While struggling to hold back tears, Eric Church honored the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, specifically two fans who came to see him perform. With a heavy heart, he debuted a song he wrote in tribute to ‘his people, his fans.’
“This past Friday, I played the Harvest Music Festival in Vegas,” Eric Church, 40, said while at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, according to Fox 8. During that Oct. 4 show, Eric paused to reflect on the horrific event that left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured. “I watched [the crowd] hold American flags up during ‘How Bout You.’ I watched them put an American scarf around my neck during ‘Springsteen.’ They held records up when I played ‘Record Year.’ They yelled ‘boots up’ when I played ‘These Boots.’ I was so moved by, mainly because, I looked at them and thought, ‘this is my crowd.’’
“Those were my people. Those were my fans,” Eric said, sounding like he was seconds away from breaking down. “I didn’t want to be here tonight. I didn’t want to play guitar. I didn’t want to walk on stage, but last night, someone sent me a video of a lady named Heather Melton and she was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN, and she had on our ‘Church Choir’ tour.” This fan said she was in Vegas during the shooting because her husband, Sonny Melton, wanted to see Eric. Sadly, Sonny was one of the innocent people slain in the rampage.
Eric, who was deeply moved by the love he felt from his fans and the pain of what happened to them, said that Sonny and Heather had tickets to see him at the Grand Ole Opry. He pointed out two empty spots in the crowd, saying that those “were their seats.” Saying that he was “broken” by what he saw, Eric said he’s only been able to fix “what’s broken in me” with music, and he played a song he wrote in Sonny and Heather’s honor, “Why Not Me.”
Eric was the headline for the first day of the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Though he wasn’t playing when Stephen Paddock, 64, began firing on the crowd, he still was in shock from the tragedy. Jason Aldean, 40, was on stage when the shooting started, and video showed him being rushed to safety. Though he was able to make it out of there alive, a source close to Jason EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife.com that, like Eric, he’s “struggling with his emotions and trying to come to terms with what happened.”
Our thoughts are with Heather Melton during her time of loss, and with all those affected by the shooting.