By Miriam Wells
The Eagles of Death Metal (EODM), the band who were playing at Paris’ Bataclan concert hall when it was attacked by gunmen last November, will return to the French capital to “finish” the show tonight.
In interviews with French media, the band’s frontman Jesse Hughes said he still had nightmares about the shooting, in which 90 people died, but said the massacre had only consolidated his view that everyone should have access to guns.
The band performed at a U2 concert in Paris last December but Tuesday’s show at the Olympia concert hall will be their first concert there since the attack. Psychologists will be on standby to offer help to survivors of the attack, who have been given free invitations.
EODM were playing to a crowd of around 1,500 at the Bataclan on November 13 when three men with assault rifles stormed the venue and started shooting and throwing hand grenades.
It was one of a series of attacks in Paris that night in which 130 people died, which the Islamic State terrorist group later claimed responsibility for. The Bataclan has not yet reopened.
Related: This Is What Happened at the Bataclan Concert Hall During the Paris Attacks
“Not returning to finish our set was never an option,” the band said in a statement last December announcing the dates of their rescheduled European tour.
In an emotional 19-minute interview on Monday, Hughes — a long-time advocate for access to gun ownership — told French television station iTélé that gun control did not save lives.
“Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”
If anything the attack had furthered his belief in the necessity of access to firearms, Hughes said.
“I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal. And I hate it that it’s that way,” said Hughes, who is a supporter of US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Related: ‘I Will Never Stop Rocking and Rolling': Eagles of Death Metal Make Powerful Return to Paris Stage
“I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them. Because I’ve never seen anyone that’s ever had one dead, and I want everyone to have access to them, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived, I don’t know,” he said.
Some survivors of the attack told reporters that attending the gig would help them gain closure.
“To me it was obvious that this gig needed to be finished and the right way this time,” 27-year-old survivor Lydia Berkennou told Sky News. “It will help me move forward and it is a big step, one thing that may help me close the door behind me.
Others expressed apprehension about whether they would be able to cope with the experience emotionally.
Guillaume Munier, 29, who survived by hiding in a toilet, told RFI English: “I’m going to go to the Olympia, but I really don’t know if I’ll be able to go inside.”
Hughes said he hoped the show would help him in his recovery. “I hope I can walk out on that stage and be stronger than I am being right now… This is therapy for me.”
In an interview with VICE last year, Hughes pledged the band would return to the stage. “Our friends went there to see rock ‘n’ roll and died. I’m going to go back there and live.” – Vive News