Saturday Night Live gave Alec Baldwin the night off. Instead, country musician Jason Aldean opened the episode by honoring the lives lost in the Las Vegas shooting massacre on Oct. 1.
“This week, we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history,” Aldean said. “Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal.
“So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends… they’re all part of our family. So I want to say to them: We hurt for you, and we hurt with you. But you can be sure that were 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.”
Aldean, accompanied by a five-piece band, then performed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Petty, the legendary rock musician who sold tens of millions of albums across a five-decade career, died on Oct. 2 at the age of 66, just one day after the tragedy in Nevada.
(For additional highlights from this week’s SNL with host Gal “Wonder Woman” Gadot, click here.)