• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
IN IMAGES/VIDEOS
Eagles of Death Metal help heal Paris with frenzied return
Photos: All AFP

Eagles of Death Metal help heal Paris with frenzied return

AFP · 17 Feb 2016, 07:22

Published: 17 Feb 2016 07:22 GMT+01:00

Despite fears the concert could bring back the trauma of November's slaughter in which 90 people died, the group whipped the crowd into a frenzy of joy, with fans embracing each other in tears at the end.

Eagles frontman Jesse Hughes bounded off the stage to hug a survivor in her wheelchair, as the night wore on and the emotion grew.

The ultimate rock showman, who smashed his guitar on stage at one point to wild applause, had choked up the night before as he told AFP how he feared "falling to pieces on stage".

In the event, he turned in a bravura performance that many fans hailed as his best.

Deafening cheers and applause rang out as the group began their set, with many survivors -- including the band -- hoping the gig would help them turn the page on their ordeal.

Rich in symbolism, the Eagles appeared to the playback of an old song "Paris s'eveille," "Paris Wakes Up," a portrait of a city about to begin a new day by French singer Jacques Dutronc.

The band then tore into a favourite song, "I Only Want You," but stopped halfway.

"Let's take a moment to remember, then we will get back to the fun," said drummer for the night Josh Homme, Hughes' best friend and lead singer of Queens of the Stone Age.

'Letting myself go'

Eagles of Death Metal were playing at the Bataclan concert hall on November 13 when jihadists opened fire on defenceless fans.

The assault was the bloodiest in a string of attacks in central Paris and the national stadium that left 130 dead and 350 injured, many grievously.

Some survivors looked to the return of the band as a moment of catharsis, although some psychologists feared it could be too soon.

There were no scenes of panic, although Emmanuel Wechta, who is on crutches because of his wounds, said: "I did look at my watch after 40 minutes, which was when the killers came into the Bataclan, but it was fine.

"I wasn't there for therapy but to enjoy myself and that I did. I really succeeded in letting myself go," the 42-year-old said.

But 26-year-old Alexis, who survived the massacre by playing dead for two hours, had a more troubled night. "About three-quarters of it was very hard for me. I was sitting beside the injured on the balcony three metres from an exit, but I stayed.

"The thing that I found most difficult was the snare drum, which made me think of the sound of the shooting at the Bataclan.

"But in the end it was a very positive evening -- I succeeded in going out to a concert," he said.

Healing rock 'n' roll

From the start it was clear the Eagles were putting their trust "in the healing power of rock 'n' roll".

"We are having a good time tonight -- amen!" said the flamboyant frontman Hughes, who is also a preacher.

"Ain't nobody going to stop us."

A fan gave him a homemade scarf of the tricolore, France's national flag, which he proceeded to drape over the drum kit.

Story continues below…

Hughes, wearing a black "Mon Amis" ("My Friends") tour T-shirt and trademark red braces, pointed to Homme, saying: "That's my best friend in front of me.

"But I have got a whole shitload of best friends here, too," he said, pointing at the audience.

He dedicated a song, "Secret Plans," to Nick Alexander, the band's merchandiser, who was among those killed at the Bataclan.

But the highlight for many, including Internet moderator Alexis, was when Hughes appeared alone on stage near the end with a tricolore guitar to sing the Rolling Stone's "Brown Sugar". "From the moment we all sang the chorus together I was fine right to the end of the concert."

"You are stuck with me now! I'm Parisian now! I needed you so much and you did not let me down," shouted Hughes.

"I am so drunk with this (moment) I cannot walk off this stage. Can you not see that?"

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Corsica bushfire leaves 500 hectares scorched
Photos: AFP

A massive fire left 500 hectares of bushland in Corsica ravaged.

View from the rue
What do Parisians think of France's burqini bans?
Photo: AFP

With 64 percent of the French against burqinis at the beach, what do the Parisians think?

Almost half of France now on heatwave alert
Children cool off in Nice's fountains. Photo: AFP

Orange alerts - the second highest level - were issued to 43 départements as France's heatwave shows no signs of stopping.

France's top ten beaches to survive the heatwave
Photo: Gomezdegomera/Flickr

Temperatures are soaring... why not head to the beach?

Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
People taking part in activities in the Bassin de la Villette. Photo: AFP

If you fancy a rare chance to swim along the Paris canal system, here comes your chance.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,751
jobs available