EAGLES OF DEATH METAL – I LOVE YOU ALL THE TIME: LIVE AT THE OLYMPIA IN PARIS (2017)
Starring Jesse Hughes, Joshua Homme, Dave Catching, Matt McJunkins, Julian Dorio, Eden Galindo and Tuesday Cross.
Directed by Vincent Bordes and Julian Aïvadian.
Distributed by Eagle Rock Entertainment. 91 minutes. Not Rated.
There are few, if any, times in music history when a concert has had such a dramatic and tragic prologue as Eagles of Death Metal’s concert in Paris, France on February 16, 2016. A matter of months earlier, the band was playing a concert at the Bataclan Theater in Paris when the show was interrupted by an attack by armed terrorists, leading to 89 deaths and many more injuries.
Eagles of Death Metal seemed like an odd choice of a show for the terrorists to attack. While they had a definite audience, they were hardly superstars. They are not particularly a political band, nor are they overly religious. Sadly, their show was probably targeted simply as a matter of being at the wrong place and the wrong time; they were a biggish American band playing in Paris on a day that ISIS was blitzing Paris – the Bataclan show was the most visible and most deadly of several public attacks in the City of Lights that night.
Naturally, the surviving audience and the band were scarred by the experience, but they refuse to be scared by it. Soon after the horrific experience, EODM leader Jesse Hughes knew they had to return to Paris to finish the show, to give a concert in honor of the victims, but also as a gesture that the people will not bow down and cower to terrorism.
“The people of Paris have always been incredible to us,” Hughes explained. “Our feeling of love towards this beautiful city and its people has been reinforced a million times over this past month. Hearing the stories of the survivors, the injured and those who lost loved ones has been overwhelming. Not returning to finish our set was never an option.”
This video captures that return engagement, automatically giving the concert a gravity and importance that few shows ever have. We all go in knowing the show is going to be a party, but it is also going to be a wake. It will be joyful, but it will also be unbearably sad. The audience will be every bit as important to the power of the performance as the band. The show will not only be a performance, it will be a stand against religious fundamentalism, terrorism and violence.
That’s an odd group of parameters for a band with an aggressive name like Eagles of Death Metal.
Then again, the band’s name has always been ironic. Despite the images of shouty vocals, shredding guitars and howitzer percussion promised by the moniker, EODM have never been really metal. In fact, their sound is more of an alt-rock vibe with glimmers of folk and country.
The band was founded in 1998 by Hughes and his childhood best friend Josh Homme (leader of Queens of the Stone Age), who is a regular recurring member of the band when he is not busy with his many other projects. Homme was not present at the Bataclan show, but he helped his friends and bandmates deal with the PTSD of surviving the show when they returned home. Homme went to Paris for this performance, both as a musician and as emotional support.
Hughes opened the show walking to the edge of the stage, bathing in the screams and cheers, looking out at the crowd and blowing kisses to the people. However, this did not feel like an insincere gesture like it would in so many shows, Hughes was obviously visibly moved to be sharing this experience with the people of France, standing tough in a war that none of them had chosen.
It took a full couple of minutes before the band was composed enough to slam into a grinding take of the driving rocker “I Only Want You.” He briefly stopped the song with a bit of silence, saying from the stage, “Let’s take a moment to remember, and then we’ll get back to the fun.” From there on in, the show was an intense celebration of the band’s music and connection with the fans.
The crowd favorite “Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang)” followed, getting the people back into the party mood. The poptastic “So Easy” raised temperatures in the Paris night, and EODM faves like “Cherry Cola,” “I Love You All the Time,” “Miss Alissa” and “Complexity” led to a scorching set.
However, as good as much of this music is, it’s hard not to notice that the best song in the Eagles of Death Metal’s long setlist is a just divine cover of a 35-year-old Duran Duran ballad, “Save a Prayer.” I doubt there was a dry eye in the house, and there won’t be many watching on video, either.
Still, the music is just half of the show here. I Love You All the Time is a testimony to the bravery of the human spirit, and a celebration of 89 angels who are no longer with us through no fault of their own. For that alone, this is a necessary addition to any music library.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2017 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 8, 2017.