By Robyn Collins
Just one day shy of the anniversary of the Paris attacks, Sting reopened Paris’ Bataclan theater with a spirited, but sobering concert. He began with a minute of silence to honor the 90 killed and dedicated the song “Fifty Thousand” to David Bowie and Prince, among others.
He then called for the minute of silence.
The British rocker came on stage promptly at 9 p.m., welcomed by a subdued crowd. Before he played a note he talked about the victims that were killed when terrorists stormed the theater last Nov. 13.
“We’ve got two important things to do tonight,” he said in French. “First, to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the attacks a year ago and to celebrate the life and the music of this historic venue.”
“We shall not forget them,” he said before launching into 1988’s “Fragile,” which features the lyrics, “Nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could.” Then Sting performed “Message in a Bottle.”
He started to list musicians that have died. “David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Lemmy…” he said before the crowd shouted “Leonard Cohen!”
“And Leonard,” he added. “This is for them.” He dedicated “Fifty Thousand,” from his new album 57th & 9th to the late musicians.
“Inshallah” was next, and he explained the Arabic title was a “word of hope.”
“And now for rock ‘n’ roll,” he said, as he launched into “Petrol Head.”
Sting dedicated the last song, “Empty Chair,” to journalist Jim Foley. He shared a photo of Foley behind the stage as he pulled out his acoustic guitar for a stripped down rendition.
Despite many signs reminding the crowd that film and photos were prohibited, members of the audience held up phones throughout the show. Sting even shared from his Instagram account on Saturday (Nov. 12):
In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile. First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents. In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them.
Lucid Hurricane™✘ (@LucidHuricane) November 12, 2016
Sting transforms The Bataclan back into what it always was. A concert venue. https://t.co/sps9pdsSEx—
Nick Garnett (@NickGarnettBBC) November 12, 2016
(@gigsinparis) November 12, 2016