Jason Aldean opens 'SNL' with tribute to Vegas victims

Jason Aldean opens 'SNL' with tribute to Vegas victims

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Charlene Ragsdale pauses at a memorial in Las Vegas, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (Source: John Locher/AP Photo) Charlene Ragsdale pauses at a memorial in Las Vegas, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (Source: John Locher/AP Photo)

(RNN) – Instead of the usual political satire, “Saturday Night Live” opened with an emotional performance from country music star Jason Aldean that paid tribute to the 58 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Aldean, who was performing at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip last Sunday when a gunman opened fire, wore a black shirt and black cowboy hat in the surprise cold open.

“So many people are hurting… we hurt with you, but you can be sure we’re 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, it’s unbreakable,” Aldean said.

The musician then performed a rendition of the late Tom Petty’s hit “I Won’t Back Down.” Petty died Monday after suffering cardiac arrest at age 66.

Though best known for its comedy, “Saturday Night Live” has had its serious moments in the past, most recently immediately following the 2016 presidential election.

In character as Hillary Clinton, actress Kate McKinnon opened the Nov. 12 show by singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

"I'm not giving up, and neither should you," McKinnon said to the audience following her performance.

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