Surprise ‘SNL’ Guest Jason Aldean Speaks on Las Vegas Tragedy, Covers Tom Petty

A week after the Las Vegas massacre, the words of the late Tom Petty are used as a healing salve during SNL cold open

Photo credit: SNL / NBC

A week ago, country star Jason Aldean headlined the Route 91 Harvest music festival where 58 attendees were gunned down and over 500 were injured. And was performing live on stage when it all happened.

On Saturday Night Live, a shaken but resilient Aldean made a surprise appearance during the show’s normal sketch open and addressed the audience about the massacre and poignantly reminded them of our ability to persevere. “Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night, and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal,” he said. “So many people are hurting and they’re our children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. I want to say to them, we hurt for you and we hurt with you…[and] you can be sure we’re going to walk through these tough times together, every step of the way.”

After his speech, Aldean and his band kicked off a vigilant cover of Tom Petty‘s “I Won’t Back Down,” a song that was once revived by radio after 9/11 as a patriotic anthem. The song, apropos to Aldean’s style, served as a fitting tribute to Petty, who passed away on Monday at the age of 66.

Aldean’s appearance on SNL marked the first time that he performed in public since the Sunday night attacks. He canceled several tour dates on his They Don’t Know Tour in respect to the Las Vegas victims, but is set to return to the road on October 12th when he is set to perform at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



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