It was a milestone moment for Jason Aldean, who performed in Las Vegas for a three-night residency Dec. 6 to Dec. 8, marking his first full-length concert since the tragic Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in 2017. Aldean kicked off the residency, held at the Park Theater, on Friday, where he took time to address both the victims and survivors of that fateful night.
“Tonight’s a really special night for us. We got a lot of people in the crowd who are family to us, so welcome everyone from Route 91,” Aldean said, via PEOPLE. “We’re glad to see you guys out. 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!”
There were plenty of both Route 91 Harvest Festival attendees and first responders in the crowd, with many wearing Route 91 t-shirts. Aldean was only midway through his set when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire, singing "When She Says Baby" before running for cover, so the Georgia native made sure to include that song while performing at Park Theater.
“Last time we were starting this song here, we got a little interrupted,” he said. “So let’s finish it.”
If Aldean had any misgivings about returning to Las Vegas, he let them go by the time his first show began.
"It's good to be back in Vegas," Aldean said from stage, in a video posted on YouTube. "We had a new album that came out a couple weeks ago, and we're going to play you some songs from the new album tonight. We're going to go back and play you guys some songs from all of the albums tonight, as a matter of fact ... Now let's finish what we started."
Aldean also opened up about Las Vegas shows on social media, sharing a video of a man in a wheelchair, being raised above the crowd, wearing a Route 91 T-shirt and waving an American flag while Aldean was singing "Any Ol' Barstool."
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"This might have been the coolest thing I have ever seen," Aldean posted alongside the video. "Thank you Las Vegas and our Route 91 family for showing us the love this weekend."
Photo Credit: Getty / Mat Hayward