Two members of the US rock band Eagles of Death Metal played a surprise concert in Paris on Monday to mark the second anniversary of the venue attack that left 90 dead.
Singer Jesse Hughes and guitarist Dave Catching played in Paris’ 11th district at an event organised by survivors of the Bataclan attack, in which 90 people died after three gunmen affiliated with the Islamic State armed group (IS) stormed the concert hall and opened fire.
The pair sang two of the group’s songs, including “Save a Prayer”, the last song the band played the night of 13 November 2015 before the attack began. The duo then threw white roses to the crowd.
An emotional Hughes told reporters after the show he was feeling “a million different emotions, but all of them good.”
“This is just a testament to the resolve of a community that is determined not to let the bad guys win,” he said, adding that he felt “surrounded by love”.
The lead singer then joked, “we got to sing two songs terribly and people still liked us. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”
Hughes also met French President Emmanuel Macron at the Bataclan commemoration. The two men had an emotional meeting there.
“My heart is here, and I love this place,” Hughes told Macron as they shook hands and hugged.
“The French people have really made it possible for us to come back to life. So thank you very much.”
Macron responded by thanking Hughes for attending. “We’re here for you,” he told the singer.
Day of commemorations
Earlier Monday Macron, along with former president François Hollande and other officials, visited the five other sites throughout Paris where victims had been killed.
The commemorations took them to the Stade de France in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis and all the cafés and restaurants targeted in the capital’s north-eastern districts.
The Stade de France was the site of the first attack. One man was killed there after a suicide bomber blew himself up. Two other attackers also detonated their suicide vests near the stadium without killing any bystanders. Soon after gunmen in north-eastern Paris shot and killed dozens more at restaurants as they drove by.
The Bataclan was the site of the gunmen’s final and deadliest attack. Three men burst into the venue during the Eagles of Death Metal concert and shot indiscriminately at the crowd before detonating their suicide vests, leaving 90 dead.
The series of coordinated attacks that rocked the French capital on 13 November 2015 left 130 dead and hundreds more injured. It was the deadliest terror attack in modern French history.