U2 were scheduled to perform two shows at Paris’s Bercy Arena on Saturday and Sunday, and they were rehearsing at the venue when terrorists attacked an Eagles Of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan concert hall less than three miles away. “They locked it down pretty quickly and we got our team and our crew out of there safely,” Bono told RTÉ 2FM DJ Dave Fanning in a radio interview this morning, U2 fan site @U2 reports. “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 … Really our first thoughts at this point are with the Eagles Of Death Metal fans, and if you think about it, the majority of victims last night are music fans. This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so called war on terror. 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.”
The band’s shows in Paris this weekend have both been canceled in the wake of the tragedy. “We didn’t call it off. It was cancelled, honest, and I understand perfectly why,” Bono said. “I think music is very important. I think U2 has a role to play, and I can’t wait till we get back to Paris and play. And that’s what I’m feeling from the messages we’re receiving from music fans is these people will not set our agenda, they will not organize our lives for us. I remember U2 was the first big act back into New York after 9/11. We played Madison Square Garden, and the feeling of Madison Square Garden was just unbelievable, and the feeling was just this is who we are, you can’t change us. You’re not gonna turn us into haters or you’re not gonna turn us around in the way we go about our lives. That was the feeling of Madison Square Garden back then, and I hope that will be the feeling at Bercy when we get back there.”
The band visited the Bataclan today to pay their respects, placing flowers on the pavement outside the scene of the attack.