Six weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in
"So, when it first happened, I thought a speaker had blown is what I thought. It just sounded like a crackling something," Aldean said. "I'm kind of looking around like, 'What is that?' Trying to figure out what it is. Well then it stopped. So I was like, 'Alright, well they must have got it fixed.' And so I kept doing my thing, and then it happened again and it lasted longer the second time."
Realizing his guitarist had moved from his usual spot, the singer recalled, "I was actually kind of getting aggravated, 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.' And when I turned to look my guitar player had run behind me and was telling me to move, to 'let’s go,' and my security guy was running on stage telling me to run."
Hectic scrambling then led to what Aldean described as panic and pandemonium. But fully processing the tragedy, which claimed 58 lives and injured more than 500, has taken much more time, he explained. Getting back onstage at the Country Rising benefit in Nashville this past weekend was, he noted, "therapeutic." Since the shootings, he has returned to visit some of the injured in
"There's so much focus on politics and race and all these other things that just… at the end of the day, we're all in this together. We spend so much time arguing with each other and not enough time working on the issue that's really the problem," he said.
Also featured in the above video are fellow artists Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum. Lady A singer Charles Kelley recalled reaching out to Aldean in the wake of the shooting. "We're texting Aldean and he's texting us back, telling us, 'It was the scariest moment. I hope you never have to go through it,'" Kelley said. "I've never told him I loved him ever before and that was the first thing: 'I love you, buddy, so much. So glad you're safe.'"