Magnet to the most original performers of its time, Bataclan was forever also ahead of its time. Throughout its history, it has drawn to its stage searingly inventive and avant-garde music and shows.
1865 - Genesis: On what was a market-gardening wasteland, Bataclan rose in a mere ten months from nothing into the BA-TA-CLAN named after a one act operetta by Offenbach, the Chinese sound-alike syllables reinforcing its exotic name: Grand Café Chinois. A place for the local population to play billiards and dance quadrilles and polka, among much else.
1969 - Highway to rock: Bataclan was a neighbourhood cinema when Assaad brought to the stage of the old silver-screen, the new style-splitting band Soft Machine from England, into an auditorium that that rediscovered its natural glory as a concert venue. Show-cased were Velvet Underground and the epoch-making gigs of bands such as Ramones, Talking Heads, Iron Maiden and many more.
1982 - Hip hop afternoons: At 2 pm on Sundays, the door opened to a teeming public of out-of-town dance aficionados, drawn in from the surrounding banlieue to this key central Paris venue which featured funk, zouk, afro-beat and more, and where some of the first rap riffs were recorded. DJ Chabin turned the Bata, as it was called, into the temple of hip-hop.
2004 - Time to techno: The whole venue was revamped and painted in its gaudy original colours, becoming the ideal location for techno music. Bataclan rose to being a high spot of Parisian nightlife.
2016 - Venue reopened by Sting: Just a day short of one year after the dramatic events of 13 November, singer Sting set the ball of musical shows rolling again. The venue was the home to techno, rock, folk, comedy shows and gay evenings, among much else … Bataclan the eclectic returned to its roots as a focus of popular culture.
2022 - Return to first loves: After its many reincarnations during time past, Bataclan is now reborn under the auspices of Paris Entertainment Company—a venue focused on musical performance. Change of visual identity and programming. Brash, decidedly inventive, Bataclan showcases rap stars and rock stars, alongside performers of all genres provided they get the buzz.
Hard rock at Bataclan? This was a first by decision of Assaad Debs who went for Soft Machine at a time when they were supporting artists for Jimi Hendrix. A historic event at Bataclan for flyaway haired music lovers dressed in khaki green parkas. Turning point to a new future. In 1926 Bataclan had become a cinema. But from the Soft Machine night on, the silver screen was shredded. Bataclan returned to its roots. It reverted to live performance arts and is the current centre of all that is best in live contemporary rock music.
On January 29, 1972, the Bataclan witnessed a historic moment: Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico, emblematic members of the Velvet Underground, found themselves on stage for the first time since the group's separation in 1970. The trio performed 14 pieces , including key tracks from the “banana album”. The public also has the chance to discover “Berlin”, a new composition by Lou Reed. The television show “Pop 2” captures this legendary moment, which will give birth in 2004 to the live album “Bataclan '72”.
On 2 May 1977, Ramones, considered by some the global number one punk band, chose Bataclan for their first French performance. First set supporting act (ready to explode on the global scene) were Talking Heads. An incredible double bill. Philippe Manoeuvre wrote the event up as follows: “Self-contained as tight-closed oysters, Ramones spit out their first two albums at hellish speed.”
In 1979, aged only 20, members of the The Cure chose Bataclan for their first stage performance. Télérama wrote: “Clear and dry, a sound full of friction, a premonition of the sublime and misty Seventeen Seconds." To celebrate their first 20 years together, The Cure returned to the Bataclan after an Accor Arena show sold out three weeks ahead of time. Nice surprise! they came back to the venue that saw them hit the stage in their earliest days.
February 21, 1980 marked Motörhead's first date at the Bataclan. Lemmy Kilmister and his band made an impression during their visits by playing their fast and powerful music. October 27, 1982, Motörhead was once again at the Bataclan.
Legend has it that they played so intensely that the murals cracked, leading to a temporary ban on metal concerts at the venue. Philippe Manoeuvre recounts this concert: “I’m there, I’m going to lose a large part of my left eardrum. (…) the crowd in perfectos goes totally crazy, behaving like a bunch of Huns in the Vikings."
On 6 May 1994, Prince electrified the Bataclan public for the first time, creating a unique rock ambiance that lasted until five in the morning. A night never to be forgotten at the Bataclan.
On 17 November 1999, late at night, Prince made a remarkable second appearance at the Bataclan and the scene didn’t break till the morning.
On 28 October 2002, after a concert at the Zénith, Prince decided to round off the evening in great style at Bataclan. Starting at 2 am Prince had his public riveted in an after-show performance that none who saw it will ever forget .
On 25 October 1994, Blur performed at 50 boulevard Voltaire, and the Bataclan audience was turned into a sea of fans singing in unison.
A year later on 26 October 1995, Damon Albarn and band made a triumphant comeback with their particular all-consuming energy and insolence.
No matter that they could fill far bigger venues, they kept faith with Bataclan on 19 May 2003 to thrill a devoted public.
On 20 April 1995, the Gallagher brothers went centre stage at Bataclan, after a first set from Britpop The Verve. The atmosphere was electric, typical of Mancunian music.
On 21 March 2000, Oasis was back onstage with a setlist adorned by new songs ready made for mass singsong and Bataclan was passionately vibrant with rock energy.
On 10 November 2008, Oasis was back for the last time on the history-laden Bataclan stage. The very first notes played sent the audience into a trance of enjoyment of a band they were privileged to hear a year before it broke up for good.
On 11 June 2003, Metallica burst the bounds of credibility by honouring their pledge to play three separate gigs in three separate Paris venues … in a single day! After an electrifying Boule Noire performance, they came to Bataclan to thrill a public that had long awated them. Their heavy, implacable riffs over their thrashingly repetitive and hypnotic backing, showed off James Hetfield and his band at the peak of their artform. Energy that built and built up until it overflowed into the next and last gig of a marathon day, at the Trabend.
11 April 2006, 22h30. Tension rising among the overheated public fearing cancellation of the Babyshambles concert, where the roadies were beginning to pack up the onstage equipment. Suddenly Peter Doherty appeared on the scene.
9 and 10 March 2009. Peter Doherty was back again, playing numbers from his solo album on an acoustic guitar.
On 16 and 17 November 2016, Peter Doherty came back solo, well supported by Drew McConnell (Babyshambles) and Graham Coxon (Blur) as well as by Carl Barât, joint leader of the Libertines.
15 May 2019. Peter Doherty appeared for the sixth and last time at Bataclan. Suit-and-tie, white shirt and braces, supported by his band The Putas Madres.
Twenty-three performances at Bataclan, has anyone done better than Fauve? who know all there is to know about Bataclan. “This is a venue whose very smell, architecture and seating, its corridors and the feel on stage of the black lino under foot, we are intimately acquainted with, as also the front-of-house staff, management, security people and bar staff... We know it and all of them intimately. Bataclan is our home.” So say they on their website.
To crown 200 performances played on tour over two years, Idles rounded off at Bataclan on 3 December 2018. This was the last event in the promotional tour of their album Joy As An Act Of Resistance. So they recorded it live as an album in its own right: A Beautiful Thing: Idles Live at le Bataclan. In the words of guitarist Mark Bowen: “There was an innate, immanent sense of freedom. That night was bottled catharsis, a raging spirit of togetherness (...). that only comes when playing to a public that is deeply receptive, understanding and respectful of the music. That night we felt that we and the audience, and they with us, we were all indissolubly bonded." One and a half hours of pogo hopping, spilt beers and mayhem on stage by musicians singing their guts out. Moments in performance that live in the memory forever.
We’re mostly women at Bataclan and highly talented with it, in all areas from barista to security services. Team motto is diversity. Rich with personalities from all cultures, genres and horizons, we are united in a spirit of rock-solid, rock-inspired love of the festive spirit.