Tragically, the pair revealed a fan they met prior to their performance was killed when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the festival crowd of more than 22,000 from his 32nd-floor hotel room at the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. "I was looking down at the festival the whole day".
Just one hour after the group's performance, suspected gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the music festival crowd from the 32nd floor window of his hotel room at the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 others. "That's just Americans singing about America and loving their country and loving the right that they get to stand out there and listen to music and just be Americans, you know?" "It would not happen", Rich said.
The country singer recounted how he met one of the Las Vegas massacre victims backstage just an hour before he was shot and killed that night - Sonny Melton, a registered nurse from Tennessee who died while shielding his wife from the gunfire.
In his statements, Big Kenny is adamant that he won't let fear lead following the mass shooting: "Fear will not overtake us", he says.
"We played the show about 90 minutes before Jason Aldean", Rich tells USA news show Extra, "We had actually gone to a bar I own in Las Vegas to play a little after-show, and they tapped us on the shoulder and said there were active shooters at the 91 festival". "You talk about horrifying, I do not know what compares to that".
In an interview with FOX News, John Rich of Big & Rich shared his experience from the night, highlighting a lone off duty officer who protected him and patrons of his Redneck Riviera bar. When the officer asked him if he could use his gun to guard the bar's door, Rich handed the weapon over as they waited.
On the contrary. I've come to think of country music as a stenography of our ongoing American story, told in a handsome, compelling and creative way. "We can't go on that stage with fear in our hearts, and we won't". "We can all enjoy that song or that concert together, and we stop arguing about everything". "And we will continue to walk in God's light the best we can". In an incredibly moving moment, the crowd of some 20,000 people swayed and joined voices to sing "God Bless America".