Madonna could not hold back her tears at her concert in Stockholm, Sweden, as she stopped the show to pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks and their families.
At least 129 people were killed and more than 350 were wounded in ISIS terrorist shootings and suicide bombings in the French capital on Friday. The 57-year-old Queen of Pop performed 13 songs before speaking about the tragedies and delivering a powerful message about tolerance.
"Actually I don't need my guitar for this 'cause it's been very hard for me to get through this show up to this point and not forget about what happened last night, so I need to take this moment to acknowledge the tragedy, the tragic killings, assassinations and the senseless endings of precious life that occurred last night in Paris," Madonna said, as seen in a YouTube video posted on Saturday by her manager, Guy Oseary.
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"It's been really hard, actually to get through the show because in many ways, I feel, I feel torn. Like, why am I up here dancing and having fun when people are crying over the loss of their loved ones," she said, tearfully. "However, that is exactly what these people want to do. They want to shut us up. They want to silence us. And we won't let them."
She was met with cheers across the packed Tele 2 Arena.
"Tonight's show was difficult but there was so much love in this arena it made me feel like we were turning darkness into light," she said on Instagram.
"We will never let them!" she said. "Because there is power in unity and I do believe that as much chaos and pain and senseless violence and terrorism that occurs around this world, not just in Paris, as much as that that does occur, there is more goodness in this world. We are here to prove it."
"I was gonna cancel my show tonight but then I thought to myself, 'Why should I give that to them? Why should I allow them to stop me and to stop us from enjoying freedom?'" Madonna said.
Two U2 concerts set to take place over the weekend were canceled. Bono and his bandmates were seen laying flowers on a makeshift memorial on a pavement in the city on Saturday. Foo Fighters canceled the remainder of their current tour, which included a stop in Paris.
This marked Madonna's first concert on her Rebel Heart tour since the attacks. She has a scheduled show in Paris on Dec. 9.
"All of the places where people were killed were places where people were having fun, people were enjoying themselves, eating in restaurants, dancing, singing, watching a soccer match" she told the crowd. "These are freedoms that we take for granted of course and we must not but they're freedoms that we deserve, we work hard and we deserve to have fun and there is no one in this world that should have the right to stop us from doing what we love!"
About 89 of the victims were gunned down at a concert by the American band Eagles for Death Metal. The musicians survived, while the group's merchandise manager, a 36-year-old man named Nick Alexander, was among those killed.
His girlfriend, Polina Buckley, posted tributes to him on social media.
"Yes, there are people who have no respect for human life and there are people that do atrocious, degrading and unforgivable things to other human beings but we will never ever, ever change this world that we live in if we do not change ourselves, if we do not change the way that we treat one another on a daily basis," Madonna said.
"Only love will change the world," she said. "But it's very hard to love unconditionally and it's very hard to love that which we do not understand or that which is different than we are. But we have to or this will go on and on forever."
She then had the audience observe a moment of silence to "say a prayer for the victims who died last night in Paris." Coldplay did the same thing at a shortened concert in Los Angeles on Friday.
"So, here's what I know how to do," she said. "And I hope that you will join we and that we will all sing this prayer together."
Madonna then launched into one of the most emotional renditions of her 1989 hit "Like a Prayer."