On Friday, Dec. 6, Jason Aldean will kick off a three-night residency in Las Vegas, marking his first time performing his own shows in the city since the tragic Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, where 59 people died after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire while Aldean was performing. Although Aldean has played in Vegas since then, as part of the iHeartMusic Festival in 2018, this will be the first time the Georgia native headlines his own event in Las Vegas since Route 91, this time at the Park Theater, which he admits isn't easy.
"These will be the first shows we've done since Route 91," Aldean shared with PopCulture.com and other media. "That was the thing for us –– it's just been a touchy subject for us. I know there were a lot of people wanting us to come back and play right after all that happened. It just didn't feel right to us at the time, and we always wanted to go back and do that when we felt like the timing was right. We had an opportunity to go back out and not do one show, but do three, do it in a smaller setting."
Aldean is already preparing himself for the emotional return, especially considering those who will likely be in the audience.
"There's going to be a lot of people at that show that were at Route 91," Aldean acknowledged. "The smaller the venue, some of the people may have not been to a show since then. So the smaller the venue, I feel like it's a little bit more, maybe makes them a bit more at ease. It's a little bit more intimate. To me, it felt like the right setting, the right time to go back and do that.
"We're excited. It's going to be a little weird," he continued. "We've obviously been to Vegas since then, but to play a show, I know there's been a lot of people waiting for us to come back out there to do that and we're excited. I just think it's going to be a little odd for us every time we go there."
Aldean was midway through his set when Paddock opened fire, with one of his band members later finding a bullet in his guitar. For Aldean and his band and crew, he knows nothing will ever be the same.
"I'm not saying that we're not looking forward to it because I really am," said the singer. "I'm looking forward to going out there and doing those shows, but there's always going to be a little bit of a different vibe around shows, any show that we ever play out there. And really, on the west coast, to be honest. We went and did a run in California last year and we had a ton of Route 91 survivors there and it was almost like a run of shows where we just didn't know what to expect. Like, is this going to be really somber in this weird kind of mood for the show?
"It ended up being some fo the best shows that we had the whole year," he recalled. "It completely took me by surprise, the kind of vibe that was around those shows. I expect it to be the same in Las Vegas. I think it's going to be a blast. I think it's going to be probably an emotional thing for a lot of people, a lot of the fans that are coming, probably a little bit for us too, being back out there. But I'm excited we're going and I think it'll be good for everybody."
Find more information on all of Aldean's shows by visiting his website.
Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt