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Live, from New Orleans ...

Posted: September 30, 2006

By Kevin Forest Moreau, Editor-in-Chief

Whatever your feelings about U2 or Green Day and their appropriateness as musical ambassadors for New Orleans, you had to feel good about their performance at the Saints-Falcons game last Monday night. Not just because of the morale boost it meant for the city itself, although that was certainly nice. And not just because of the beating the Saints put on their longtime rivals -- although that was nice, too, even for a Falcons fan who's lived in Atlanta for the last five years. I'd been in the Georgia Dome the week before, exulting in the Falcons' brutalizing of a comically inept Tampa Bay. But I was born and raised in New Orleans, and lived there until well into my thirties -- which side do you think I rooted for?

No, the real reason that the U2/Green Day performance brightened my otherwise cynical heart was twofold: One, the song they performed, "The Saints Are Coming," is by a little-known, long-defunct Scottish punk band called the Skids, who counted one Stuart Adamson among their ranks. Adamson later went on to become the chief creative force behind a great band called Big Country in the 1980s, and I felt a real sense of loss when he died by apparent suicide in 2001. The Crossing and Steeltown are excellent albums, and you should own them both and listen to them regularly. If Adamson's career had gone a little differently, he could have -- and should have -- become a much more important figure in the music world. He was a powerful writer, and it's sad that the "novelty" factor that surrounded the band helped lead to its gradual fading from the public consciousness. So I was cheered that he played a posthumous part, however small, in that New Orleans performance.

The other reason is that I think Music Rising is a worthy cause. There are certainly far worthier, I guess, in terms of AIDS, world hunger, other diseases, etc., etc. But as a lifelong fan of music whose tastes were incubated in the gumbo pot of New Orleans' incredibly rich and varied music scene, how could I not love a charity dedicated to aiding musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina? So I urge you to support it. As nice as that night was for the city, it's still got so very far to go in its recovery, and music can't help but play a very large part in that recovery. And that's the end of the moralizing for now.

That game was such a rout that, as much as I expected to be glued to it for the duration, I eventually got antsy and began flipping around, and ended up watching Aaron Sorkin's new show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. As a longtime fan of Sorkin's and Saturday Night Live -- Studio 60 is set behind the scenes of a groundbreaking sketch-comedy show very similar to SNL -- it was an easy sell for me. And it was a decent second episode (I missed the first), although I found the two main characters, played by the talented Bradley Whitford and the better-than-expected Matthew Perry, to be difficult to relate to.

Anyway, we'll see how the show does. But it got me thinking about the real SNL, which returns this weekend for its 32nd season minus five talented people -- including the versatile Chris Parnell, whom I've long admired despite the fact that he wasn't a side-splitting, show-stealing attention magnet like Will Ferrell. Horatio Sanz, as tiresome as his lack of discipline could be, was also a huge contributor. And I liked Finesse Mitchell too. The point is, I haven't agreed for a long time with the critics who've been dogging the show since Ferrrell left (and even long before that). Granted, it hasn't been great in a long time, but I've always thought that reports of its near-death were greatly exaggerated.

But this year, I'm worried. I like Seth Meyers, who's moving into the Weekend Update and co-head-writer slot left by the departing Tina Fey (although I don't think Update needs two anchors anymore; now that Tina's gone, why not try to find the next Norm MacDonald?) I hope that Meyers and the others (including the talented Will Forte -- and Amy Poehler -- and Kenan Thompson -- and ... you get the idea) can create and sustain some kind of momentum. I'm pulling for them all. Still, I'm not encouraged.

But I'll be watching, just as I'll continue watching my hometown -- and I hope you will, too. The first anniversary of Katrina, and now the reopening of the Superdome -- these events have come and gone, and the zeitgeist will no doubt leave with them, the national attention diverted by some new distraction. Here's hoping there are still plenty of people outside of the city who're still paying attention.

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Archived Editorials
December 03, 2006: Happy Feet
November 22, 2006: Half Decade Anniversary
October 07, 2006: Jessica Simpson
September 30, 2006: New Orleans and SNL
June 2, 2006: Dixie Chicks
May 7, 2006: Are Yahu Serious?
February 16, 2006: Bill O'Reilly & Brokeback Mountain
February 12, 2006: Totally '80s (Grammys)
January 31, 2006: Freyed Oprah
November 27, 2005: To Be Continued... (Bringing back movie serials)
November 21, 2005: Fourth Birthday
November 05, 2005: TV Remakes
August 13, 2005: Ten Commandments of Rock
July 05, 2005: Live 8
May 05, 2005: Term Limits (for Rock Stars)
April 29, 2005: Pearl Jam Redux
January 26, 2005: Oscar Grouching
October 31, 2004: Three More Years!
September 27, 2004: Cleaning Out My Closet
August 25, 2004: Shaking Through Mailbag
June 23, 2004: Summer Reading List
June 11, 2004: World Without Heroes (Bill Murray and Garfield)
April 23, 2004: Sold Out (Bob Dylan, Victoria's Secret, & Iraq)
April 08, 2004: The Day the Music Died (Kurt Cobain)
Mar. 17, 2004: Copping Out
Feb. 27, 2004: The Passion of Howard Stern
Jan. 30, 2004: Sex and the City
Nov. 17, 2003: California Über Alles
Nov. 7, 2003: Not-So-Terrible Twos
Sept. 19, 2003: Magic & Loss (Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon)
Aug. 17, 2003: Those '70s Shows
May 27, 2003: Patriot Games (Darryl Worley)
May 24, 2003: American Idol
Mar. 23, 2003: Non-cents-ical (Dixie Chicks-50 Cent)
Feb. 8, 2003: Where's the Love? (Pearl Jam)
Jan. 1, 2003: High Resolutions
Dec. 16, 2002: All I Want for Christmas
Nov. 27, 2002: Things to be Thankful For
Nov. 8, 2002: Near Wild Heaven (Nirvana)
Oct. 21, 2002: Happy Birthday to Us
Sept. 11, 2002: The Little Things
Aug. 20, 2002: King for a Day
July 9, 2002: Bill of Rights
Apr. 18, 2002: Celebrity Skim
Apr. 15, 2002: We Will Never Lie To You
Jan. 6, 2002: Something to Believe In
Nov. 3, 2001: Who We Are