Jason Aldean Opens ‘SNL’ With Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ Tribute to Las Vegas Shooting Victims (Video)

“SNL” skipped its cold open sketch for a musical tribute to victims of the worst shooting in modern American history, performed by singer Jason Aldean

“SNL” took a moment to recognize the national tragedy that took place in Las Vegas this week, skipping its usual cold open sketch for a musical tribute instead.

Singer Jason Aldean opened the show with a short monologue and a message of healing and unity in the wake of the shooting in Las Vegas, which claimed the lives of 58 people and saw more than 200 more injured. While the tragedy has reignited the national debate about gun control in America, Aldean’s mologue stayed clear of politics, instead focusing on helping the nation to heal. You can watch the performance above.

The monologue recognized the victims as well as the other Americans who were shocked and saddened by the tragedy, but ended on a positive message of hope and togetherness.

“I’m Jason Aldean,” Aldean said at the start of the show. “This week, we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night, how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and they are all part of our family. So I want to say to them: We hurt for you, and we hurt with you. You can be sure that 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 are unbreakable.”

Aldean then played Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ song “I Won’t Back Down,” a tribute to musician Tom Petty. The musician died this week at the age of 66, after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Along with Aldean, “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot is headlining this week’s “Saturday Night Live” with musical guest Sam Smith, the second of Season 43. Kumail Nanjiani is slated to host the season’s third episode on Oct. 14, while Pink will serve as musical guest.