Grand Ole Opry / YouTube
Eric Church became overwhelmed with emotion honoring the victims of the devastating mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas this past Sunday (Oct. 1) which took the lives of at least 58 people and left over 500 injured.
The “Record Year” singer took the stage of the Grand Ole Opry Wednesday night (Oct. 4), opening up about the shooting that took place only two days after he headlined the festival Friday night (Sept. 29).
“This past Friday, I played the Harvest music festival in Vegas … 48 hours later, those places that I stood, it was carnage,” Church told the crowd of the Grand Ole Opry. “Those were my people. Those were my fans.”
Church, 40, was overcome with emotion recalling the electricity exchanged between him and his fans that night, the singer pausing momentarily to collect himself before continuing on.
“Every person that was there, let me tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time that was frozen, there’s no amount of bullets that could take [it] away,” Church continued.
Following his emotionally-charged speech, Church paid tribute to the lives gone too soon with a powerful performance of Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah.” In addition, the country singer mentioned two victims in particular, Tennessee residents Heather and Sonny Melton. Sonny died Sunday night saving his wife’s life.
Church went on to explain he didn’t want to perform but felt compelled to after watching Heather interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN, later revealing he wrote a song for her.
“She goes, ‘We went there to see Eric Chruch because he was Sonny’s…it was his guy. We went there to see his guy. Then she said, ‘We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night’,” he said emotionally.
The singer commented on the two empty seats in the audience as the sole reason for him performing that night, to honor “his guy.”
You can watch the powerful video below.