It was the last stop on a European tour that placed Dayton-based R&B and Funk band, The ZAPP Band, in the heart of Paris the night of deadly terror attacks on the city.
Thomas Troutman, of the band, said the group was at the end of a four-country European tour that sent them to Sweden, England, Holland and France. They were scheduled to perform Saturday in Paris but the show was canceled.
Members of the band were out Friday night at a bar two blocks from the Bataclan when the attack there happened.
“An interesting experience … we went out just to enjoy our day off and we went to dinner, went out to enjoy the Paris life,” Troutman said. “A few minutes after we got to a little party, it just went crazy. The owner’s like, ‘Hey everyone stay inside, we’re under attack.’”
Troutman said there was a language barrier and people were “texting like crazy.” But they quickly gathered an attack was underway two blocks away.
“When we got (to Paris), it was so genuine with positive energy, so much love in the air,” Troutman said. “Then after the attack happened, it was heavy sadness.”
Troutman said four members from the tour were out at the time — himself, saxophone player Anthony Arrington, the road manager and promoter touring with the band.
“We didn’t hear gunfire or any of the explosions, but I did see more police cars, ambulances than I’ve ever seen in my life,” Troutman said. “It looked like ‘Crime Scene Investigation.’”
Troutman said the information was “fuzzy” but he’d heard the terrorists responsible for the attacks had somehow tried to use their same train to escape. He said there were about 100 French military members at the metro stop.
Troutman said the band left Paris on Sunday. There were multiple security checkpoints and bag checks.
“I’m just happy to be back home and safe,” Troutman said.
Troutman said even scarier is the fact that the band’s promoter originally wanted to book the band to play at the Bataclan that Friday, but it was already booked by Eagles of Death Metal.
“I am 100 percent grateful that we were able to dodge that atmosphere,” Troutman said. “The last three days that’s all I’ve been doing is processing the trip. The European tour was beautiful, I loved the experience. But that’s in the forefront of my conscious that I could have been in that theater. I was two blocks away. I saw the faces and the atmosphere of the people.”
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