The country singer took the stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival on Friday in Vegas, where he was joined by radio personality Bobby Bones and a group of first responders.
“On behalf of myself, my family and my family in the country music community, I want to say ‘thank you’ to the city of Las Vegas for your courage, strength and kindness,” Aldean told the T-Mobile Arena crowd. “Tonight, we are all proud to be Vegas Strong.”
On Oct. 1, 2017, Aldean headlined the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Vegas Strip. During his set, a gunman opened fire on the audience, leaving 58 people dead and more than 800 injured. It was the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman killed himself shortly after he opened fire, and detectives never determined a motive.
“[…] Being back in Vegas this close to the anniversary of it is, at times, a little weird,” Aldean told reporters backstage. “In another sense, it’s nice to be back."
“This is really our first performance we've had since then," he continued. "Tonight is going to be another step in getting through all of that stuff, and coming back here, I think, is going to be a big part of it.”
Aldean went on to play a 30-minute set at Friday night’s festival, which included appearances by Childish Gambino, Mariah Carey, Rae Sremmurd, and Ludacris.