Eric Church Dedicates Opry Performance to Las Vegas Victim Sonny Melton

When words aren’t enough, Eric Church heals his emotional wounds with the power of music.

As scheduled many weeks in advance, Church was set to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Wednesday night (10/4). He was one of the headliners at the Route 91 Harvest Festival and the country singer almost backed out of his spot at the Opry due to the horrific circumstances that left 58 dead and more than 500 injured. But it was music that brought him enough strength to get him to the stage.

Church took a few minutes of the crowd’s time to talk about the Las Vegas incident and revealed how close to home it hit him knowing he performed to some of those same people just two days before. He remembered the boots and records lifted high to the sky during his set and admitted nothing could make him forget playing to an audience like that, especially as his last show of the year.

Although Church admitted he had no interest in performing after hearing the news, it was a video of Heather Melton, who lost her husband Sonny in the attack, that gave Church the gumption to step up on stage and represent the ones who didn’t make it for country music’s sake.

“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 ‘cause he was Sonny’s—her husband who died—it was his guy and we went there to see his guy,’” Church recounted with tears in his eyes.

Church went on to say that the tragedy would never take away the precious memories he shared with the Route 91 Harvest Festival crowd and he would never forget the energy he felt radiating from their spirits.

“The reason I’m here tonight is because Heather Melton, her husband Sonny who died and every person that was there because let me tell you something: I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw the boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time, is frozen and there’s no amount of bullets that can take away,” he passionately told the Opry audience.

Before solemnly singing the words to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and a new song he wrote for the Meltons, Church pointed out the chairs that would’ve been occupied by the couple, who had tickets to the Opry show. He later claimed that music saved him throughout every bad memory in his life and this incident was no exception.

“That night something broke in me…on Sunday night when that happened. And the only way I ever fixed anything that’s been broken in me is with music,” he said, with sadness in his voice and tears in his eyes.