Country music star Jason Aldean said a strange “crackling” noise caught his attention while he was performing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last month.
He kept playing, thinking it was a technical issue with a speaker, he told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview that aired Tuesday. He didn’t realize that a gunman overlooking the stage was firing upon the thousands of spectators below.
“I was actually kind of getting aggravated,” Aldean said, recalling his initial response to the disruptive sound. “So I looked over at my monitor guy that’s on the side of the stage as if to say, ‘What is that?’ and ‘Fix it.’”
He stopped playing when he saw his guitarist start running for cover and a security guard urging him to do the same. So he bolted as well.
“Everybody just kind of panicked, and didn’t really know where to go, or what to do,” he said. “It was just kind of crazy, pandemonium.”
Aldean and everyone on stage with him Oct. 1 managed to escape, but 58 people were ultimately killed and more than 500 others were wounded in what would become the nation’s worst mass shooting in modern history.
No one can take away the fact that music is such an escape and such a therapeutic and healing thing. Dave Haywood, Lady Antebellum
Members of the Grammy Award-winning trio Lady Antebellum, who appeared beside Aldean during his interview, said they reached out to the star to express their love and support in the moments after the shooting.
They said they aren’t going to let the traumatic experience stop them from performing.
“No one can take away the fact that music is such an escape and such a therapeutic and healing thing,” said musician Dave Haywood.
Country music stars gathered at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday for a benefit concert, raising more than $4 million for victims of the Las Vegas shooting and people affected by recent hurricanes. Lady Antebellum and Aldean were among the acts that performed.
“It’s been a rough couple months for us up here, and it’s a lot of fun to get back out and play for the people who matter which is you guys,” Aldean told the crowd, according to the Country Rising Benefit Concert’s website. “I love getting up every day and playing music, and I’ll be damned if anybody out there will ever stop me from doing that.”
Moving on from a devastating event doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten what happened, Aldean said on “Today.”
“I just hope that everybody can start to heal,” he said. “Some of that stuff you can never get over but I hope it gets better for everybody as time goes on.”