Morgan Wallen promised fans in April that they’d “be seeing me sooner than later,” in an update note after he was caught saying the N-word in a video published at the beginning of February. The country singer-songwriter kept his promise on May 19, emerging for his first public performance at that venerated Nashville establishment, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse. Because what else says “really worked on myself” like returning to a bar bearing the name of a performer who was displaying the Confederate flag into the 21st century? Per TMZ and social-media videos, Wallen played songs like “Wasted on You” and “Whiskey Glasses” to riotous applause from a packed, largely unmasked (if you didn’t already guess) crowd.
Wallen has a bit of a history at KRBAHT&S: Last May, he was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct at the bar. He previously chalked saying the N-word up to being on “hour 72 of 72 of a bender,” and days after the video emerged, touted his sobriety as evidence that he wanted to grow. “When I look at the times that I’m not [sober], it seems to be when the majority of my mistakes are made,” he said in a February apology video. Wallen has not since spoken about intentions to stay sober. After the N-word video emerged, most country-radio stations took his music out of rotation, and the performer lost his agent and was “suspended” by his label; at April’s Academy of Country Music Awards, Wallen was not eligible and did not perform. In his April update, Wallen said he “will not be performing tour dates this summer,” after previously being set to join Luke Bryan on the road, but said he was “back in Nashville getting back into the swing of things.”