Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Saints Are Coming

I just returned from New Orleans, where on Monday Night the USA was watching. The game scored the 2nd highest rating in cable history. I was there. You can read a bit more about that night on Ernie's site; I can add this:

The people from Louisiana I met were sky high to be back. What it did to their psychological well being cannot be stated enough. I've been to more than 250 football games (college and pro), and this was more electric than any Super Bowl.

The day was crystal clear, the weather had a fall tinge to it (if you live in the South, that is), and the hotels seemed full. Smiles abounded.

Game time neared and the dome was alive. From the first strains of the Rebirth Band to the blocked punt, it was a set of loud and proud moments. After the game, I had a chance to see Coco Robicheaux in the Marigny area of the City.

The song played by Green Day and U2 was a cover of a Skids' punk rock song, "The Saints Are Coming." If you listen closely to the words of this song, you hear the anger, the defiance (typical of punk songs, of course) and of what happened to the City. Very much unlike the other benefit song, "In The Sun." While the hook "the saints are coming" is hammered home in the tune, Bono asks mid-song "how long now?" He then sings, "living like birds in magnolia trees, how long now?" and shouts "a child on a rooftop, a mother on her knees, her sign reads "Please ... I am an American!!"

The crowd goes nuts at that point, but most missed that Bono was crying it out, not thumping his chest. It was a recounting of that unbelievable time post-storm where Americans were anguishing and dying in the flooded city. Perhaps the tone was more in the tone of "I am an American damn it, and this can't be happening to Americans."

Make sure to listen to the lyrics early in the song:

A drowning sorrow floods the deepest grief--How long now?
Until a weather change condemns belief--The stone says

You can see the Green Day/U2 performance here, and see if I am wrong in what I heard and now hear:

The refrain:

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
No matter how I try, I realise there's no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming

For many, the "Saints" could have been the governments that promised they would come, but did - too late.