Standing before 35,000 fans in the French city of Lyon, the singer paused dramatically as lights turned the stage into a giant replica of the nation’s red, white and blue striped flag. “Tonight is the night I wish I could have experienced with my fans in Nice,” she told the crowd.
“This next song I want to dedicate to the people of Nice. To the people who’ve suffered, to the people who’ve been traumatized – and their families,” continued the 27-year-old before launching into her 2012 hit “Diamonds.” She invited fans to pull out their cellphones, flashlights, and lighters. “I need you to help me light this building up,” she urged.
“The crowd roared,” one attendee told PEOPLE. “It was a very intense moment. The audience responded incredibly. There were lights everywhere, shouts and applause. People started singing ‘La Marseillaise.'”
After the show, the singer posted a photo of the stage set to her Instagram account. “I’m so fortunate to have had this experience with you tonight!!!” she wrote in the caption. “Y’all are incredibly dedicated and I cherish each of you.”
Originally scheduled to perform in Nice last Friday, Rihanna cancelled her Anti World Tour performance in the immediate aftermath of the attack that left at least 84 dead during the city’s fireworks display. According to local sources, Rihanna was staying at a hotel on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, but was at dinner in Antibes when the killings took place.