Country music star Jason Aldean and SiriusXM’s “The Highway” host Storme Warren spent the night of Oct. 1, 2017 like they had done so many times before — Jason onstage performing for a crowd of thousands and Storme standing in the wings watching the magic happen. But as fate would have it, the night would take a tragic turn when a coward perched up on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel began shooting, ultimately killing 58 people and leaving hundreds of others left to deal with both their physical and emotional injuries.
Almost exactly four months later, Storme and Jason were together again, sharing their memories of the tragic night during an emotional interview on “The Highway.”
“I heard some crackling in my ear monitors and I didn’t know what it was,” Jason recalled. “I didn’t know what it was. I just thought it was a speaker or a guitar amp. I heard it a second time and I was almost getting annoyed. I couldn’t sing over it and someone needed to fix it. That’s when I saw my security guard running onstage, and he is never onstage. If he is onstage, something is wrong. He was telling me to get down and move. It was just unbelievable.”
Hours later, Jason would be reunited with his band, who had scattered in the confusion.
“I got a little emotional when I got back to my band because when we were coming off stage in between rounds of shooting, we all tried to get one the bus and get somewhere away from it, but we kind of got split up. When that happened, it was hours, and hours and hours after that we all eventually made it to a meeting place and the crew was back together for the first time. We were all onstage together when it went down. So that was the most emotional thing for us for sure — just seeing everybody. It was like getting hit in the face with a baseball bat. You just couldn’t believe what had just happened.”
A week later, Jason appeared in a somber opening performance on “Saturday Night Live,” a move that had its share of critics. “There was some mixed reviews,” Jason recalled. “There was some people thought I shouldn’t have done that, but I felt that it gave me an avenue to get my message out there.”
Throughout the interview, cracks in the voices of both of these otherwise strong men hint at the fact that their own individual healing from that night continues. Yet, as any strong man does, they find a way to persevere, move on and find light at the end of the darkest tunnels.
And that’s exactly what Jason has chosen to do.
“It was probably the worst thing I have ever experience in my life and something I will never forget,” he said. “There is a lot of bad in the world, but for every bad in the world there is a million times more good.”