“We’ve got two important things to do tonight,” Sting said in French. “First, to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the attacks a year ago and to celebrate the life and the music of this historic venue.” He then asked the audience to join him in reflective silence. “We will not forget them.”
Later, the artist dedicated his song “50,000” to David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and others.
“I’m happy to be here,” Xavier Jugele, a 37-year-old Paris policeman told PEOPLE. “Glad the Bataclan is reopening. It’s symbolic. We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”
On Saturday, Sting posted a heartfelt message to Instagram about the reopening of the Bataclan, which was shut down after 89 people lost their lives amid a string of coordinated attacks across Paris in November of last year.
“In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile,” he wrote. “First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents. In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them.”
See video and a photo from the concert below.