Sugarland ‘Celebrate Healing’ With Indianapolis Show
Sugarland returned to Indianapolis on Friday (Oct. 28) to perform a free concert in honor of those affected by the tragic stage collapse that occurred at the duo's show in that city last August. Joined by movie star Rita Wilson and singer-songwriter Corey Cox for the evening, Sugarland's Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles used the night to pay tribute to the seven whose lives were lost, along with the fans who were injured, and those who continue to mourn the fateful night.
"We are here in October -- we were supposed to do this show in August. Obviously, the stage is different, you are different and we are different," an emotional Jennifer said from stage (quote via USA Today). "We are all changed by what happened then. But we are going to try to give you the best show that we can and to celebrate healing with you and to celebrate life and music with you here tonight."
Some fans drove for several hours to join the tribute. "I can't speak for people who were affected directly [at the fair]," shared concertgoer Jeff Keen, who was in the grandstands when the accident occurred (quote via the Indianapolis Star). "I can't imagine that any single concert is going to help heal or make things better. But it kind of closes that circle."
Corey Cox, who calls Indianapolis home, wore a pink bracelet to honor fellow resident Andrea Vellinga, who remains hospitalized following the injuries she sustained when the stage collapsed.
"Andrea's favorite color is pink," he explained. "To come back to Pendleton and see thousands of pink ribbons on signs and trees and mailboxes was pretty overwhelming ... We're going to pay tribute and recognize those who lost their lives, but we're also going to celebrate the healing of others who are in that process."
Jennifer and Kristian, who changed the word on their famous concert flag from "love" to "heal" for this performance, shared their thoughts on their website after the show, with Kristian writing: "Indianapolis, we were so happy to be here with you this evening, and happy that you were here with us -- as Jennifer said -- for everything that meant tonight. It was an emotional show, as well as a celebratory show, celebrating life, and music, and healing. Thank you to our special guests, Rita Wilson and Corey Cox ... and thank YOU for being a part of it.
"Thank you for bringing signs of support for your loved ones and your fellow fans; thank you for the Little Miss Project Live, the posters tonight connected by red string; thank you for the giant LOVE flag the Sugarpit lifted for us. And most of all, thank you for singing and dancing and raising your voices to the heavens. We know that they were heard."
Sugarland will hit the stage next week, when they perform at the CMA Awards, where they are nominated for Vocal Duo. They will also head to Oslo, Norway in December, to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.
The 45th Annual CMA Awards will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.