NASHVILLE — Jason Aldean remembers confusion then pandemonium in the early seconds of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people.
Aldean, who was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival when the shooting started, told NBC's Today that because he was wearing in-ear monitors, that for the most part all he could hear was music or his guys talking to him.
“When it first happened, I thought a speaker had blown,” said Aldean on Tuesday. “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.”
When the noise stopped, Aldean thought the issue had been fixed, but when the noise started again and lasted longer than it did the first time, he said he was “kind of getting aggravated.”
“I looked over at my monitor guy on the side of the stage as if to say, ‘What is that? And, fix it,’ ” Aldean told Today. “When I turned to look, my guitar player had run behind me and was telling me to move, let’s go, and my security guy was running on stage telling me to run.”
Aldean described the scene as hectic and said everyone was scrambling and “you just didn’t know what was going on.”
“Panic was probably the best way I could describe it,” he said. “Everybody was panicked and didn’t know where to go or what to do.”
After the attack, Aldean flew home to see his daughters then traveled to New York City to honor the victims on Saturday Night Live and then flew back to Las Vegas to play for victims still in the hospital. He resumed his tour in the days after and said getting back on stage probably helped his team more than anything.
“We spend so much time arguing with each other and not enough time working on the issue, that’s the problem,” Aldean said. “I just want everybody to know, for me, obviously we’re all going to try and move on and I have to do that as well, but it’s something I’ll never forget. I hope everyone can start to heal, but some of this stuff, you never get over. I hope it gets better for everybody as time goes on."
Aldean was among the artists on Country Rising, an all-star benefit concert for hurricane victims and victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The line-up also included George Strait, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Lady Antebellum. The show raised more than $4 million.
Follow Cindy Watts on Twitter: @CindyNWatts