A day shy of the anniversary of the Paris attacks, Sting reopened Paris’ Bataclan theater with a minute of silence for the 90 killed and dedicated the song “50,000” to David Bowie and Prince, among others.
Coming on stage promptly at 9 p.m. to a subdued crowd, the British rocker began with remarks honoring the victims that were killed when terrorists stormed the theater last Nov. 13.
“We’ve got two important things to do tonight,” he 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 called for the minute of silence which proved to be an existential exhale for the tense crowd.
“We shall not forget them,” he said before launching into 1988’s “Fragile,” whose lyrics read: “Nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could,” before launching into “Message in a Bottle.”
“And Leonard,” he added. “This is for them.” He dedicated “FIfty Thousand” from his new album 57th & 9th to the late musicians.
His “Inshallah” was next, which might have proved more controversial. He explained the Arabic word as a “word of hope,” however, noting the current migrant crisis that is plaguing Europe.
“And now for rock ‘n’ roll,” he said, as he launched into “Petrol Head.”
He dedicated the last song, “Empty Chair,” to journalist Jim Foley and HBO doc made about him, Jim: The James Foley Story. He projected a photo of Foley behind the stage as he pulled out his acoustic guitar for an emotional rendition.
The star commanded the stage in slim jeans and a tight gray T-shirt. Despite the many signs reminding the crowd of the ban on film and photos, much of the audience held up phones throughout the show.
Sting also took to his Instagram account Saturday night:
In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile. 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 some of the social media posts below.
— Lucid Hurricane™? (@LucidHuricane) November 12, 2016
Sting transforms The Bataclan back into what it always was. A concert venue. pic.twitter.com/sps9pdsSEx
— Nick Garnett (@NickGarnettBBC) November 12, 2016
— gigsinparis (@gigsinparis) November 12, 2016
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.