Photography by Devyn King.
As the last act to perform ahead of the night's headliner, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell was entering familiar territory as he stormed onto the Atlantic City stage in a bright green Philadelphia Eagles tee.
Swindell is one of the opening acts on Rhett's hugely popular 2023 Home Team tour, and judging by his TidalWave set on Friday, he clearly knows what it takes to whip up an expectant crowd into a frenzy.
Cole Swindell is arguably somewhat of a dark horse in the contemporary country scene, armed with more barnstorming hits than he is often given credit for.
It was therefore no surprise that the packed-out audience were with him all the way, lapping up his live-wire renditions of ‘Never Say Never’, ‘Single Saturday Night’ and ‘Stereotype’.
However, the moment we were all waiting for was inevitably Cole Swindell's two-time 2023 ACM Award-winning anthem, the innovative, 90's-inspired ‘She Had Me At Heads Carolina’.
The modern twist on Jo Dee Messina's classic has blossomed into Cole Swindell's most widely streamed song to date - and after seeing him perform it live, it's really no wonder.
The first half of the chorus is infectious enough to be a certified hit by itself, but then Swindell adds an extra buzz of electricity as he launches into the latter part of the addictive hook. Each time he returns jubilantly to the chorus, his unbounded energy fizzles through the New Jersey crowd.
As he reluctantly departs the stage, he couldn't have left a more exhilarated atmosphere for his fellow Georgia native and good buddy, Thomas Rhett, to charge into.
The 2023 edition of TidalWave is providing plenty of sizzling performances from some of country's biggest stars and fastest-rising newcomers as we celebrate the last days of summer.
After 2022's hell raising inaugural weekend, this year is racking up to once again be Atlantic City's new favorite country music festival, as we revel in performances from Jelly Roll, Hailey Whitters, Megan Moroney and Brooks & Dunn who'll take the stage throughout the three-day beach bash.
For more on TidalWave Festival 2023, see below: