Jason Aldean returns to Las Vegas for 1st concert since 2017 shooting: 'Let's finish what we started'

Friday night's performance was the first of a three-night residency called "Ride All Night Vegas."
Jason Aldean Launches Three-Night "JASON ALDEAN: RIDE ALL NIGHT VEGAS"
Recording artist Jason Aldean performs during the launch of his three-night "JASON ALDEAN: RIDE ALL NIGHT VEGAS" engagement at Park Theater at Park MGM on Dec. 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.David Becker / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

After more than two years, Jason Aldean returned to Las Vegas for his first full concert there since a deadly shooting broke out during his set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1, 2017.

The 42-year-old country singer told the crowd, which contained first responders and attendees from the 2017 show, "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... It’s our first show back and make no mistake about it... we came back to blow it out for you guys tonight."'

He later added, "Let’s finish what we started, what y’all think?"

Friday night's performance at Park MGM was the first of Aldean's three-night residency called "Ride All Night Vegas." While he had returned to Vegas for other events since the incident, including the iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2018, this was his first full show.

While Aldean had returned to Vegas for other events since the incident, including the iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2018, this was his first full show.David Becker / Getty Images

Before performing "When She Says Baby," which is the same song he was playing when the shooting broke out, he reportedly told the crowd, "Last time we were starting this song here, we got a little interrupted. So let’s finish it."

During one of the night's more emotional moments, video shared on social media shows one audience member in a wheelchair hoisted up during Aldean's performance of the song "Any Ol' Barstool." Many on social media concluded the person, who can be seen proudly waving an American flag and fighting back tears, is a survivor of the shooting since they're also wearing a Route 91 festival t-shirt.

"It was a very raw moment," Drew Amato, who posted the clip, told TODAY via Twitter. "The emotion on his face says it all. The few days after the shooting, I remember being in awe at how incredible it was to see the city come together. Some things are just bigger than music and that moment right there solidifies that."

We will update this post if we determine the identity of the person in the video.

Another noteworthy moment came when Aldean closed the show with Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," the same song he performed on "Saturday Night Live" just a week after the mass shooting, which has been deemed the deadliest in modern U.S. history. The incident — which began when a gunman opened fire from a nearby hotel — resulted in 59 deaths and more than 800 injuries. The 59th victim from the attack died just last month.

In November 2017, Aldean reflected on the tragedy, which he said he'll "never forget," in an interview with TODAY's Sheinelle Jones. "I just hope everybody can start to heal. Some of this stuff you never get over. But I hope it gets better for everybody as time goes on," he said at the time.

"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... It’s our first show back and make no mistake about it... we came back to blow it out for you guys tonight."'David Becker / Getty Images

Aldean also opened up about his rollercoaster of emotions following the incident when speaking to TODAY's Willie Geist on "Sunday Sitdown" in August 2018. "I think in the weeks that followed... it was a lot of different emotions going on for me and... guilt, anger and a lot of other things," he said. "I know in my heart that it's not my fault that that happened, but it still doesn't keep you from feeling a little guilty that... people were there for you."

At the time of the Route 91 festival, Aldean's wife, Brittany, was pregnant with their now-2-year-old son, Memphis. The singer — who is now a father of four — has been vocal about how Memphis helped him heal.

Aldean told SiriusXM’s “The Highway” in January 2018, "Within a couple of months, I saw the worst thing you could possibly experience, and then I saw the best thing you could possibly experience, with him being born." He added, "(Memphis) gave me a reason to look forward to the new year and to get back out there and to do what it is that I love to do."

By returning to the Vegas stage this weekend, Aldean is following through on that promise to get back out there and do what he loves.