Following a series of coordinated attacks across Paris on Friday night that left 129 dead, including 89 at the Bataclan music venue, U2 lead singer Bono has called the assault a “direct hit on music.”
Bono called in to speak with Irish DJ Dave Fanning on Saturday morning, after U2’s scheduled concerts on Saturday and Sunday in Paris were postponed.
“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. And it’s very upsetting.”
American band Eagles of Death Metal were playing a sold-out concert at the Bataclan when the attack began. (The band got out safely, but a member of the group’s crew was killed.) “These are our people,” Bono said. “This could be me at a show, you at a show … It’s a very recognizable situation. All our thoughts are with the Eagles of Death Metal fans.”
Early Saturday morning, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault, saying it was the “first of the storm.” France’s President François Hollande has declared three days of national mourning and troops are patrolling the capital. “It was canceled, honest, and I understand perfectly why,” Bono said of the postponed shows. “It’s up to the French authorities to decide when we can go back. I think music is very important and that U2 has a role to play. I can’t wait until we get back to Paris.”
He then remembered coming to New York just a month after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. “We played Madison Square Garden and it was just unbelievable.” Speaking of the legendary venue’s energy that night, Bono recalled, “The feeling was, ‘This is who we are. You can’t change us. You’re not going to turn us into haters… I hope that’s the feeling in Bercy when we get back there.”
The band also posted a photo on Instagram on Saturday, bearing a handwritten message including, “Love is bigger than anything in its way.”
The Dublin rockers’ tour heads to Ireland for shows in Belfast and Dublin next, where they were originally supposed to end the 2015 leg of the Innocence + Experience Tour. But it now seems likely the rescheduled Paris shows will be the new end date. Whether or not it will still air as a live special on HBO has not been determined.
You can listen to Bono’s interview in full below.