The best & worst moment at @LakeShakeFest @GrangerSmith singing Heaven Bound Balloons. We could see & feel the pain in all their eyes, but when G pulled out McQueen? Gut wrenching! We love you Granger! Thank you for being you. You’re stronger than you know. #LiveLikeRiv pic.twitter.com/UORnaSgEnR
— Laura Mathis (@MrsLauraM) June 24, 2019
Granger Smith's Sunday (June 24) set at Chicago's Country LakeShake Festival allowed the singer to commemorate the death of his 3-year-old son, River, with a heartbreaking rendition of "Heaven Bound Balloons."
The single was released in April and deals with sending messages to loved ones in Heaven and receiving comforting responses. Smith wrote the song with his late father in mind, but his fans in Chicago will likely associate it from now on with River's tragic passing following a drowning accident at home.
Towards the end of the song, Smith pulled a toy car of Disney's Lightning McQueen -- one of River's favorite characters -- out of his pocket and became so overcome by emotion that he briefly exited the stage.
"We are going to search for every bit of good that we can find in this situation -- the worst situation we've been through, hopefully ever," Smith said in a video message posted on June 19. "We're going to constantly search for ways that good can come out of this. That's my commitment to River's legacy."
Smith's recent return to the road with the whole family comes with one condition: no audience meet and greets for the time being.
"I don't think that's the best place for me to be right now," Smith says. "A, it's going to be strange if we have to talk about River and, B, it's going to be strange if we don't talk about River."