US rockers return after Paris attacks

Eagles Of Death Metal performing on Nov 13 last year at Bataclan theatre in Paris, moments before gunmen stormed inside and killed 90 of the people in the audience. Frontman Jesse Hughes (above), who performed with the band in Stockholm last Saturday, sai
Eagles Of Death Metal performing on Nov 13 last year at Bataclan theatre in Paris, moments before gunmen stormed inside and killed 90 of the people in the audience. Frontman Jesse Hughes (above), who performed with the band in Stockholm last Saturday, said he now always carries a gun to protect himself.PHOTO: REUTERS
Eagles Of Death Metal (above) performing on Nov 13 last year at Bataclan theatre in Paris, moments before gunmen stormed inside and killed 90 of the people in the audience. Frontman Jesse Hughes, who performed with the band in Stockholm last Saturday, sai
Eagles Of Death Metal (above) performing on Nov 13 last year at Bataclan theatre in Paris, moments before gunmen stormed inside and killed 90 of the people in the audience. Frontman Jesse Hughes, who performed with the band in Stockholm last Saturday, said he now always carries a gun to protect himself.PHOTO: REUTERS

It will be an emotional time as Eagles Of Death Metal go to the French capital to 'finish' their gig cut short by the jihadi attack

STOCKHOLM• American rockers Eagles Of Death Metal took to the stage in Stockholm last Saturday, ahead of their return to Paris tomorrow to "finish" the fateful November concert that ended with jihadi gunmen killing 90 of their fans.

About 1,000 fans turned out at the Sweden concert as they relaunched their European tour - cut short after the Nov 13 Paris attacks - with frontman Jesse Hughes alluding to the tragedy, telling the audience: "After all these weeks, we needed you, we really needed you tonight."

But it will be the return to Paris that will be most emotional for the group and their French fans, many of whom lived through the carnage, including some who are still being treated for their injuries.

"The show isn't (just) a show in Paris... It has a purpose and a responsibility which is far beyond just dancing," Hughes said in Stockholm.

The band were playing at Paris' Bataclan theatre on Nov 13 when gunmen stormed the music hall, opening fire on the 1,500-strong, mostly young crowd.

Jihadists killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more in a series of coordinated gun and suicide bomb attacks across Paris that night. Most died at the Bataclan after the Californian band had begun their set.

"I take it as a very sacred duty. I feel we were elected by circumstances to represent this for good or bad. I take that as a responsibility I'm charged by God to do," Hughes, a fervent Catholic, said in tears in Stockholm, about returning to Paris.

Tomorrow's concert will be held at the Olympia concert hall, but Eagles Of Death Metal said they would like to be the first to play at the Bataclan when it reopens - planned for the end of this year.

"We need to be the first band there, we need to walk into that place unafraid, said Hughes, who revealed that he now always carries a gun to protect himself.

The singer, a member of America's National Rifle Association, said: "I don't go anywhere in America without a gun anymore. That sucks. And I'm not paranoid. I'm not a cowboy, but I wanna be prepared."

All of those who were at the Nov 13 concert have been invited to tomorrow's gig, which will not generate any profit.

Eagles Of Death Metal already reappeared briefly on stage in Paris with U2 in December, in a highly charged concert that paid tribute to the victims, but the start of their rescheduled Nos Amis Tour marks their official comeback.

One survivor of the Bataclan massacre said he was unsure if he could bear to go, even though he has tickets to see the American band.

"I want to go," said radio producer Guillaume Munier, 29, who escaped the gunmen with a friend by hiding in a tiny upstairs toilet for two hours.

"I'm going to at least go to the Olympia, but I really don't know if I'll be able to go inside," he added. "I don't know if I'll have the strength.

"There'll be a lot of people who won't go to the concert because it'll be too soon. And there'll be others who will never be ready."

Another survivor Helene said she was not at all worried and hoped it would help bring her closure.

"It will allow me to finish the concert," she said, referring to the fateful gig on Nov 13.

AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'US rockers return after Paris attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe