Jason Aldean Recounts Onstage Confusion During Route 91 Shooting on ‘Today’
In a new interview, Jason Aldean speaks out on camera for the first time about the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, Nev. The full interview is airing on Today on Tuesday (Nov. 14), but in an early-released clip, the country star recounts the confusion he and his crew were feeling onstage during the early moments of the tragedy.
“We wear in-ear monitors when we’re onstage. And really, all you can hear is the music and maybe your guys that can talk to you on microphones that are on side-stage," Aldean shares. "So when it first happened, I thought a speaker had blown, is what I thought; it just sounded like a crackling something. And so, I’m kind of looking around like, ‘What is that?’, trying to figure out what it is. Then it stopped, so I was like, ‘They must have got it fixed,’ and so I kept doing my thing.”
When the noise started again, and for a longer period of time, Aldean recalls "actually kind of getting aggravated," because he still thought it was an audio issue. He turned his head to look for the person in charge of his monitors, hoping to get him to fix the problem, and that's when he realized something was seriously wrong.
"When I turned and looked, my guitar player had run behind me and was telling me to move, like, ‘Let’s go,'" Aldean remembers, "and my security guy was running onstage, telling me to run.”
Aldean canceled three tour dates -- scheduled for Oct. 6, 7 and 8 -- following the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, “out of respect for the victims, their families and our fans.” On the 7th, he made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live, to open the show with a cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down;" Aldean, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and Little Big Town also performed "I Won't Back Down" during the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony.
"Honestly, being back onstage probably helped us more than anything," Aldean admits. He adds, "I feel like, at the end of the day, there's so much focus on politics and race and all these other things ... We spend so much time arguing with each other and not enough time working on the issue; that's really the problem."
On Oct. 8, Aldean and his wife Brittany -- who was also at the Route 91 Harvest Festival during the shooting -- returned to Las Vegas, Nev., to visit with some of the victims of the tragedy. Aldean resumed his tour on Oct. 12, in Tulsa, Okla.
Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims