California rock band Eagles Of Death Metal have returned to Paris to resume their show that was cut short by last November’s tragic attacks on the city.
The group were playing at the Bataclan concert hall on 13th November when their gig was stormed by Islamic extremists, who killed 89 fans, as near-simultaneous attacks hit cafes and a stadium around the French capital.
This week, Eagles of Death Metal performed at the Olympia concert hall, which was filled with fans who survived the attack at their last Paris show – and filled with memories of those who did not.
“I take it as a very sacred duty,” frontman, Jesse Hughes, who is a Catholic, told AFP. “I feel we were elected by circumstances to represent this for good or bad. I take that as a responsibility I’m charged by God to do.”
“Bonsoir Paris, we’re ready for this!”, Hughes told the crowd at the start of the show. Later, between two songs, he added, “Peace, Love and Rock and Roll!”
Armed police guarded entrances to the Olympia for Tuesday’s performance, and concert-goers went through three bag and body searches before entering.
Viewers seemed in good spirits ahead of the show, some drinking outside, and little nervousness in the crowd.
One survivor, Alexis Lebrun, described himself as “very scared” and said he would go to the Olympia venue but would only attend the concert if he deemed the security adequate.
He and other survivors opened up to a French terrorism commission ahead of the concert, questioning how the French government failed to stop the attacks that claimed 130 lives, most of them at the Bataclan.
The violence came just 10 months after deadly jihadi attacks on a satirical newspaper and a kosher supermarket pushed the country into high alert, and forced French MPs to look for ways to further protect citizens.
Mr Lebrun questioned why there was minimal security around one of Paris’ biggest music venues given the heightened alert in the city.
“No security measures were seen. No military or police presence in front of the hall. No particular searches at the hall entrance,” Mr Lebrun noted.
“How come the national security alert was at its highest level, yet there were no provisions to mobilise some guards in front of venues welcoming hundreds or thousands of people?”
Speaking to i-Tele television ahead of the concert, Eagles Of Death Metal singer Hughes broke down in tears, saying, “I don’t know why God picked us to be the band.”