The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach tells of his frightening experience during attack;
Live Nation announces new security measures will be instituted at concerts.
U2, Foo Fighters and Motörhead are among the groups whose concert dates in Paris and parts of Europe have been cancelled following the terror attacks on November 13 that killed concertgoers at Le Bataclan, a historic 1,500-seat theater in Paris.
The attacks have up-ended the concert industry, raising concerns about future terrorist attacks targeted at musical events.
“This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror,” U2 singer Bono says. “It’s very upsetting. These are our people.”
On Friday evening, November 13, three terrorists entered the Bataclan through several entrances while an Eagles of Death Metal show was underway and killed approximately 89 people, mostly concertgoers.
The victims include Nick Alexander, shown left, the merchandise manager for Eagles of Death Metal, a U.S. group founded by American guitarist Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme, guitarist with Queens of the Stone Age. Alexander, of Colchester, England, was working the merchandise table at the time of the attack. He was 36.
The band members made it safely out of the venue through a backstage door. Homme sat out the band’s European tour and was not at the Bataclan show.
The assault was one of six coordinated attacks carried out in Paris that killed at least 129 and injured more than 400. In the aftermath, France closed its borders, and the country’s Ministry of Culture shuttered public cultural sites, including performance halls.
Bono and U2 members The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. visited a memorial for the victims on Saturday, where they laid flowers in tribute.
The band was rehearsing on Friday night at the AccorHotels Arena, about three miles away from the Bataclan theater, when it was told of the shooting.
“Our security locked it down pretty quickly and we got our team and our crew out of there safely,” Bono told Irish DJ Dave Fanning in a radio interview on Saturday. “We came to the back door of the hotel. Everyone congregated and watched the TV like everybody else in disbelief with what was happening. We’re all safe.”
The group, which has been performing in Europe for the past two months, was scheduled to perform in Paris on Saturday for a show to be broadcast on HBO. The show was subsequently cancelled.
Like most everyone, Bono and the band are struggling to comprehend what took place at the Bataclan.
“If you think about it, the majority of victims last night are music fans,” Bono said. “This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror, or whatever it’s called. It’s very upsetting.
“These are our people. This could be me at a show. You at a show, in that venue. It’s a very recognizable situation for you and for me, and the coldblooded aspect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing, and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
U2’s rehearsal schedule for their Paris show may have spared the life of their roadie Graham Wright, shown right. Wright was planning to see the Eagles of Death Metal show, but U2 scheduled an extra rehearsal, which prevented him from attending. A former roadie for Black Sabbath and close friend of Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne, Wright was also a friend of merchandise manager Alexander.
Like U2, Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach was about three miles away from Le Bataclan when the attack took place. Auerbach was performing at Le Trianon with his band the Arcs. The group had just finished their set when they learned of the events.
“We were hunkered down listening for gunshots,” Auerbach told Rolling Stone in an exclusive he wrote for the publication. “We had people guarding all the doors, which were all locked up. We saw the helicopters flying above us; police cars just screaming by.”
Auerbach also knew Nick Alexander from the Black Keys’ European shows. “Nick...was our merch guy,” Auerbach writes. “We’d been working with him for years. He was part of our family basically—one of those guys we’d see every time we come over here for these big European experiences we’d been having for 10-plus years…
“Nick was just a really nice guy. He was just an absolute rock & roll guy. He lived for it. Selling merch is a really, really tough job. He was one of the first ones in, last ones out. You have to be 100 percent prepared for that short burst of sales, that wave of people when they come in and when they come out. When you find someone really good at that job, you try to hold on to them. He was that guy for a lot of people.”
The Foo Fighters announced they have cancelled the remaining dates of their Sonic Highway World Tour, which included a concert in Paris.
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt concern for everyone in Paris that we have been forced to announce the cancellation of the rest of our tour,” the band said in a statement. “In light of this senseless violence, the closing of borders, and international mourning, we can’t continue right now.”
Other performers, including Marilyn Manson, Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach, called off shows following the attack. Motörhead canceled their November 15 show at the Zenith, in Paris, after the Ministry of Culture closed the venue. The band issue a statement that said, “Due to the serious situation that our brothers and sisters are facing in Paris we have to postpone our gig until January. We are working on locking a date and will give details as soon as we can.” The show production company Gerard Drouot Productions said on Facebook that will be “postponed to a later date, probably on 21 January.”
Coldplay acknowledged the Paris terror attack with a moment of silence before opening their acoustic concert in Los Angeles on Friday. The group opened the show by performing John Lennon’s “Imagine” and played another four songs. You can watch a portion of the show in the video below.
Coldplay promised those in attendance they would perform a full show in one week. They had also postponed a TIDAL and KROQ live-streamed performance earlier in the evening “out of respect for the terrible events in Paris.”
In response to the attack, Live Nation, the global concert promoter, announced on Saturday it would increase security at venues at which it presents concerts.
“The safety and security of our shows, fans and venues continues to be our highest priority,” the company said in a statement. “Due to the recent events in Paris and in an abundance of caution we have implemented heightened security procedures globally. However, because of the sensitive nature of these protocols, we cannot elaborate further on the specific details.”
The attacks at the Bataclan come at a time when the concert industry is still reeling from the nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, on October 30 that killed 55 people. The fire, at the Colectiv nightclub, occurred during a performance by metalcore group Goodbye to Gravity, who were celebrating the release of their latest album, Mantras of War. The band’s pyrotechnics display ignited flammable acoustic foam, and the fire quickly spread through the venue. At least 82 people died, including four of Goodbye to Gravity’s five members. The CBS Evening News report about the blaze is shown below.