Jason Aldean Talks Baseball and Returning to Las Vegas After the 2017 Mass Shooting

Jason Aldean says he never got closure after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, but he's gearing up to return to the city for its fans.EXPAND
Jason Aldean says he never got closure after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, but he's gearing up to return to the city for its fans.
Joseph Llanes
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Globe Life Park is closing to make room for Globe Life Field, and in the former’s entire 25-year history, there have only ever been three full concerts booked at the stadium. Back in June, Paul McCartney became the first artist to ever play a full performance at the venue, and on Oct. 12, Billy Joel will be the last.

The only other formal concert to ever be booked at Globe Life Park will be happening the day before Joel bids the venue bon voyage, and toward the end of his Ride All Night Tour, country music juggernaut Jason Aldean will have the distinct honor of headlining that affair.

This tour will also mark Aldean’s return to Las Vegas for the first time since the 2017 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival (the gunman started firing rounds from the Mandalay Bay into the crowd as Aldean was playing a headlining set). These killings traumatized a nation already accustomed to tragedy, so one can only imagine how Aldean feels in confronting such horrors.

Suffice to say, the multiplatinum country singer is at quite a pivot in his career, and while that is partially attributed to dreadful circumstances, a rare appearance at one of the MLB’s most respected institutions is a refreshing tonic in trying times. In anticipation of what is almost guaranteed to be a memorable DFW tour stop, we spoke with Aldean via phone on his day off and touched upon all these points and more.

[The following interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.]

Man, what’s going on in your world?
Not much, man. Just getting ready to wrap up our tour. We have the [show at Globe Life Park] and then we do three nights in Vegas, and that’s kind of it. This is the last real run of the tour.

You have an entire week off right before the Dallas show. You just cooling off?
Yeah, man. Typically I’m done in October. We’ll play through September, then I’m kind of done for the year. This year, we had a chance to go into Arlington and do that show, and I jumped at that chance. And then the Vegas thing kind of came together toward the end, too, so that was kind of a special [occasion]. We haven’t been to Vegas since [the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting] happened. Felt like it was a good time to go in and do a couple shows there.

And just a lot of downtime, man. Hanging out with the family and recharging the batteries a little bit. It’s hunting season, so I do a lot of deer hunting [this] time of year.

Given what happened a couple years ago, do you think playing Vegas will give you any closure?
I don’t know if you ever really get closure on it so much. It’s just tricky, man. I never wanted to feel like we would be going in there to play a show and capitalize on what happened. It’s just kind of a weird feeling for me. How do you treat this the right way?

I feel like now, enough time has passed, and I feel like we owe it to the people of Las Vegas to go back and do some of those shows. If they want to come out, and if it helps them get closure on some things, cool. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a great thing for me and my band and crew, and also the fans there in Vegas.

I have noticed that after that whole thing happened, you’ve been kind of thrust into the gun control debate. It didn’t seem like you asked for that.
I feel like when it comes to those kind of things, it’s kind of a lose-lose situation. Whether you’re for it or against it or whatever. Everybody’s got their own agenda when it comes to the whole gun control thing. So I, for the most part, tried to steer clear of getting into the conversation, and people think I should be obligated to stand up and voice my opinion, and man, I’m really not.

With politics, no matter what you say, it’s going to be wrong. So, you know, I have my feelings about it, but it’s not something I choose to go out and make super vocal like a lot of people do. In the grander scheme of things, I don’t really think my opinion is going to change the outcome of something either way. I don’t think I’m that important.

On a much lighter note, I feel like I should let you know that I went to a Christian high school from 2008 to 2012, and they played “Big Green Tractor” at every homecoming, prom and Sadie Hawkins dance. You helped a lot of sheltered, hormonal kids slow-dance, so I just wanted to say thank you.
[Laughs] Well, I appreciate it, man. Glad I could help.

Would you also describe your high school years as sheltered and hormonal, or was it different?
Man, I had a great time in high school. I played sports and went to a smaller school. I had some really cool friends that I still keep in touch with. My high school years were fun, probably because I didn’t take it too seriously [laughs].

Speaking of sports, you’re playing Globe Life Park on Oct. 11. You don’t seem to be doing many tour stops at baseball stadiums, and baseball was a huge part of your life growing up, so this is a bit of a special occasion, no?
Yeah, it is.

It’s a lot to go and play one of those, from a financial standpoint. A lot of times, you try to pair up with someone else that’s going in there. I think on this one in particular, it’s Billy Joel.

Yeah, he’s playing the day after.
Right, so we can kind of team up with those guys and sort of share some of the cost. It helps us out. But I prefer playing baseball stadiums, just because I’m such a huge baseball fan. A couple of the other ones I wanted to mark off were Wrigley and Fenway, and those were the first two that we did.

It just kind of snowballed from there. We had a chance to go out and do all these other ones.

It’s pretty fascinating too, because with you and Billy Joel included, there has only ever been three formal concerts scheduled at the stadium, and the first one was Paul McCartney. You’re kind of making history there.
I love it, man. I remember when they built that stadium. To me, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago [author’s note: Globe Life Park opened in 1994], but I guess it’s been a while. When they built that stadium, it was state-of-the-art at the time. It was one of the newer stadiums in the league, and I just remember how cool it was seeing that thing for the first time.

And Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington [have] always been a huge market for us. Going back to the days of playing Cowboys Red River, Billy Bob’s…

And Gilley’s.
Gilley’s, all that stuff, man. From the early days, I’ve been kind of building up to playing American Airlines [Center] and that amphitheater there [author’s note: I think he’s talking about Dos Equis Pavilion]. We’ve done shows with, I think [George] Strait and maybe even [Kenny] Chesney at that new Cowboys stadium.

It’s been great, man. Always a great market, and one of our favorite places to play, so I’m glad we get to put the exclamation point on the end of the tour by going there and doing that show.

Jason Aldean plays Globe Life Park with Kane Brown, Carly Pearce and Dee Jay Silver on Friday, Oct. 11.

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