"The Saints are Coming" [03:24]

Links to Video

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Video Information

This video for “The Saints are Coming” presents an alternate history of the response to the New Orleans tragedy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In the video instead of sending troops overseas, the resources are used at home to respond to the disaster. The video opens with U2 and Green Day performing in Abbey Road Studios. We then start to see scenes of New Orleans flooded. As the song kicks in we see footage of both bands in New Orleans, and their performance at the Superdome, and at 1:40 the alternate history begins with a “Breaking News Today” alert on the screen, over a scene of the Superdome with military jets flying overhead. The news headlines as the video progresses are:

  • U.S. Iraq Troops Redeployed to New Orleans (Thousands of troops flood New Orleans with relief)
  • Navy Joins Effort to Dam Levees
  • U.S. Army Assists Red Cross
  • Air Force Launches Aid Drops (Thousands Receive Desperately Needed Food and Water)
  • Troops Greeted as Liberators

Special effects show tanks rolling through the flood ships giving out aid, skies filled with fighter jets dropping aid packages, and the video ends on a sign that says “Not as Seen on TV”.

The video was initially uploaded to YouTube, and was released on October 27, 2006.

Milk spoke about the amount of footage recorded for the video. 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.”

The footage from Abbey Road was taken over a few days starting September 11, 2006 as Green Day joined U2 in the studio to record the song. The footage from the Louisiana Superdome was from a rehearsal and performance on September 25th, 2006. This was the reopening of the Louisiana Superdome after the devastation by Katrina, and U2 and Green Day performed before the football game by the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints.

Video Shooting Locations

Quick Start - Leaflet

Additional Screen Captures

Video Credits

Directed by Chris Milk, Radical Media Music
Editing done at Final Cut, Los Angeles
Editor: Livio Sanchez
Assistant Editor: Logan Hefflefinger
Executive Producer: Saima Awan
Stock footage: Getty, CNN, BBC, Corbis, ITN, Global Imageworks, BNVB, Sony, Storm Video, NBC, ABC
Visual Effects: Sway Studio

Shot in Abbey Road Studios, London and The Superdome, New Orleans.

Chris Milk – Writer/Director

Performed by U2 & Green Day Original song “The Saints” by The Skids Record Label – Island Records Kathy Angstadt – Commissioner Steve Matthews & Paul McGuiness – Management

Produced by Radical Media Barbara Benson – Producer Brannon Walters – Production Supervisor Livio Sanchez – Editor Chris Milk – DP B+W Danny Hiele – DP Color Pierre Colonna – Operator Jason McCormick – 1st AC Patrick McGraw – 1st AC Don Pressley – 1st AC Steve McDougal – Loader Susan Hebert – Asst. Prod. Supv. Cedric Mazzara – Travel Coordinator Clint Caluory – PA Zs Grant – PA Irma Rodriguez – PA Donny Boihem – PA Elton LeBlanc – PA Scott Morrison – PA Samantha McKinney – PA “Little” Buddy Medina – PA

Visual Effect by Sway Matt Winkel & Daughn Ward – Producers Mark Glazer – VFX Supervisor Ben Looram – VFX Supervisor/Flame Artist Wayne England – CG Supervisor Graham Fyffe – Digital Artist Maciek Sokalski – Compositor Rob Meyers – CG Artist Ryan Gibson – Compositor Chris Bankoff – Compositor Rob Glazer – CG Artist Richard Wardlow – CG Artist Feli di Giorigio – Compositor