“We're here to honor the ones that we lost or were injured and we're gonna celebrate their lives with some music."
The 31 families affected and 230 rescue workers who were on site at the nation’s biggest mining disaster in four decades were offered free tickets to the show. 27 families who lost loved ones and the two whose family members survived met with Jackson before the show, including the family of Cory Davis who would have been 21 on Saturday. His family presented Jackson with a bracelet with David’s birthday on it, and Jackson wore it throughout the show.
During the show, Jackson’s long time pedal steel player Robbie Flint, originally from Sylvester, WV, played the haunting ballad “Coalwood” as the faces of the miners flashed on two large screens on either side of the stage. As each name and face appeared, cheers reverberated through the crowd. Jackson followed the heart-felt tribute with his post 9/11 anthem, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.
Profits from the benefit go to the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund, administrated by the West Virginia Council of Churches.