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On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the deadliest attacks on Paris since World War II, British pop legend Sting dedicated the reopening Saturday of the concert hall where dozens were massacred.
The concert marked a rebirth for the Bataclan concert hall, which was devastated on Nov. 13 of last year when terrorists killed 130 people and injured hundreds more in a series of coordinated attacks across the French capital.
Sting, in a T-shirt with a guitar slung over his shoulder, asked concertgoers in French to observe a minute of silence as he opened the show.
"We will not forget them," the singer said of the victims. "Tonight, we have two tasks to settle. First, to remember and honor those who lost their life in the attacks. Then, to celebrate life and music."
He began the concert with his emotional hit, "Fragile", belting out: "Nothing comes from violence and nothing will."
French-Lebanese trumpet star Ibrahim Maalouf soon appeared on stage to join Sting to perform "Message in A Bottle" as they moved the audience to its feet with clapping.
"I'll send an SOS to the world," he sang. "Only hope can keep us alive."
Sting planned to perform new songs from his latest album, "57th & 9th," according to the set list posted on social media.
Hundreds of yards of barricades, extensive body searches and scores of armed police greeted the 1,000 ticket holders who secured seats. Survivors were also invited to attend.
"I'm happy to be here but also scared," Didier Delalande said as he attended the concert in memory of his friend's sister who was killed.
Georges Salines, head of the Bataclan victim's group "13th November Fraternity and Truth" came to support the reopening in the memory of his daughter, Lola, who died during the attacks.
"It's important this venue reopens to show that we are standing up to the terrorists who tried to destabilize our lives."
ISIS claimed the violence that targeted bars, restaurants and a city sports stadium last November.
Some survivors on Saturday stayed outside the Bataclan in quiet vigil, while others shared drinks in honor of the lost lives. The smell of fresh paint from the reconstruction hung over the crowd.
One family pasted inspirational messages on the trees surrounding the concert hall to commemorate the life of their brother and son, and other victims.
"To everyone who came to this concert...and to my brother, Christophe who has shown immense courage since the age of 1 years old. We love you," the post read.
French officials at the Bataclan included Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Audrey Azoulay, the minister of culture.
"Our return to Bataclan is a victory of youth and humanist ideas against terror and division," Azoulay posted on Facebook.
Sting is no stranger to the Bataclan, playing there decades ago in 1979 as the lead singer of The Police. He said proceeds from the concert would go to two charities helping survivors.
The concert hall — which has been refurbished to its original state — will remain closed on Sunday's actual anniversary of the attacks, when French President Francois Hollande and Hidalgo will unveil plaques in memory of victims at the half-dozen sites where revelers died.