Collapse victim hopes return concert can help heal

Doug Underwood helped injured victims at the State Fair stage collapse.

INDIANAPOLIS - The events of the State Fair stage collapse changed many lives and now the band Sugarland hopes its return to the city will help with the healing process.

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush will perform a free concert at Conseco Fieldhouse October 28. They never did perform at the State Fair, because the stage rigging collapsed before the show, killing seven people and injuring 40 others. Those who witnessed the tragedy say the upcoming concert will be very emotional.

There is now silence at the state fairgrounds. The stands are empty and the air is more peaceful. It's a stark contrast from the chaos two months ago when, instead of music, Sugarland fans experienced the unthinkable.

Doug Underwood was there that night. He still has the ticket, still has the image, as he rushed to help the injured.

"Nobody expected that stage to fall over," Underwood said. "I always have that image in my head."

Underwood helped to rescue people, even though he had every reason not to. He'd lost his leg in an accident at work two years earlier.

"There was a woman holding out the fence so I could squeeze through and get down," Underwood explained.

Now, like everyone in those grandstands, Underwood just learned Sugarland is coming back to Indiana. The concert will honor the victims of the stage collapse.

"I think it's great that they're coming back," Underwood said. "It would help people, so I think it would be really good."

While the concert venue may be different, for some, the emotions are not. When they think of Sugarland and that experience, it's still the scene at the Fairgrounds they carry with them.

"It would be hard to look at that same stage setup, even though it's at a different venue and remember what happened that night," Underwood said. "It was bad."

Doug says he wants to go to the Conseco concert, but has mixed emotions of how he'll handle it. The memories come back too easily, but he also believes this could help people heal. It's a chance to experience the band as they were supposed to that night and pull together for those still in pain.

"I hope they put on a good show for the people and, if they could, help out the victims more," he said.