Big Kenny, who with John Rich wrote their first album together in Deadwood, had performed in the closing hours of the three-day country music festival, about 90 minutes before headliner Jason Aldean took the stage. 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 USA history. "And that night in Las Vegas, it seemed like - I mean, you've seen the pictures - it looked like literally every single hand out there had their light up over the heads singing at the top of their lungs".
Rich told Fox News on Monday, "I had a Minneapolis police officer off-duty hanging out".
After the ordeal had passed and he was able to wrap his head around what had happened, Rich reached out on Twitter to help track down the stranger who'd been so vigilant and courageous.
"You actually need to pray", Rich said, in reflecting on the massacre. Glad he did, he said, 'They just threw me in the back of a pick up and we're racing down the road getting everyone out of here.' Found out his son, 6-months-old son, and nanny were sleeping in the room next door to the shooter on the 32nd floor. 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. "The country music world is just one big family". "I said, 'Yes sir, I am". "We can't go on that stage with fear in our hearts, and we won't".
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"I think we all know that without men and women who are willing to fight for our freedoms in this country, we don't get to assemble like this and have insane country music concerts in the middle of Las Vegas, Nevada". "And we will continue to walk in God's light the best we can".
The emotional video is an example of American unity, as Big & Rich put it.
"We were told this was going down and we pulled everybody into a room, and the texts started flying, immediate news of an active shooter", he said.