Eric Church pays tribute to TN man killed in Las Vegas shooting - WSMV News 4

Eric Church pays tribute to TN man killed in Las Vegas shooting

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Eric Church talked about the tragedy in Las Vegas at the Grand Ole Opry. (Source: Grand Ole Opry / Twitter) Eric Church talked about the tragedy in Las Vegas at the Grand Ole Opry. (Source: Grand Ole Opry / Twitter)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Country music star Eric Church talked about the mass shooting in Las Vegas during his time on the Grand Ole Opry stage on Wednesday night.

Church was the headliner at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on Friday night. He said many of the concertgoers were fans of his, calling them "my people."

Jason Aldean had just taken the stage Sunday when gunshots rang out, killing over 50 people and injuring more than 500 others.

West Tennessee nurse Sonny Melton was killed while trying to protect his wife.

The couple was in Las Vegas celebrating their anniversary and had planned to see Church at the Grand Ole Opry.

During his set Wednesday, Church said there were two seats in the auditorium reserved for them.

The singer said he originally did not want to come play the Opry after the tragedy, but he was inspired by the Meltons to perform.

"The reason I'm here tonight is because of Heather Melton, because of Sonny, who died, and every person that was there," Church said.

Below is a transcript of what Church said to the Opry crowd on Wednesday night.

This past Friday, I played the Harvest music festival in Vegas, and I was a headliner, and I looked out there, at that crowd, in that place. It was our last show of the year.

I watched them hold American flags up during "How 'Bout You."

I watched them put an American scarf around my neck during "Springsteen."

They held records up when I played 'Record Year.'

They held boots up when I played 'These Boots.'

And I was so moved by that, mainly because I looked at them and went, this is my crowd. I've seen this crowd all year. They're mine.

They came from all over the country because it was our last show.

I did something different on the last song, on 'Springsteen.'

I jumped down on the speaker, and I went down, actually, on the floor. It was a high stage, so I actually jumped out on the crowd. 

It was a real row that split the crowd ... and it split the crowd on either side. The crowd was on the right side, the crowd was on the left side.

I went down the right side, and I shook everybody's hand, and I told them thank you for coming. It's been a heckuva year, a helluva year, actually.

I went all the way down the right side, waved ... came up the left side, smiling faces, hands up in the air, pictures being taken.

I jumped back up on stage, and I played 'Holdin' My Own' and 'A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.'

And 48 hours later, those places that I stood was carnage.

And those were my people. Those were my fans.

I didn't want to be here tonight, and I didn't want to play guitar. I didn't want to walk on this stage, but last night ... Let me try to get this out.

Last night, somebody sent me a video of a lady named Heather Melton, and she was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN, and she had on our Church choir tour shirt.

And he said, what brought you to Vegas? And she goes, we went there to see Eric Church because he was Sonny's - her husband who died - it was his guy and we went there to see his guy.

And then she said, 'We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow.'

Over here, section 3, row F, if you're there in row F, there's some empty seats and that's their seats.

The reason I'm here tonight is because of Heather Melton, because of Sonny, who died, and 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 that away. Nothing.

And that night, something broke in me ... on Sunday, when that happened.

And the only way I've ever fixed anything that's been broken in me is with music. So, I wrote a song.

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