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U2’s live tribute to Paris

January 28, 2016

On 7 December, U2 performed their last show in Paris in AccorHotels Arena. Two of their 4 shows were programmed again after the Paris’ attacks on November 13th.

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The first reaction of the band was to mourn in front of the Bataclan a few days after the tragedy. Before the show, every one was wondering if the Eagles of Death Metal would come or not. This rumor was spread on the internet and would symbolize the first Eagles of Death Metal’s show after the terrorist attack. “We apologize for the bombardments and guns’ noises that will occur tonight, this is a part of the show” said a voice on loudspeakers a few minutes before the concert. In the corridors of the Arena, tee-shirts with written “Nous n’avons pas peur” (We are not afraid) were sold. Will the benefits go to the victims’ families ? We don’t know… Let’s just hope that this is not another commercial merchandising that will go to the band’s pocket. The atmosphere in the concerthall was weird. Every one knew this was not going to be a common show. Some fans even came with French flags.

However, at 8:30 PM, Bono came on stage and started an extraordinary show. The concerthall was split in two parts by a huge wall in which Bono could walk. He started with one of his new songs named “The Miracle” and every one was singing along with him. He did several songs before dedicating a new one to his grandmother. The wall that separated the arena in two parts came up and down according to the songs  so that Bono could jump in it. The wall got back up in the air and we saw visual effects that I had never seen before. Bono was walking in the wall when at the same time visual effects were projected on it. So, we could see Bono walking through different directions. Sometimes, he was walking through flying flowers or violent sea storm. It was spectacular.

The band played their famous “Sunday Bloody Sunday” after doing a little speech about the situation in Ireland. At the end of the song, Bono stopped talking a few seconds and then said “Ce soir nous sommes tous parisiens” (We are all parisians tonight). A huge emotion came accross the public and Bono seemed deeply touched. The wall came down again and the band left the stage. After five minutes of waiting, some enormous guns and bombardments sounds occured in the concerthall, the group came back on stage and started doing volunteer songs talking about different wars in the world, Paris’ attacks or poverty.

On this huge wall, we could see moving words in English and French like “PEUR” “ART IS THE TRUTH” “EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG” “DEPRESSION” “SILENCE = DEATH”. The show kept going on when ripped pieces of the bible were falling on the public at the end of the next song. “Every Breaking Wave” was dedicated to the people of Paris. A joyful atmosphere came back at the first notes of “With or Without You”

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To continue, Bono sang “City of Blinding Lights” and turned it progressively into “Ne me quitte pas”, Jacques Brel’s famous song. At this moment, names of all the victims of  Paris’ attacks were written on the wall in colors of the French flag with the drawing of the Eiffel Tower in the middle. The show kept going on and they delivered a beautiful “One” where everyone was singing along. At 22h50, after two hours of performance, Bono took his mic and said : “We have very special guests that lost all of their instruments three weeks ago. (…) Please welcome the Eagles of Death Metal !” Jesse Hugues and his band went on stage and sang “People have the power” by Patti Smith with U2. Behind them stood a French flag. That moment marked the first Eagles of Death Metal’s show after the attacks. “Vous êtes mes amis” (You are my friends) said Jesse Hugues with some sob in his voice. At the end of this collaboration, U2 said goodnight and left the stage to let their friends perform one of their hits “I Love You All The Time”. The Eagles of Death Metal’s leadsinger, Jesse Hugues seemed to enjoy himself and ran all over the stage. It was a very touching and symbolical moment.

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For those who are interested in viewing the show, it has been filmed. After the concert, the band said on twitter “We lent you our stage, but you owned it. Thank you Eagles of Death Metal.” This show is undoubtedly going to stay in people’s minds.

Amandine

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