TV | October 8, 2017 9:31 am

Jason Aldean Performs Emotional ‘SNL’ Cold Opening in Honor of Las Vegas Shooting Victims

'We hurt with you': Country singer was on stage during carnage at Route 91 Harvest festival.

In a rare, somber cold opening, Saturday Night Live wasn’t aiming for laughter.

Country singer Jason Aldean, who had been on stage during the mass shooting last Sunday in Las Vegas, started Saturday’s SNL episode with a heartfelt message to the families of the victims and their fellow Americans before launching into a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”

“This week, we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history,” Aldean told the crowd six days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history unfolded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

“Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night, and how to pick up the pieces and heal,” he continued. “So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, they’re 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.

Aldean finished with a plea for a very divided country to come together: “Because when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit are unbreakable.”

His choice of song clearly also served as a tribute to Petty, who died on Monday.