“They were robbed of their stage three weeks ago and we would like to offer them ours tonight,” U2 frontman Bono said, embracing the band's lead singer Jesse Hughes before breaking into a rousing rendition of Patti Smith's “People Have The Power”.
In a highly emotional concert at the 16,000-capacity AccorHotels Arena, charged with references to the November 13 Paris attacks in which 130 people died, Bono said: “We must also think of the terrorists' families… I know it's hard right now.”
The singer said the attackers' families had also been robbed of their loved ones, by “an ideology that is a perversion of the beautiful religion of Islam.”
In the worst of the Paris atrocities, 90 people, many of them young, were killed by gunmen at the Bataclan music venue just as the Eagles of Death Metal were starting their set.
Fans had been left guessing over whether the group would perform alongside U2, with expectation mounting after the Irish band gave strong hints last week about “special guests” joining them at their two rescheduled Paris gigs.
— EaglesOfDeathMetal (@EODMofficial) December 8, 2015
U2 had been due to play on November 14 and 15, but the gigs were cancelled after the coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in the capital.
— EaglesOfDeathMetal (@EODMofficial) December 7, 2015
Ahead of Monday night's show, fan Adolfo Younes said he had never been to a concert that carried such emotional weight.
“I went to the Bataclan today and it was one of the saddest sights I have ever seen,” said the 44-year-old, who travelled from Dusseldorf in Germany for the gig.
“People were crying and it brought back my own memories of people I knew who died in the civil war in Croatia where my mother comes from.”
— Julian Lennon (@JulianLennon) December 7, 2015
He added: “There is nothing you can say, all you can do is be there. I had tickets for one of the cancelled shows — it was my birthday, actually — and there was never any question of me not coming back, no matter what.”
Parisian Vera Golloch said she had never seen U2 before, but in the circumstances everybody wanted to be “here tonight especially because of who they are with”.
“It's historic and important, it really is,” she said.