However, that wasn’t enough to put any major dent in Aldean’s reputation. His relatability was what made him a star of his genre. Rolling Stone magazine summed up his appeal in a 2016 interview: “He is not perfect. Rather, he is everyman, the mirror image of his fans, striving for a better life but stumbling to get there.”
And such was Aldean’s popularity as a musician – in fact, he’s sold more digital records than any other male country singer – that, come 2017, he was asked to top the bill at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. The festival had been running every year since 2014, and thousands of people attended each time. In 2017, 22,000 people came to the event.
And just as Jason Aldean was delivering his headline performance, the shooting began. It was actually coming from the 32nd floor of the adjacent Mandalay Bay Hotel, but the concert-goers weren’t to know that. At first, some of them thought that the noises were fireworks. But instead, it was one of several high-capacity rifles, aimed at the crowd by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.