Almost a year and a half after the now-infamous incident in which a gunman opened fire during the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival concert, country singer Jason Aldean, who was on stage at the time of the shooting, is opening up about his experience.
Aldean was performing the song “When She Says Baby” at the Oct. 1, 2017 concert when he heard what he thought was a guitar amp shorting out. He quickly realized the noise was gunfire, beginning a massacre that left 58 people dead and nearly 500 injured.
“I was confused,” Aldean said in a recent interview during a Country Radio Seminar billed “Overcoming Obstacles” (via Billboard). “I didn’t know what was going on. My wife was eight months pregnant. That was scary. I didn’t know where she was at. You’re scared, you’re nervous. It was just really chaotic. One of the words I summed it up with was chaos.”
Aldean, who has undergone therapy since the incident, mentioned that he feels like he didn’t do enough to get over the shooting, but noted that his band members are what really got him to the healthier place he is today.
“I probably should have gone to a few more therapy sessions than I did," he said. "Honestly, for me, being able to talk to my guys, talk to people that I was close to, being able to talk about it to somebody who understood how I was feeling, that helped me tremendously. The other part of that was getting back on stage [and] mentally getting through some shows.”
Aldean and his band removed “When She Says Baby” from their setlist for a time because it simply brought up too many bad memories. However, they’ve since moved it back into the rotation. He shared that the hardest part of the aftermath was getting up the courage to go see the injured victims.
Although he didn’t get hurt in the incident, he said he had occasional survivor’s guilt that was helped by spending face-to-face time with victims.
“I was really glad we went there, but it was tough to sit there and see people who were at our show a few days before. To me, it was gut-wrenching. I felt a responsibility to go there and have some face-to-face time with them and laugh and cry -- whatever they wanted to do.”