The Bataclan, the music venue where 90 concertgoers were killed in last year’s Paris terror attacks, reopened Saturday with a performance from Sting.
Following a minute of silence, Sting told the audience in French: “We shall not forget them,” about the victims.
His performance came a day before the first anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, which left 130 people dead.
On the night of November 13, 2015, three gunmen entered the Bataclan, the small concert hall and opened fire as the U.S. rock band Eagles of Death Metal performed. It was part of a coordinated series of attacks across Paris, claimed by the ISIS militant group.
The Bataclan had remained closed until Saturday.
Amid tight security, Sting played for over an hour with the concert slowly moving from remembrance to celebration.
The crowd of just under 1,000 people stood in the pit, celebrating life, music and culture over the violence that had become synonymous with the Bataclan.
Sting has said all proceeds from his Saturday show would be donated to Life for Paris and 13 Novembre: Fraternité Verité – organizations supporting the victims of the attacks and their families.
Survivors and family members of those who died in the Bataclan were seated in balconies overlooking the pit. The mood there was far more somber, with many of the seats empty. For some, the idea of attending had simply been too much to contemplate.
One man who did take up the invitation was Georges Salines whose 28-year old daughter Lola was among those killed. But it had been a difficult decision to take, he said.
“I was very emotional and thinking of my daughter all the time because I overlooked the place where she was standing that night. I saw pictures of her taken from this balcony,” he said.
Sting played for just over an hour, with the concert slowly moving from remembrance to celebration.
On Sunday, to mark the anniversary, survivors of the attack will join Eagles of Death Metal for a tribute ceremony, unveiling a plaque in front of the concert hall with the names of the victims.
The killings — at the Bataclan, cafes and Stade de France, a sports stadium in a Paris suburb — together marked the deadliest of terror attacks in France’s history.
French police stormed the Bataclan that night, which ended with the three terrorists killed during their counterassault.
The terror attacks shocked Europe.
Most of the 10 men allegedly involved in the Paris terror attacks had entered Europe on fake documents after training in Syria, investigators have said.
The main suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, is the only known survivor of a group of men accused of carrying out the Paris attacks last year.
He had been Europe’s most wanted man for four months before he was captured in his home town of Brussels in a police raid in March.
Abdeslam has since been held in solitary confinement in a prison in Fleury-Mérogis, Essonne, one of the largest prisons in Europe.