Jason Aldean kicked off his three-week Ride All Night residency in Las Vegas on Friday, marking the first time the country star has returned to the city since his performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in October 2017 was halted when a heavily armed gunman opened fire on the crowed, killing 58 people and wounding nearly 500.
Aldean couldn’t help but address the incident when he spoke to the crowd, many of whom are survivors of the deadly mass shooting.
“Tonight’s a really special night for us,” Aldean said from the stage. “We got a lot of people in the crowd who are family to us, so welcome everyone from Route 91. We’re glad to see you guys out.”
Added Aldean: “It’s good to be back here in Las Vegas. It’s our first show back and make no mistake about it tonight, we came back to blow it out for you guys tonight… Let’s finish what we started, what y’all think?”
As Rolling Stone reports, there were further emotional moments throughout the show. During his performance of “Any Ol’ Barstool”, a man in a wheelchair wearing a Route 91 shirt was waving an American flag when he was lifted up by the audience, who cheered enthusiastically enough to catch Aldean’s attention from the stage.
“My man,” said the singer to the fan.
According to RS, Aldean concluded the show with a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” (which he famously performed on “Saturday Night Live” less than a week after the shooting), which followed his hit “Before She Says Baby” — the song he was performing when the shooting stage.
“Last time we were starting this song here, we got a little interrupted,” he said, “so let’s finish it.”