band's shows thus far.

The report doesn't indicate if it'd be for a song or the full show, which makes it harder to predict. I'm going to hedge my bets on him showing up for one song.

Bram van den Berg has filled in nicely for Mullen. I'd say the safe bet is that van den Berg closes out the residency, but I can see a world in which Mullen shows up for a song or two.

The reality is that Mullen probably can't play a two-hour set. Unless U2 managed to sneak him in for months of rehearsals, he'd be tasked with playing songs he hasn't in over three decades. Plus, the stamina required to play a show probably needs to be built up to.

Still, I hope that I'm wrong and I see Mullen showing up and van den Berg handing over the sticks and drum kit in a symbolic moment. I think U2 will play their signature concert closer from the '80s, “40.”