Luke Bryan is revealing how the horrific mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas earlier this month has changed his perception on life, while also opening up about how “proud” he is of close friend Jason Aldean who was performing on stage as the shots rang out on October 1.
Luke, who was being honored alongside Jason at CMT’s Artists of the Year ceremony on October 18, opened up about how he’s changed his life in the wake of the shooting while calling the horror a real “eye-opener” for him going forward.
“It’s been an eye-opening experience for, heck, the world, and music and country music,” Luke told Entertainment Tonight at the country music ceremony this week, adding that the shooting has “put a whole new level of perspective on everything going forward.”
Adding that he knows it could have been him or any one of his peers who were performing at the Las Vegas country music festival on October 1, Luke called what happened that night a “nightmare.”
Notably, Luke was headlining the three day Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas just one year prior to the horror that broke out earlier this month. He performed in 2016 alongside fellow country superstars Brad Paisley and Toby Keith.
“It’s a nightmare that nobody should have had to face,” the “Drunk On You” singer continued, before heaping praise on his friend Jason Aldean for how he’s handled the tragedy over the past few weeks.
“[Jason] has responded with dignity, care, respect, and in some ways, defiance,” Bryan said of the star, who was on stage performing when the shots rang out. “We are all proud of him, especially me.”
Luke continued to gush over his fellow country music star and close friend in the new interview, admitting that Aldean had showed him a number of photos from the scene in Vegas that made it clear just how close he and his bandmates came to being shot after a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
“[Tonight] is the first time I’ve gotten to see some of his band members,” Bryan said of seeing Jason and his team at the CMT award show on October 18.
Bryan then admitted that after seeing his friends again in the wake of the deadliest mas shooting in modern U.S. history that he “hugs them a little longer now.”
Following the shooting, Luke tweeted out his sadness after hearing the news that broke just hours earlier. He told his millions of Twitter followers on October 2 that he and his family were all “heartbroken” by the news coming out of Vegas.
“Words can’t begin explain my sadness,” Bryan said in an emotional message on October 2, one day after at least 58 people were killed in Las Vegas while hundreds of others were left injured. “My family and I are praying for the victims of this tragedy. Truly heartbroken.”
Luke then shared the same message with his millions of followers on his Instagram page and added the hashtag #prayforlasvegas, which received more than 213,000 likes on the social media site.
As for what’s next for the country star, Luke will be releasing his new album, What Makes You Country, on December 9 and will also be joining Lionel Richie and Katy Perry as a judge on ABC’s revamped American Idol in 2018.
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT]