Today, my heart hurts.

Today, my heart hurts. My heart hurts for two reasons – my beloved music community has been attacked and one of my favorite artists of all time, the incredible Tom Petty, is gone.

As most of you know, concerts are my hobby and my passion. I love live music. My favorite thing in the whole world is to watch a live show. Small venues, arenas, festivals, musical theatre, dance, it doesn’t matter. I love them all. This morning my radio alarm woke me up to the news of the horrific mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. It literally jolted me out of bed because I knew that a few of my musician friends had been at the festival the day before. I checked social media first thing to see if they were okay. Thankfully, they were not there and were all safe.

As the day went on and I read more stories of what happened, I couldn’t shake the sadness. Two years ago, my friend and I attended that very festival and had an amazing time. It had two stages – the main stage with all the big name acts and then a smaller stage where you could get up close to the lesser known artists. I preferred that stage most of the weekend and got to see and meet some artists I am still big fans of today. We loved it so much, we had vowed to go back.

This year we tried to win the trip put on by the local radio station again. When we didn’t win, we talked about going anyway. We had that much fun last time. This morning, as I heard the news, I thought about those winners that did go and contacted the station. I was so happy to hear all the winners of the trip were safe and heading home. Throughout the day all I could think was “that could have been me.” That thought had me on the verge of tears several times today. I could have been there enjoying the music and the next engulfed in panic, pain and possibly death. The decision not to go could have saved my life.

My heart also hurts today because a true music legend will never perform again. I have five artists/bands who are on my list of all-time favorites. For some reason or another, those five I’ve connected with throughout my life.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is one of those five.

I never met him but his music means so much to me that this news affecting me greatly. I never know why I connect with an artist. It can be the voice, the lyrics, the melody or even just the way they carry themselves in a stage show. For some reason, I found a connection with that band. Maybe it was because they started in 1977 and I was born the same year. I didn’t find them until their reign in the late 1980’s – early 90’s but when I found them I never looked back.

I saw them live for the second time two days after my birthday this year. I turned 40 and they were celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band. Thanks to a great friend of mine we had seats just off the stage and it was amazing! You could tell he was a having a hard time walking, but he still put on one hell of a show. I remember thinking that was probably the last time I’d ever see him live. Over the last week, I have been on a Tom Petty music binge. I had no idea what was going to happen today, but something was telling me to listen to his music.

You see, music is my life, my therapy, my everything. If I’m sad, happy, bored, mad, whatever mood I’m in, I listen to music. So, when the music community is hit with tragedy, my heart hurts. Musicians and singers don’t do this for the money, they do it because they love it. Fans don’t go concerts because they have to. They do it because it’s a break from the stresses of life and a chance to have a good time.

I sit here crying as I write this. My heart hurts for those who lost their life today. I will pray for healing for the injured and for comfort for the families who now have to deal with the unthinkable. I will honor a man who made great music by continuing to let that music be the soundtrack of my life. What I won’t do is let a monster stop me from what I love to do. I will let music help heal my sadness, but today my heart hurts.

Author: Shannon Herrold

I'm a self-proclaimed music nerd from Oklahoma who enjoys all genres and can pretty much sing a snippet of any song you can think of. Being a mom of 2, a Zumba Instructor and a volunteer at my kids' school keeps me busy but I can never go to too many concerts. Live music is my passion and I love writing about those experiences.

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