I was still riding the high from the show when the bus came to a stop on Boulevard Voltaire. For many years this day would be remembered as one of my favorites but things have changed. My mind has stopped being able to celebrate anything to do with that night at Le Bataclan, replacing the images with those from November 13th, 2015. I wasn’t there that night but the visuals of somewhere so familiar make it impossible to keep apart now.
A few of the local crew would refer to it as “Le Grand Rouge” (The Big Red) due to the red chairs and walls. There was a giant disco ball hanging in the middle of the room which would create some stunning visuals. The floor seats were removed when I got to take the stage there, as they were on November 13th. For years I would picture the 1,500 in front of me, roaring as one, energetic, loud… alive. On more than one night since November 13th I have caught my mind wondering how many of those blurry faces I remember were also there that night. How many of those people were the same people I saw those pictures of. All I see now when I look out at the crowd is bodies lying there, lifeless, in pools of their own blood. Le Grand Rouge is now something very different for many of us.
There were previous horrific incidents that played on the minds of anyone who chose the road to make their living. The Station nightclub fire in 2003, the Dimebag Darrell shooting in 2004 are two that come to mind right away. We try to learn from these events and change things that we are capable of changing. The Station fire made us smarter about the use of pyro, especially in the smaller venues. The Darrell shooting has lead to tighter stage security.
Eagles Of Death Metal will be returning to Paris on February 16th, this time taking the stage at L’Olympia. I can’t imagine the anxiety for band, crew and fans. The memories remain but the healing has begun. Some that were there that night have stated it is too soon to return while others feel they need this to start moving on.
My one night playing rock star in Paris is a night that I will never forget. It is also a story I don’t see myself ever really telling again without associating that loud, loving crowd with the 89 people who lost their lives there.