Country music duo Sugarland delivered an emotional and energy-packed 90-minute free performance Friday night at Conseco Fieldhouse to an estimated crowd of over 18,000 people. It was the concert that never happened in August.
The staging was simple - no "Incredible Machine," just a simple backdrop. The audience was full of fans holding white signs that read "We will Heal," "Faith," "Love" and "We Will Never Forget".
Singer Jennifer Nettles and instrumentalist Kristian Bush, both dressed all in black, opened the show by telling fans that the performance was going to be an emotional one.
"We went earlier today out to the fairgrounds, which was the first time that we have been to the site since August, and I can acknowledge that it might be an emotional show tonight, but it will also be a celebratory show," Nettles said.
"We are so happy to be here tonight and we are so happy you are here tonight for everything that means".
"Obviously we are here in October. We were suppose to do the show in August. The stage is different, you are different and we are different. We all have been changed by what happened, but we are going to try to give you the best show that we can and to celebrate healing, life and music".
The most emotional part of the show came during the encore, when Nettles walked out on stage and spray-painted HEAL on a white flag. She then gave it to a young girl in the audience, who walked up and down the isles waving the flag while Nettles sang "it will be all right again, I'm okay," from the track "Little Miss."
Corey Cox of Pendleton, Ind. and actress Rita Wilson performed before Sugarland took to the stage. Cox opened with "This Will Take You Back" and dedicated it to "all those small towns across the country that prayed and supported Indiana." Cox had "For the Love of Andrea" printed in pink on his guitar strap, in honor of a friend from his hometown who was injured during the stage collapse.
The show ended on a light-hearted note, with Nettles and the audience singing the feel-good 80s hit "Come on Eileen" by British pop group the Dexys Midnight Runners.