Love him or hate him, Jason Aldean has a BIG job ahead of him tonight as he resumes his tour schedule in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Imagine you’re the one on that stage. You have in-ear monitors shoved in tight, muffling every noise around except the voice of your sound technician and the low steady thump of your rhythm section. The light of a thousand suns in your eyes, and full trust in the band that backs you up, you start off your set, singing your heart out to the songs you’ve been playing night after night, town after town for countless shows, fully deaf and blind to everything around you until the lights go out and the music stops. That’s what being center stage in a major headlining show is like. That’s what being center stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival was like… until it wasn’t.
To cancel the tour entirely would put hundreds of support staff members out of work. It would also, in some people’s opinion, be considered caving in to fear. We can’t imagine the pressure and judgement Jason Aldean must be under. The livelihood of thousands of artists, stagehands, venue staff, tour promoters, sponsors, and countless others are really dependent on Jason’s ability to pull tonight’s Tulsa show off without a hitch. How is one guy (and the team behind him) supposed to fire up that mega-music-machine engine again after such a horrible tragedy without disrespecting those who were injured or killed? His career is going to be permanently stained by an event that was completely outside of his control, and industry insiders are expecting him to buck up and be a cheerleader so fans will feel safe buying concert and festival tickets again.
This is the question that is making the rounds in our office, and has surely made the rounds in countless Nashville board rooms. Do we show our strength? Our defiance? Our love, in the face of fear and hate? That’s a personal choice. But here at Country Music On Tour, we want to show our support for Jason Aldean and all of the other artists who now need a little longer to steel themselves and fight their fears before stepping out on stage. Country music is the telling of our life stories to the sound of a steel guitar. Some stories will rip our hearts out, but they still deserve to be told.