Words by Gaerth Daivd Mahtias
Standing in the crowd at the Bataclan, waiting where so many innocent people lost their lives felt strange, almost disrespectful, as if the masacre had happened hundreds of years ago instead of just one. But I was assured by a Parisian fan that this was the best thing to do, to continue in defiance of the evil that had been committed; fear would not win here.
There was a moment of silence for the departed before a massive applause, a few shouts of “Fuck Isis!”, then Pete (or ‘Peter’ as was written on the ticket) made his way to the front of the stage and led the crowd in a drunken rendition of La Marseillaise.
He wore an expensive black suit jacket, beneath it a white vest which clung to a rather chubby torso, on his head, of course, his trademark fedora and a sweaty fringe was swept across his forehead. Looking somewhere between a young Tom Waits and tipsy Barnabas Collins, he sauntered over to the mic and gave a blasé kind of “bonsoir” before the crowd erupted again in applause.
A languid Pete kicked off the show with ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ and was joined by two cabaret dancers. Jack Jones, the lead singer of Trampoline, played guitar, shirtless with Nick Alexander written across his chest. Nick Alexander being one of the first to be killed while he was selling merchandise for Eagles of Death Metal near the entrance.
The newer songs got heads moving, self consciously nodding in approval, but it was songs like ‘Last of the English Roses’ and ‘You’re my Waterloo’ that got beer spilling.
Carl Barat made an appearance and played his solo on ‘Up the bracket”. Pete shared his microphone and Carl sang along, albeit with slightly less enthusiasm.
Pete threw many instruments into the crowd, including a harmonica and a few guitars, but it wasn’t Finders Keepers for the fans unfortunately as all was retrieved by the faithful crew guy, who was waiting by the side of the stage like those kids at Wimbledon who wait to retrieve the balls.
Towards the end an ominous red light filled the stage, as a solitary drum was beaten slowly. It was a tribute to the ones who had been slain, the ones who had gone to the Bataclan for a night of music and fun, but had instead been tortured and murdered. Pete held up the French tricolour after the song which read, ‘Fuck Terrorism Forever’. It received a roar of applause. The defiant French spirit that had filled the room for the whole night seemed to peak at that moment. Just before the instruments stopped playing and were left on the stage, leaving just enough reverb to recreate some of the dissonance from that night just after the first shots would have been fired.