American country singer Eric Church was performing at the same Vegas festival where gunman Stephen Paddock shot at the crowd of 22,000 concertgoers last week on Sunday, Oct. 1.
The singer was one of the headliners for the 3-day Route 91 Harvest Festival, performing his set on Friday night.
But in a new performance, Church debuted his song “Why Not Me” to Sonny Melton, a Tennessee man who died shielding his wife from the bullets, according to Rolling Stone.
Church performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Wednesday, Oct. 4., speaking out about Sunday’s Las Vegas massacre.
During the festival, Church recalled jumping into the audience to greet his fans on Friday.
“I shook everybody’s hand and I thanked them for coming,” he said onstage at the Opry. “I came back up the left side, saw smiling faces, hands in the air and pictures being taken … 48 hours later, those places where I stood was carnage.”
“Those are my people. Those are my fans,” Church went on to say, visually tearing up and admitting he didn’t want to perform at the Opry or even play guitar anymore.
But his thoughts changed after he saw an interview with Melton’s wife, Heather talking about how her husband was a fan of Church. Because of that, he was inspired to write “Why Not Me.”
Just before he performed the new song, Church pointed out two empty seats in the Opry where the Meltons were supposed to be sitting Wednesday night—they had purchased tickets to the performance, according to Rolling Stone.
“The reason I’m here tonight is because of Heather Melton, and her husband Sonny who died, and every person that was there. And I’ll tell you, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the hair, with boots in the air, and that moment in time was frozen,” Church said, “and there is no amount of bullets that can take that away.”
The youtube video of Church’s debut song has gone viral, garnering over 3 million views as of Oct. 6, and over 14,000 likes.
Comments under it offered their support to Church and the Vegas victims.
“Love the song and the heartfelt words. Couldn’t help but cry,” one user wrote. “God bless everyone effected by the attack and my sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones to this terrible incident.”
“God bless you, Eric! God bless you all in Vegas, and in the USA and in the whole world. Keep the faith, be strong and take care of others. Love is all that matter! <3 I believe in God, I believe in love” another wrote.
The full performance can be seen below.