Jason Aldean paid tribute to the Las Vegas shooting victims and had some harsh words for domestic terrorists on Thursday as he performed his first public concert since the deadly massacre.
The country star was performing at the outdoor Route 91 Harvest music festival in the latter city on October 1 when a gunman fired several rounds down into the crowd from a nearby hotel suite, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more. Aldean, who was unhurt, canceled a few tour dates after the tragedy.
"As you guys know, it's been a tough week and a half for all of us here on stage. And I want to say thank you guys for being here tonight, you guys are gonna help us get through this," he told the crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Thursday. "I'm glad to be here, I'm glad that we were able to resume the tour here for you guys. It's one of those things I don't think anybody- I hope none of you guys ever experience anything like that. It's been a really tough thing to deal with for all of us up here. I think the one thing that's probably gonna help us more than anything is play for you guys tonight. So thank you so much for coming out."
"I just want to say that every day that goes by, we think about the 58 people that lost their lives," he said. "I don't really count that a--hole who was doing the shooting...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."
The concert was attended by Las Vegas couple Ryan Guay and Lynzee Freund, who survived the shooting and also helped save a little girl's life. They received tickets to the show from Tulsa-based radio station K95.5.
"These people are going to continue to try and hold us down and continue to try and do things to us that are going to 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 ball game or go to the mall or go to a movie," he continued. "And to those people that keep trying to do that, I say, 'F--k you, we don't really care."
His words drew cheers from the crowd.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
He also praised the American people for uniting in a time of grief.
"The one thing I wanted to do tonight is I want to say that first of all, no matter what happens, sometimes this country can be really divided, it seems like really divided a lot of times, and that's a really unfortunate thing to see, but it's been really cool to see all the support, all the love and support that's 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, the world would be in a lot better place."
After the shooting, Aldean had taken to Instagram to call for unity, writing, "At the end of the day we aren't Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and it's time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now."
The shooting is still under investigation and the gunman's motive for the killings has not been revealed.
Aldean is set to continue his tour as usual and will perform next in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Friday.
Last weekend, Aldean performed "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty, who recently passed away, on SNL as a tribute to the victims. He and his pregnant wife Brittany then flew to Las Vegas and visited survivors in two hospitals.