American rockers Eagles of Death Metal have made a tearful return to the Bataclan concert hall in Paris where they survived last month’s jihadist attack.
The Californian band members were clearly moved by floral tributes and messages left outside the building, where 90 people died in the worst atrocity of the November 13 attacks on the city.
Lead singer Jesse Hughes cried after placing a single flower on the sea of bouquets spilling out onto the road in front of the venue in eastern Paris.
The band’s merchandising manager, Nick Alexander, a 36-year-old Briton, was among the 90 killed.
When the band members turned to leave, passersby applauded them.
The musicians returned to the French capital on Monday night, joining the Irish rock group U2 on stage at the end of their concert to belt out a rousing rendition of Patti Smith’s People Have The Power.
“Nothing left except to introduce you to some people whose lives will be forever part of Paris. These are our brothers, they were robbed of their stage three weeks ago,” U2 frontman Bono said at the end of the last gig of their Innocence and Experience tour.
As the 16,000-strong audience rose to their feet to cheer them, Hughes shouted, “Paris, we love you all and we will never give up rocking and rolling”.
Band hoping to be first to play when Bataclan re-opens
The band had only just begun their concert at the Bataclan when gunmen burst into building and opened fire on the audience.
Tasmanian teenager Emma Parkinson was among the concert-goers caught up in the attack, which witnesses described as a “bloodbath” and a “slaughterhouse”.
She was shot and spent time recovering in a Paris hospital.
Before revisiting the scene of the massacre under tight security, Hughes thanked fans and U2 for helping to support the band during the ordeal and vowed to return to play Paris again in February.
“We are incredibly grateful to U2 for providing us the opportunity to return to Paris so quickly, and to share in the healing power of rock ‘n’ roll with so many of the beautiful people — nos amis [our friends] — of this great city,” he said in a letter posted on Facebook.
“Thank you to France, and thank you to everyone in the world who continues to prove that love, joy, and music will always overcome terror and evil.
“We look forward to fighting the good fight on many more fronts very soon, especially when we pick up our tour in 2016.”
The Bataclan’s owners plan to reopen it at the end of next year and Hughes has said that he wants the Eagles of Death Metal to be the first band to play there.
Nearly 1,500 people were watching them play when the shooting began last month, leaving 90 dead and hundreds hurt, mostly young people.
The band called off their European tour in the immediate aftermath of the attack, but then decided to finish it next year in memory of its slain fans.