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Hill, McGraw to resume Katrina relief tour

McGraw's bronchitis led to the cancellation of two shows
/ Source: The Associated Press

After a bout with bronchitis, Tim McGraw took the stage Wednesday with wife Faith Hill, resuming their summer concert tour in the Big Easy with all proceeds going to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Country music’s foremost couple canceled two tour appearances last week after McGraw, who was raised in Start, La., got sick.

Hill opened the concert, singing her current hit “Like We Never Loved At All,” and McGraw joined her, to the crowd’s delight. Hill followed with “Mississippi Girl,” which professes pride in her roots. During the performance, she blew kisses to the crowd, including a young girl holding a poster that read, “Got Tim, Got Faith, Got Hope.”

Both McGraw and Hill, who is from Star, Miss., have criticized the government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. In interviews, Hill described the post-Katrina progress as “embarrassing” and “humiliating” to the country.

“It’s wrong,” she said. “It really gets us fired up. That’s our homeland.”

They said they wanted at least half the floor seats at Wednesday’s sold-out show to go to first responders. Ticket prices were lowered to between $20 and $85. At an upcoming show in Atlanta, prices range from $47 to $87.

Proceeds from the New Orleans show will go to the Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation, a group the couple formed to help the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast. The venue, New Orleans Arena, seats 17,000.

“We will not stop, we will not forget, we will not quit until we see our friends, our families and our neighbors returned to the lives that they once knew,” the couple said when they announced the show.

Between them, Hill and McGraw have sold more than 60 million albums and racked up six Grammy Awards, 17 American Music Awards, 22 Country Music Association Awards, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards and more than 35 No. 1 singles.