Tim McGraw begins Memorial Day weekend at the PNC Bank Art Center

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How do you start Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore?

With a salute to the Jersey girls, of course. That’s what Tim McGraw did at his season-opening concert on Friday May 27 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. The country superstar turned his hit ‘Southern Girl’ into ‘Jersey Girl’.

The approximately 15,000 spectators loved it.

“I’ve met a few Jersey girls in my life – a long time ago,” said McGraw, who is married to country superstar Faith Hill.

Hill did not make an appearance on the show – except for the “Faith” tattoo on McGraw’s right shoulder. It was all McGraw Friday, with his big shoulders and belt buckle. Yet the image of a huge country belies a sensibility – this is a guy who understands the frailties of life.

Take his “Live Like You Were Dying,” written for his late father, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies star Tug McGraw, who died in 2004 at age 59. Enter the day, because the day is short.

At the end of the song, McGraw patted his thigh like his father would at the end of an inning. “Humble and Kind” was dedicated to Texas, where a May 19 school shooting claimed the lives of 21 people.

McGraw is best on ballads – that’s where his full, sonorous tenor shines. His recent single, “The Cowboy in Me,” featured with snippets of TV’s “Yellowstone,” nicely framed McGraw’s soulful vocals.

After:Memorial Day Weekend on the Jersey Shore: 8 Big Concerts, Shows to Get the Party Started

After:What’s new to eat at the PNC Bank Arts Center and Camden Amphitheater this summer

But it was a party, and McGraw brought a few friends along for the fun. Show openers Russell Dickerson, Alexandra Kay and Brandon Davis joined him on stage for “I Life It, I Love It,” and Toms River star photographer Danny Clinch joined in on “Indian Outlaw.” .

Clinch plays a mean harmonica, and he literally put his camera down to play.

“Damn, he’s good,” McGraw said of Clinch.

Fans also spoke favorably of the site’s new amenities.

Hillsborough’s John Crivelli downed a Questlove Impossible Cheesesteak.

“They didn’t have a regular cheesesteak, just the impossible,” Crivelli said. “Listen, we both teach – it was good for school food.”

Tim McGraw performs at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel on Friday May 27.

The site updated and expanded the restrooms last season.

“The bathroom updates have been great.” said Crivelli.

Great Meadows’ Caitlin Nichols enjoyed a watermelon margarita with a pink cowboy hat in the lobby before McGraw’s set. Nichols and his companion Seth Leonard of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, approved of the experiment.

The Lumineers are bringing their Brightside Word Tour to the venue on Saturday, May 28.

Tim McGraw’s Setlist

  • How badly do you want it
  • Something like that
  • Down in the farm
  • Just to see you smile
  • southern girl
  • don’t take the girl
  • 7500 OBO
  • The way of memory
  • Again and again
  • shotgun rider
  • where the green grass grows
  • Better than I was
  • One of those nights
  • I felt good on my lips
  • Really good man
  • Truck Yeah
  • I love him, I love him
  • Live like you’re dying
  • The cowboy in me
  • indian outlaw
  • Humble and kind

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Jersey Shore native Chris Jordan covers entertainment and reporting for USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected]

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