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Jason Aldean plays first gig since Las Vegas shooting

US country singer Jason Aldean performs in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the first time since the Las Vegas shootingImage copyright YouTube/Vanessa Baker
Image caption Aldean had previously cancelled three shows in California out of respect for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting

Country star Jason Aldean has returned to the stage for the first time since the mass shooting in Las Vegas which left 59 dead and hundreds wounded.

Playing at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last night, he made an emotional statement about the victims of what is now the worst mass shooting in recent US history.

The singer was performing at the Route 91 festival on 1 October when Stephen Paddock fired into the crowd from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Aldean, 40, subsequently cancelled three shows in Los Angeles, San Diego and Anaheim out of respect for the victims.

“I just want to say that, you know, every day that goes by we think about the 58 people who lost their lives,” the singer said to the crowd in a statement on stage in Tulsa.

“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 going to help us more than anything is playing for you tonight.”

He added: “I want to play this show for you guys that the people of Las Vegas came to see and didn’t get a chance to.”

Image copyright YouTube/Jason Cope
Image caption The crowd cheered and waved the US flag during Aldean’s statement

Aldean, one of the best-known country singers in the US, went on to call for national unity and praised the outpouring of support after the shooting.

“Sometimes this country can be really divided, it seems 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 that has been going on over the last 10 days or so because of what happened in Las Vegas.”

Aldean reminded the crowd not to “live in fear” or “be scared and not go out and do what it is that 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.”

Aldean finished, to massive cheers, by saying: “This is the best country in the world, and I’m glad to be here, glad to be a part of it. “

Last Sunday, the singer and his wife, Brittany, visited the victims of the attack who are still in hospital.

Afterward, posting on Instagram, Brittany described the experience as “surreal”.

One day before visiting the victims, Aldean – who has sold 15 million albums and recorded 17 number one songs – performed on the comedy show Saturday Night Live to honour the late rock star Tom Petty.

By the UGC and Social News Team

BBC News – US & Canada

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