Sting reopens Bataclan with a minute of silence for concert hall's ISIS victims
Sting reopened the Bataclan concert hall in Paris with a minute of silence dedicated to the 90 people who died in a terrorist attack at the venue one year earlier. (Instagram)
British singer Sting reopened the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on Saturday with a minute of silence dedicated to the 90 people who died in a terrorist attack at the venue one year earlier.
"We'll never forget them," the 65-year-old rockstar said in French. The first song of the night was "Fragile."
He then followed with hits such as "Englishman in New York," "Message in a Bottle" and "Every Breath you Take."
"I was a bit surprised by some of the song choices," concertgoer Fatima said afterwards. Sting also performed his song "Inshallah" which is about the refugee crisis. "But it was very appropriate. He found a good balance," she added.
After several encore performances, Sting returned to the stage alone with an acoustic guitar as a picture of US journalist James Foley, who was decapitated by members of the Islamic State terrorist organization, was displayed.
He then finished his performance with the song "The Empty Chair" which included the lyrics "Keep my place and the empty chair, somehow I'll be there."
Sting received thunderous applause afterwards and declared "Vive le Bataclan" - "Long live the Bataclan," as he departed the stage.
The audience of about 1,500 people included survivors and relatives of those who died in the attack. Three members of the Islamic State group opened fire during a concert by the rock band Eagles of Death Metal.
"Good friends of mine didn't survive," Gerald Granvilliers said before the concert. Granvilliers said he had many emotions, a lot of sadness and also a feeling of strangeness.
"We are celebrating life and paying tribute to the people who lost their lives one year ago," another concertgoer said. "We are also making sure that we assert our values and convictions."
Security at the venue was tight and visitors had to pass through two security checks. Some people lit candles outside the venue and others brought flowers.
The proceeds from Saturday's concert will go to two organizations for the victims.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for unity and more collaboration between European authorities to prevent terrorism.
"Yes, terrorism will strike us again," Valls wrote in an essay published in Le Soir and The Guardian Saturday.
"But, yes, we have within ourselves the resources to resist and the strength to win. We Europeans will defeat Islamist terrorism," he wrote.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the attacks would remain "forever etched in our hearts" in a statement on Saturday.
"They wanted to attack France. But on that tragic night, we Europeans and citizens across the world were all French," Juncker said.
Various memorial activities are planned throughout Sunday in the French capital at the scenes of the coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris, in which a total of 130 people died.
Reporting by: Sebastian Kunigkeit in Paris, Coman Hamilton in Berlin - Editing by: Peter Godfrey
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