The country is still reeling from the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. A little more than six weeks ago, Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas was attacked by a gunman that killed 58 people and injured more than 500 more. Country star Jason Aldean was on stage during the attack and spoke with Today about what was going through his head.
Aldean revealed that at first, he thought it was merely a blown speaker that was causing the noise he was hearing, and he spent the first moments of the shooting communicating with the sound engineer to get the problem fixed.
“Then it happened again,” Aldean said,” and it lasted longer the second time. And so then I was actually kind of getting aggravated. So I looked over at my monitor guys that’s on the side of the stage as if to say ‘What is that?’ and ‘Fix it.'”
Quickly, though, the reality of the situation became clear:
“When I turned to look my guitar player had run behind me and was telling me to move and my security guy was running on stage telling me to run… It was so hectic, I mean you just, everybody was scrambling. You just didn’t know what was going on. It was just panic, is probably the best way I could describe it. I think everybody just kind of panicked and didn’t really know where to go or what to do, because I mean we’re not in that situation. I’ve never been in that situation before, and obviously nobody else out there had either. So it was just kind of crazy. Pandemonium.”
In the interview, Aldean also spoke about the aftermath of the incident, noting that his first reaction was to need to fly home and be with his family. But Aldean quickly got back to performing, a task that seems particularly brave considering what he’d just endured. He gave a tribute to the victims on Saturday Night Live and has been back to Las Vegas to visit the wounded in the hospital. Aldean said that the concerts that have followed have been therapeutic and have helped his team heal. And as for the political ramifications of the event, Aldean called for people to put their differences aside and come together.
“I feel like at the end of the day there’s so much focus on you know, politics and race and all these other things that just, you know at the end of the day we’re all in this together,” Aldean said. “We spend so much time arguing with each other and not enough time working on the issue that’s really the problem.”