U2 performed before a packed venue in Paris on Sunday, just three weeks after the band was forced to cancel shows after a series of Islamic terror attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people. The band paid tribute to the terror victims and included a plea for Europe to have a “heart open” to “compassion and mercy” in handling the migrant crisis overwhelming European Union countries.
“Vive la France!” yelled Bono as his band took the stage at AccorHotels Arena, which is a short distance from the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people were killed during a concert for the American band the Eagles of Death Metal on Nov. 13. U2 cancelled two shows shortly thereafter.
Two days after the attacks, Bono described the massacre as a “direct hit on music” during a radio interview:
Our first thoughts at this point are with the Eagles of Death Metal fans. If you think about it, the majority of victims last night are music fans. This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror, or whatever it’s called. It’s very upsetting.
“Tonight we are all Parisiens,” Bono told the 20,000 strong audience on Sunday. He later said, “If you love liberty – Paris is your hometown.”
U2 paid tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks throughout the concert.
Page Six reports the band’s tribute to Parisian victims began with songs “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
During a performance of “In the Name of Love,” the names of all 130 Paris victims were displayed on a screen in the arena.
Bono also mentioned victims of the Beirut attacks and “all those hostage of an ideology.”
The band also reportedly had a song about the European migrant crisis, about which Bono said, “What do you want? A Europe with its heart open, or a Europe closed to compassion and mercy?”
Rolling Stone reports that Bono’s other messaging between songs included:
“You don’t have to become a monster to defeat a monster.” And: “Love over fear.” And: “Let’s make the future a place we want to visit.”
U2 had announced a “special guest” prior to Sunday’s concert.
After Eagles of Death Metal members were spotted in Paris last week, rumors began to circulate that the group would join U2 onstage.
The band denied the rumors through a statement on Saturday.
“We’re back in Paris and it’s great to be here. Some people have been saying that Eagles of Death Metal will appear onstage with U2 tonight. This is not the case,” said U2. “We have another surprise guest planned for tonight’s show.”
The band was instead joined by singer Patti Smith, who joined the band in playing renditions of “Gloria” and “People Have the Power,” Rolling Stone reports.
U2 will play again in Paris on Monday for a show that will be televised on HBO.
The Eagles of Death Metal, which cancelled all shows after its concert was targeted at Bataclan, hopes to be the first group to play the venue when it reopens.