Wednesday 28 September 2016

WATCH: 'Symbolic moment' for Bataclan survivors as band finish fateful gig

Henry Samuel Paris

Published 17/02/2016 | 02:30

Jesse Hughes, the singer of US rock group Eagles of Death Metal, blows a kiss before the start of the concert at the Olympia concert hall in Paris. Photo: Getty
Jesse Hughes, the singer of US rock group Eagles of Death Metal, blows a kiss before the start of the concert at the Olympia concert hall in Paris. Photo: Getty

Braving fear, loss and pain, hundreds of survivors of the November Bataclan terrorist attack came together last night to face their demons and see a Californian rock band complete the fateful gig that left 90 dead.

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Eagles of Death Metal had said they considered it their "sacred duty" to play to the end the concert tragically interrupted on November 13 by Isil gunmen - the deadliest of a series of attacks in Paris that left 130 dead.

And indeed, despite heavy security at the Olympia concert hall near Paris, there was a near-spiritual ambience as the band communed with up to 900 fans who had survived scenes some likened to "Dante's Inferno" and paid tribute to those who were killed.

"This is therapy for me... I want to see all those smiles that greeted me in Paris that night. I really need to see those faces smiling again," said the band's singer Jesse Hughes beforehand.

Once inside, fans were greeted by a woman distributing "free hugs". Several came on crutches, some in wheelchairs.

"This is the most important concert of my life," said Nicolas Stanzick (37), a journalist and musician who had survived the Bataclan attack by playing dead with his wife. "It's a symbolic moment, a form of catharsis."

Like many survivors, he had been unsure whether he could go through with the commemorative concert, free for all those present that night and their families, with the remaining 1,000-odd seats taken by paying concert-goers.

A psychologist who has been treating the victims had warned the gig might trigger panic, and 30 counsellors were on hand for those who might break down.

One Australian said he had had flashbacks when recently listening to 'Kiss the Devil', the song the band were playing when terrorists opened fire. In the event, they chose not to play it, because of its "tac tac" gunfire-like rhythm.

Earlier, Hughes said that the Bataclan massacre could have been stopped if everybody had firearms.

In an interview with French broacaster iTele, he said: "I'll ask you: did your French gun control stop a single f****** person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer 'yes', I'd like to hear it. Because I don't think so.

"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 firearms." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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