Last month, as Green Day and U2 took the stage at the Louisiana Superdome, they were not only being watched by millions in the city of New Orleans and around the world, but by director Chris Milk and his small army of cameras too.
For weeks, Milk followed the two bands’ every move from their initial meeting at London’s Abbey Road Studio, where they recorded their version of “The Saints Are Coming,” a single that benefits Music Rising (see “Green Day, U2 Take Historic Collabo One Step Further By Re-Enacting Beatles’ Abbey Road LP Cover” ). Milk then tracked their somber tour of New Orleans’ still-ravaged Ninth Ward and continued to shoot them when they stepped onto the stage at the Superdome, where they blasted through a chill-inducing version of “Saints” (see “U2 Keeping Up Charitable Momentum Following Superdome Set” ).
And now he’s in the final stages of compiling all that footage into the master version of the “Saints” video, a task that is proving to be quite the undertaking.
“We have footage from Abbey Road, when they recorded the song, plus news footage from when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and shots from the Superdome performance, where I had three cameras rolling,” Milk told MTV News. “The whole thing is a tremendous effort. But it’s absolutely a dream come true. I’m not sure how I can ever do another video again after this.”
The clip will combine the stark black-and-white footage Milk shot at Abbey Road with the Superdome performance and “conceptual images” — heavily edited newsreel footage that Milk said would “make a commentary on the Katrina disaster … from the standpoint of how things can and should be done in the future.”
“I don’t want to give too much of it away, but there’s definitely a message [in the video],” Milk added. “But it’s also important to make sure that it complements the song, so it starts off somber and dark, and then you’re transported to the Superdome performance, which is big and bright and powerful.”
According to a spokesperson for Interscope, U2’s record label, the video for “The Saints Are Coming” could premiere in full on MTV as early as this week.
A spokesperson for Music Rising told MTV News that there are no immediate plans to make the “Saints” clip available for download, though she said fans can still get Green Day and U2’s live version of the song on Rhapsody.com until Friday. Starting on Monday, both the Superdome version and the studio version of “Saints” will be available for download via the iTunes Music Store, with all proceeds going to Music Rising, which just launched phase two of their mission: providing musical instruments to churches and schools throughout the Gulf Region. For more information, check out MusicRising.org.