Chris Stapleton delivered one of the most powerful live performances of the 2022 ACM Awards when he sang his ferocious song of revenge “Watch You Burn.” Stapleton wrote the track, off his 2020 album Starting Over, as an open letter to the gunman who killed 60 country music fans at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas. On Monday night, Stapleton sang the song onstage at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas — a short distance from the site of the massacre.
That proximity made the performance all the more powerful, as Stapleton, backed by the 16-member All Voices Choir, roared through his indictment. “Only a coward would pick up a gun/and shoot up a crowd trying to have fun,” he sang in the opening verse, before offering his explosive prediction: “Oh, you’re gonna get your turn/devil gonna watch you burn.”
Stapleton was nominated for five awards at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards, including the top prize of Entertainer of the Year. This marks the ACMs’ first time in Las Vegas since the start of the pandemic, when they were forced to relocate to Nashville for a hybrid live and pre-taped show.
The Route 91 shooting remains the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. This October marks the five-year year anniversary of the tragedy.