"It's the first time I've been in a public space for a year. I haven't been to the cinema, to a concert. I get my shopping delivered," he said.
"Tonight I'm taking my life back like it was before. It's a duty, there's an obligation to be here – because there are 90 people who can't come anymore," he added, visibly moved, his hands trembling.
"It was very hard to be here at first, but now it's going a bit better – I'm drinking my beer and I'm hoping to have a good time."
Having paid tribute to the late singers David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, Sting introduced a new song Inshallah ("God willing" in Arabic) about the migrant crisis, to whoops from the crowd.
"This song is about a family on a boat" trying to get to Europe, Sting said.
"I don't have a solution for the migrant crisis but I think we can find one through empathy."
Return of music and fun
The biggest applause of the night, however, was for "Desert Rose", a song Sting originally recorded with the Algerian singer Cheb Mami. Performed with the Lebanese trumpet star Ibrahim Maalouf, its driving arabesque beat felt like a defiant retort to puritanical Islamist dogma from which the gunmen sprang.
As he left the stage, the star said, "Vive le Bataclan" (Long live the Bataclan), before returning to perform alone the Empty Chair, a song he wrote in tribute to US journalist James Foley, who worked for Agence France-Prresse, who was beheaded by ISIS in Syria in 2014.
"I dedicate this to all the families here tonight who have lost someone," Sting said.
Georges Salines, who lost his 28-year-old daughter Lola at the Bataclan, said the concert was "almost a taking back of the space for music and fun from the forces of death".
More than 250 survivors and victims' families attended the concert.
On Sunday, November 13, the actual anniversary of the attacks, President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo will unveil plaques outside the Bataclan as well as the other locations that were targeted – the national stadium, restaurants and bars.
Jesse Hughes is expected at the Bataclan ceremony.
One year on, 9 people out of the around 400 injured in the rampage are still in hospital. – Rappler.com