By JAMES PURTILL
John Leader, 46, and Oscar had been inside the venue for 15 minutes, listening to American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, when he saw at least two terrorists enter the sold-out concert hall.
Warning: This contains disturbing details of the attack on the Bataclan.
Mr Leader did not know that about six kilometres away in northern Paris, a suicide bomber had activated an explosive belt near the Stade de France, where a soccer game was being played between France and Germany.
It was the first in a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital that night.
The coordinated attacks, which began at 9:20pm (local time) and spanned a period of about three hours at five locations, left at least 129 people dead and more than 350 injured.
Among the injured was Emma Grace Parkinson, 19, from Hobart, who was shot in the hip and is now recovering in hospital.
In the dark, Mr Leader initially thought the gunfire noise was firecrackers. Soon the crowd realised an attack was taking place.
“It was a bit of a scramble,” he told Hack. “Because we were next to the mixing desk, I got on top of Oscar and was pushing him towards the mixing desk.
“We managed to get around the right hand side of the mixing desk and since it was dark we had no idea where these guys were.”
The music had stopped before the lights came on. It was later reported the band had fled the venue by the stage door and a member of the band’s crew was killed.
Two of the gunmen stood about three metres from the back wall and fired in the direction of the stage, Mr Leader said, hitting people whose bodies piled up at the front of the venue.
He said the terrorists wore “large brown sleeveless vests” that may have been made of leather, and appeared to be in their twenties.
The men were about 10-15 metres away and had “AK-47-style guns”, Mr Leader said.
He said they worked as a pair. One shot into the front of the venue while another covered the shooter to make sure nobody was able to approach. Only one at a time would fire, he said.
“They were very calm, very methodical, very slow. I watched the guy reloading. The person knew what he was doing. He wasn’t panicking,” he said.
“This was practised. They weren’t in there shooting like in an American movie. At no point did they put the guns on full automatic. It was only semi automatic with pauses between the shots.”