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Bataclan survivors confront trauma at Paris concert

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Photo: The Local
19:11 CET+01:00
Scores of survivors from the Bataclan massacre in November were confronting their fears on Tuesday night to attend a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal.

The gig, held just three months after the November terror attacks, was taking place amid tight security at the Olympia theatre in central Paris.

Those who had been there that fateful night at the Bataclan, when 90 concert-goers were gunned down, had been given free tickets, but it was unclear how many of the 1,500 turned up on Tuesday night.

Before the concert many survivors simply said it had come too soon after the attack for them to face being back in a concert.

Others who did turn up said they were hoping the gig would bring them some kind of peace.

These include Alan, 41, an Irishman who escaped from the Bataclan back in November.

"It's going to be an emotional night," he told The Local.  "It won't be a typical show at all, I'm sure."

"But I'm just looking for closure, that's why I'm here. I'm looking forward to seeing the band come out and the show to begin. I'm hoping for a good night of rock and roll."

(Photo: The Local)

For the many survivors who couldn't face it, their places in the crowd were taken by people wanting to show support to those who were killed and resistance in the face of fear.

Many who The Local spoke to politely declined to talk but one man named Thierry, who was not at the Bataclan said: "We are happy to be here showing our support. We're expecting a great concert, but probably a lot of emotion as well."

"We are happy to show our resilience."

Crowds began queuing at the venue from 7pm, where they were faced with an extra security cordon. The band took to the stage at around 9pm to thunderous cheers and played an emotional gig that will go down in history.

SEE ALSO: Eagles of Death Metal help heal Paris with frenzied return

 

Police had searched the Olympia theatre earlier in the day, with security their top concern with France still in a state of emergency and the terror threat remaining high.

The Local's Oliver Gee, who was at the Olympia said as expected the mood was incredibly sombre and out of kilter with normal rock concerts.

"The police presence is high. The first barricade is about 100 meters away from the concert hall's main entrance.

"A lot of people are just rushing through to get to the door, not stopping for the French and international press which set up cameras near the entrances and across the road.

"There were camera crews desperately running after those entering the venue hoping to speak to survivors but most were turning them away."

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Around 30 psychologists and counsellors were at Tuesday night's concert as many predicted a harrowing night for those still suffering the trauma of witnessing the mass shooting in November.

Both the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and the French PM Manuel Valls had paid tribute to the band for returning to Paris to play a concert.

"Continue to live, continue to play," said Valls

In the run-up to the gig the band's lead singer Jesse Hughes gave a series of emotional interviews, but had vowed Tuesday's gig would "be a regular rock show".

"Rock and roll for me has always been fun and I am not going to let anyone take that away from me, or my friends," he said, referring to the band's fans.

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