Three songs in, Jason Aldean said what had to be said.
After “They Don’t Know,” “The Only Way I Know,” and “Johnny Cash,” Aldean took ample time to talk about the shooting in Las Vegas and everything he’s been feeling since. Thursday night’s (Oct. 12) concert was his first since the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1 that claimed the lives of 58 fans. Aldean was onstage when the shooting started.
So at Tulsa’s BOK Center, 11 days after that Vegas show, Aldean was back where he belonged.
“As you guys know, man, it has been a tough week and a half for all of us up here on stage, and I want to say thank you guys for being here tonight,” Aldean said. “You guys are going to help us get through this as much as we are going to help you guys.
“It’s one of those things I hope you guys don’t ever experience. It has really been a tough thing to deal with for all of us up here. I think the one thing that is probably going to help us more than anything is playing for you guys tonight, so thank you so much for coming out.”
He went on to address some of the beauty that has come from the ugliest night of his career.
“Sometimes this country can be really divided. It seems really divided a lot of times, and that’s really an unfortunate thing to see,” he said. “But it has been really cool to see all the love and support that has been going on over the last 10 days or so because of what happened in Las Vegas, and I just feel like if we can do that on a daily basis, man, the world would be a lot better place.”
“Every day that goes by, we think about the 58 people that lost their lives. I don’t really count that asshole that was doing the shooting for 59, I count the 58. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their family, and everybody else who was injured in that thing and everybody who just was there, because even though people may not have physical scars, it’s gonna be a mental thing for a lot of people for a long time.”
“These people are gonna continue to try and hold us down and continue to try to do things to us that are gonna make us live in fear and be scared, and not go out and do what it is we want to do, whether it’s go to a concert or go to a ballgame or go to the mall or go to a movie,” he said. “And to those people that keep trying to do that, I say (expletive) you, we don’t really care.”
“I want this to not be something that’s gonna be a downer for the rest of the night. I want to play the show for you guys that the people in Las Vegas came to see and didn’t get a chance to, all right?”
Since most of his show’s equipment was still in Vegas — still part of the crime scene there — Aldean told the crowd that getting the Tulsa show ready had been tough on the band and crew. And then again, he thanked the crowd for their support, and for helping him take the next step.
“I just want to say thank you guys, because you guys have helped us a ton tonight. You guys have helped us take the next step toward doing what we need to do: get out and play music and do what we do every night. And you guys have been a big reason for that tonight,” he said, “so thank ya’ll so much for being here.”