Monday, September 25, 2006

U2 reopen Louisiana Superdome

U2 and Green Day will perform live together this evening to mark the opening of the Louisiana Superdome.

The two bands will sing before the American football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons, the first to take place since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the town and the stadium over a year ago.

The storm, the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, resulted in the deaths of over 1,800 people and $81.2 billion (£43.7 billion) worth of damage in August last year.

As well as being badly damaged by Katrina, the stadium became a shelter for tens of thousands of displaced people, resulting in human waste and rubbish further wrecking the interior.

Since then it has undergone a vast programme of improvement costing $185 million (£97 million), with the new-look stadium now housing larger scoreboards, remodelled stands and a repaired roof.

U2's guitarist The Edge, who has been raising funds through his charity Music Rising for musicians on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, said ahead of the performance: "My visits to New Orleans gave me a firsthand look at the devastation which tragically destroyed the lives of thousands.

"The area's rich and spirited culture must continue to be restored. Providing musical instruments through Music Rising will not only help the professional musicians but all the churches and schools in need through phase two of the programme."

U2 and Green Day will perform a cover of The Skids track The Saints Are Coming, a download of which will raise funds for Music Rising.

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said: "One year later, people continue to be devastated by Katrina's effects.

"We hope that by collaborating with U2, we'll remind the public that people of the Gulf Coast are still suffering and still need help to rebuild their lives."