Last night, Jason Aldean returned to the stage for the first time since the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, where the country star was performing when the tragic mass shooting that killed 59 people and injured hundreds more occurred. After cancelling his shows this weekend out of respect for the victims, Aldean went on SNL to open the first show since the shooting with a few words and a performance.
“This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal,” he told the audience. “So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends — they’re all part of our family. So I want to say: We hurt for you, and we hurt with you. But you can be sure that we’re going to walk through these tough times together every step of the way. Because when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit? It’s unbreakable.”
He and his band then launched into a cover of “I Won’t Back Down” in tribute to the late Tom Petty. Watch below.
The episode was hosted by Gal Gadot and featured Sam Smith as its official musical guest. Watch Smith’s performances below.
And in a taped sketch mocking E!’s reality shows, new cast member Chris Redd debuted his Kanye West impression in a promo for Where’s Kanye?.