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Jason Aldean opens SNL with Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’

Jason Aldean performs on NBC's "Today" show on Friday, July 31, 2015, in New York.
Jason Aldean performs on NBC's "Today" show on Friday, July 31, 2015, in New York. AP

During the cold open of Saturday Night Live, Jason Aldean used the time typically reserved for humor and wit to convey a powerful message.

Aldean, who was the Route 91 Harvest Festival performer on stage during the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas, spoke about those hurting in the wake of tragedy and the unity of America in tough times.

“Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal,” Aldean said. “You can be sure we are 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.”

He followed his monologue with a tribute to the late Tom Petty, who died from a heart attack the day after the Las Vegas shooting, by covering the rock icon’s 1989 hit ‘I Won’t Back Down.’

Watch Aldean’s SNL cold open below or click here.

Several vigils were held across Las Vegas on Tuesday, October 3 for the 59 people killed during the October 1 mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.

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