Coming on stage quickly at 9 p.m. to a subdued crowd, the British rocker (Sting) started with comments honoring the victims that were killed when terrorists stormed the theatre last Nov. 13.
“We’ve got two significant things to do tonight,” he said in French.
He then called for the minute of silence which proved to be an existential exhale for the tense crowd in reference to the terror attack on Bataclan a year earlier.
“We shall not forget them,” he said before launching into “Fragile,” whose lyrics read: “Nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could,” before launching into “Message in a Bottle.”
Then he started a list of those musicians lost. “Prince, David Bowie, Lemmy, Glenn Frey…” he said before the crowd shouted “Leonard Cohen!”
“And Leonard,” he added. “This is for them.” He dedicated “FIfty Thousand” from his new record to the late musicians.
His “Inshallah” was next, which might have proved more contentious. He explained the Arabic word as a “word of hope,” however, noting the present migrant crisis that’s plaguing Europe.
“And now for rock n’ roll,” he said, as he launched into “Petrol Head.”
He dedicated the last song, “Empty Chair,” to journalist Jim Foley for the HBO documentary of himself. He projected a photograph of Foley behind the stage as he pulled out his acoustic guitar for an emotional performance.
The star controlled the stage in slim jeans and a tight gray t-shirt. Despite the many signs reminding the crowd of the prohibition on photos and movie, much of the audience held up cellphones throughout the show.