Country duo Sugarland delivered a rousing show Friday night for a packed house of fans — some of whom were injured in a deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August — and singer Jennifer Nettles told the crowd the tragedy had changed them all.
Nettles opened the 2 1/2-hour show at a packed Conesco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis by telling audience members they were in store for an emotional night that would also be part celebration. She also told fans that Sugarland had visited the fairgrounds, where high winds toppled scaffolding and stage rigging on Aug. 13 into a crowd awaiting a performance by the country duo. Seven people were killed.
“Obviously 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. We are all changed by what happened then,” she said. “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.”
Sugarland’s free concert came 10 weeks after the stage collapsed as a storm neared the fairgrounds’ Grandstand a few miles north of Friday night’s venue. Attendees were asked to donate to a victim relief fund that already has raised nearly $1 million.
Indianapolis resident Sue Humphrey, whose 17-year-old son, Brad, was left partially paralyzed when he was struck by falling stage rigging that night, attended Friday’s concert with her son, who only decided Friday afternoon that he wanted to go.
Humphrey said Brad was unsure if the concert would be too emotional for him, but she said it was herself, and not her son, who got choked up at one point during the show as her mind cast back to August’s tragedy.