Watch: Jason Aldean opens ‘Saturday Night Live’ with tribute to Las Vegas victims, Tom Petty

Jason Aldean performed for the cold open on “Saturday Night Live.” Photo: NBC

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

Jason Aldean sought to comfort and inspire with his surprise appearance on the opening of “Saturday Night Live.”

“Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night,” he said.

The Macon-reared country star, who was performing on stage at the Route 91 Harvest music festival last Sunday when the Las Vegas massacre began, continued with a brief, but powerful statement.

“We hurt for you and we hurt with you…when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit is unbreakable.”

With that, Aldean and his band, including his lap steel guitarist who bore a shirt reading, “Spread Love – It’s the Nashville Way,” rolled into Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”

The song was a perfect demonstration of resolve, as well as a tribute to Petty, who died on Oct. 2.

Aldean was originally scheduled to perform several concerts this weekend, but he canceled them out of respect for the victims of the shootings. Throughout the week, the singer posted heartfelt messages on his Instagram page expressing his sorrow and shock at the Vegas tragedy.

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