SAN JOSE (KPIX) — On Thursday, a Bay Area classic-rock band that was playing at the Gilroy Garlic Festival when shots suddenly rang out returned to the stage for the first time since the mass shooting.
“Driving over here, it hit me,” said Bill Weir. “I think we’re feeling like at any minute you expect something to happen; maybe you’re always going to be looking over your shoulder, looking at the treeline all the time.”
Weir, bass player and co-manager for The Tin Man, said he felt a mix of emotions before taking the stage at the San Jose Municipal Golf Course.
Less than three weeks ago, they had almost finished their set at the festival when a gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing three and wounding several others.
“He was singing and right after that boom, boom, boom, boom and I thought it was fireworks,” said Evelyn Carte.
She said she was in front of the stage that Sunday when she saw the crowd around her begin to run, including Weir and his bandmates who had crawled under the stage.
“So I just lay flat on the ground on the front of the stage,” she said.
But on this night, Carte was back in front of the stage to listen to The Tin Man play music again — this time, uninterrupted.
Dozens came out to support the band, including Sandy Ortiz.
“I think it’s pretty brave of them,” said Ortiz. “So we just said ‘OK everybody show up, everybody support!'”
Weir said the night wasn’t about them.
The tips they collected, he said, will go straight to the survivors through the Gilroy Foundation, as well as to families of the three young lives lost that day — Stephen Romero, Keyla Salazar and Trevor Irby.
Weir also said this performance may have been their first dedicated to the victims and survivors but it won’t be their last. They plan to hold a couple more concerts in their honor.
“Our music tonight is for you, for them, for those families and those victims,” Weir said.