Jason Aldean wasn’t sure what was happening when he heard the first gunshots go off during his concert at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last month.
“I thought a speaker had blown. It just sounded like a crackling something,” the country crooner recalled on Tuesday’s Today show during an interview with Sheinelle Jones. “Then it happened again. It lasted longer the second time, and so then I was actually kind of getting aggravated. So I looked over at my monitor guys that’s on the side of the stage as if to say ‘What is that?’ and ‘Fix it.'”
It wasn’t until he looked back at his band that Aldean realized that he was in danger. “And so when I turned to look, my guitar player had run behind me and was telling me to move, like ‘Let’s go!’ and my security guy was running on stage telling me to run,” he remembered.
The gunman who opened fire at Aldean’s concert killed 58 people and injured more than 500 before taking his own life. Everyone onstage managed to escape unharmed.
“Everybody just kind of panicked, and didn’t really know where to go, or what to do,” Aldean continued. “It was just kind of crazy, pandemonium.”
Not long after the horrific shooting, Aldean was back onstage performing on Saturday Night Live. He also resumed his tour shortly after the incident and went back to Las Vegas to visit with those that were injured at the concert.
“Honestly, being back on stage probably helped us more than anything, which is crazy,” Aldean noted.
It’s the 40-year-old singer’s hope that in light of such a tragedy that everyone can have more compassion. “I feel like at the end of the day there’s so much focus on, you know, politics, and race, and all these other things,” he explained. “At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We spend so much time arguing with each other, and not enough time like working on the issue that’s really the problem.”
Aldean — who helped raise $4 million on Sunday for victims of the massacre at the Country Rising Concert — added that it’s also his wish that the U.S. can “move on” from the tragedy. “I have to do that as well, but it’s something I’ll never forget. I just hope everybody can start to heal,” he said. “Some of this stuff you never get over, but I hope it gets better for everybody as time goes on.”
Just weeks after the shooting, ET spoke with Aldean’s friend and fellow country singer, Luke Bryan, about the tragedy. “It’s been an eye-opening experience for, heck, the world, and music and country music,” he said. “It puts a whole new level of perspective on everything going forward.”