Band Targeted In Paris Attacks Makes Emotional Return To Finish Concert

Eagles of Death Metal completes the show that began at the Bataclan.

02/16/2016 03:02 pm ET

The rock band that was performing at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris when three terrorists stormed in and slaughtered 89 people has returned to finish the show it started three months ago.

Eagles of Death Metal invited survivors and relatives of the Nov. 13 victims to enter early for Tuesday night's concert. The band also offered survivors free tickets, Reuters reported.

EODM's return engagement is taking place at the Olympia concert hall; the Bataclan itself has not yet reopened.

Emotional crowds began lining up a few hours before the concert began.


"I refuse to be afraid," one attack survivor told The Guardian inside the Olympia. "I want to enjoy this gig like I should have done on Nov. 13."

"The band came out to greet their fans and survivors," Europe 1 journalist Salomé Legrand wrote on Twitter. They said seeing the crowd was "really moving."

"It's important to be here, to usher in what's next," said Philippe Manoevre, a journalist with Rock & Folk.

Alexis, a Bataclan survivor, showed up Tuesday wearing the same clothes he had worn that terrible night. "The adrenaline is rushing," he told France TV Info. "I didn't sleep much. That's probably the case for a lot of people here."

Le Monde journalist Daniel Psenny, who was injured at the Bataclan and was injured on Nov. 13, tweeted from inside the Olympia Tuesday night:

Paris police implemented intensified security protocols in the lead-up to Tuesday's concert. Authorities closed off nearby streets and installed a security perimeter around the Olympia. Concert-goers faced pat-downs and metal detectors.

"The police apparatus in the area near the Olympia is so crazy," BFMTV journalist Jérémy Maccaud tweeted. "It's more anxiety-provoking than anything else, really."

A team of about 30 psychologists was also set to be there to help anyone who might be having trouble. Attack survivors in particular may find themselves reliving the trauma they experienced on Nov. 13, Carole Damiani, psychologist and head of the Paris Aide organization, told HuffPost France.

"If I don't go, the terrorists will have won," Thierry told the newspaper Le Parisien.

Even Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo came out for the concert. She tweeted her thanks to the band for coming back:

"We have an obligation to commemorate those who died that night," survivor Thibaut said, although he added that he's only going because the venue is different. He said he doesn't feel he can ever step foot inside the Bataclan again.

"I'm going to stand in solidarity with the musicians and the victims," Jacques di Bona told television station BFMTV.

"It's a symbolic moment, a form of catharsis that allows us not to move on, but to move forward," survivor Nicolas Stanzick said to Le Figaro.

"For some people, it's important to show up because it's part of the healing process, but it also may be way too soon for others who are just not in the right state," Alexis, a member of the victims group Life for Paris, told HuffPost France.

Tuesday's night concert does not mark the band's return to Paris -- that happened back in December when EODM joined U2 on stage for two songs. But Jesse Hughes, frontman for Eagles of Death Metal, used this occasion as an opportunity to advocate for gun ownership.

"Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I'd like to hear it, because I don't think so," he told television station iTélé on Monday. "I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I've ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms."

The band has just kicked off its Nos Amis tour, beginning its European travels with a concert in Stockholm this past Saturday before coming to Paris.

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