Aug. 5, 2009 — Playing bass is what took Alex Stevens to Canada last weekend as a member of Billy Currington's road band. It might also be what saved Alex's life.
The gust from a major storm demolished the stage over the weekend at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta, killing one fan and injuring more than 75 people, including Alex, who was trying to leave the stage with his bass slung over his shoulder when the wind attacked.
"For me," he told The Edmonton Journal via e-mail, "it was like being blindsided by a bus. I was halfway down the stairs off the back of the stage, when a whole section of seating and scaffolding slammed into me from my right side. I was pinned underneath it and unable to move."
The bass was wedged between his body and the debris, and it might have saved him from being disabled or even losing his life.
"I'm convinced that, if I hadn't been wearing my20bass, my pelvis or back would've been crushed or broken," he said.
As it was, Alex required surgery for a severed artery in his left arm. Two fingers and the thumb on that hand remain numb, and his entire body was still sore Tuesday after being stuck in a kneeling position in the rubble for about 30 minutes before he was rescued by a forklift.
Alex intends to play again, though he certainly won't be on a stage this week. Billy, who was hospitalized briefly with a concussion and posted pictures on the Internet of the black eye he suffered in the disaster, cancelled at least three concerts in the storm's aftermath. Keith Anderson is replacing him at the Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday, according to The Wisconsin Journal, in a concert that also features Jason Michael Carroll. Blake Shelton will step in Thursday, Missouri TV station KFVS reported, to take Billy's slot at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.
Promoters were in the midst of bringing the concert to an early conclusion Saturday when the storm hit. Fabric ads at the front of the stage were dropped to prevent them from acting as sails when the winds reached the outdoors venue. Two members of the concert production team went on stage and told Billy and his band to leave the platform as soon as possible, The Calgary Herald reported. The winds hit before everyone — including Billy and the promoters — could split. One fan was killed when a speaker toppled on her.
Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West, were set to follow Billy and were on stage when the accident occurred. Kevin was unhurt, according to the Associated Press, though two of his crew members were briefly hospitalized with cuts and bruises.
Kevin has already offered to contribute to future efforts as the Camrose community grapples with the disaster.
"We hope to return to Alberta in the future to help with the healing," he said in a statement.
In addition to the Wisconsin and Missouri dates, Billy also scrapped a show at the Phoenix Center in Pontiac, Mich., according to the venue's website.