Country music standout Eric Church performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on September 29th, just two days before gunman Stephen Paddock killed 59 concertgoers and injured more than 500 on Sunday night. Obviously this senseless tragedy weighed heavily on the North Carolina native as he took to the Grand Ole Opry stage on Wednesday night.
“I watched them hold American flags up during ‘How ‘Bout You.’ I watch them put an American scarf around my neck during ‘Springsteen.’ They held records up when I played ‘Record Year.’ They held boots up when I played ‘These Boots,’” Church recalled about his connection with the Las Vegas crowd. “I was so moved by it, mainly because I looked at them and went, ‘This is my crowd. I’ve seen this crowd all year. They’re mine.”
“And 48 hours later, those places that I stood, was carnage,” an emotional Church added. “And those were my people. My fans.”
The star also told the gut-wrenching story of 29-year-old Sonny Melton, who was killed while protecting his wife, Heather, during the mass shooting. The pair were celebrating their wedding anniversary and went to the festival specifically to watch Eric perform. The couple had also planned to attend Eric’s Opry performance. Last night, their seats were left empty.
“The reason I’m here, the reason I’m here tonight, is because of Heather Melton. Her husband, Sonny, who died. And every person that was there,” the star shared. “Because let me tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them. I saw them with boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time, was frozen. There’s no amount of bullets that can take it away. None.”
“That night, something broke in me, on Sunday when that happened. And the only way I’ve ever fixed anything that’s been broken in me is with music. So I wrote a song.”
Eric then debuted his brand new song called “Why Not Me” in honor of Sonny and the Las Vegas victims. The tune was immediately followed by a stirring cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Listen to the country star’s tear-jerking speech and emotional performances below.
Goodness. This just hits you in the heart. Share Eric’s moving comments and performance with other country music fans.