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Rascal Flatts Open Las Vegas Residency With Speech About Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting [WATCH]

On Friday night (Oct. 6), Rascal Flatts began their Rascal Flatts — A Night to Shine residency at Las Vegas’ Venetian Theatre, five days after a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which took place just down the Las Vegas Strip. The trio chose to go forward with their residency as planned, but they addressed the opening-night crowd before they took the stage.

Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus came out to speak with the crowd gathered to see them in Vegas “to sincerely thank [them] so much for being here tonight,” as DeMarcus said at the beginning of the trio’s speech.

“There are no words that can adequately express the confusion, the frustration, the sadness, the pain and the anger that we all deal with when we’re faced with unspeakable evil such as the events that unfolded just a few nights ago in this city,” DeMarcus added.

Rooney told the crowd that Rascal Flatts “struggled” to decide whether or not they should go forward with their residency plans as scheduled. Earning a standing ovation, he explained that they’re now choosing to “make a statement” with their Las Vegas shows.

“We didn’t know if it was the right thing to do or not,” he said. “However, we quickly came to the conclusion that, no matter what, we’re not going to let evil win.”

LeVox concluded Rascal Flatts’ speech: “You know, in the Bible, it talks about beauty from ashes,” he noted. “Well, there’s a lot of beauty that’s going to come from these ashes.”

A photo taken by a fan on Friday night shows LeVox wearing a “Pray for Las Vegas” T-shirt during Rascal Flatts’ show. On Instagram, the trio let fans know that they’re donating to the fund for victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, and encouraged their fans to do the same.

Additional Rascal Flatts — A Night to Shine concerts are scheduled for Oct. 7, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20 and 21. All shows will take place at 8PM at the Venetian’s Venetian Theatre, an 1,800-seat venue. Previously, Rascal Flatts had a residency at the Joint, a venue inside Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Those shows, dubbed the Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot! and the Rhythm & Roots residency, took place in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims

NEXT: The Latest on the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting

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