PARIS — If the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris marked “the first direct hit on music,” as U2 frontman Bono previously said, the band’s concert in Paris on Monday, joined by Eagles of Death Metal, proved rock n’ roll was more alive than ever. After an emotional first night in Paris, U2 was back for the HBO taping of their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE concert in the French capital.
Following Patti Smith, who joined the band Sunday night to perform “Gloria” with Bono, the Eagles of Death Metal showed up on stage, drawing a massive ovation from the crowd. It was EODM’s first trip back to Paris since the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people in the French capital, including 89 people who were attending their show at the Bataclan. EODM’s widely-anticipated presence in Paris, which remains in a state of emergency due to high terrorist threat, is seen as a strong symbol of resistance, defiance as well as solidarity towards Parisians.
EODM’s singer Jesse Hughes declared in a recent interview with Vice that he wanted EODM “to be the first band to play at the Bataclan when it opens back up. Our friends went there to see rock and roll and died. I want to go back there and live. (…) Music is what we do, it’s our lives and there’s no way we’re not going to keep doing it.”
As with Sunday, the show kicked off with “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone). Bono then paid tribute to the attacks’ victims saying, “Tonight we are all Parisiens. Ce soir nous somme tous Parisien… If you love liberty – Paris is your hometown. Thank you for welcoming us back and allowing us to tell you a little bit about our lives at a time when your lives have been turned upside down.”
U2’s frontman said Sunday the band “(stood) together with the families who have lost lives here in Paris, San Bernardino, in Damascus and Beirut. We stand together with the families whose children have been taken hostage by an ideology that shows none of the mercy or compassion of the god they deem to serve.”
Bono also spoke about the grieving power of music and how rock n’roll helped him overcome the death of his mother when he was 14 and turned him into an artist.
“Grief is like a wound that never fully closes. I am still feeling it and I was 14 when my mother left me but she left me as an artist and this wound became an opening into another world and I found these three (pointing to his band). Rock n’ roll saved me, these men saved me, you saved me,” Bono said Sunday night.
Sebastien Goales contributed to this report.