Record-Breaking Country Performance: Lainey Wilson Lights Up 2023 NYS Fair with Unforgettable Hits and Moments

Photos and Review by Renee Clark Quade

The anticipation was palpable as fans descended upon the 2023 NYS Fairgrounds, some as early as 6:30 a.m., eagerly awaiting the much-anticipated performance by country sensation Lainey Wilson. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the massive crowd of over 53,000 gathered in front of the stage, breaking NYS Fair records and setting the stage for a truly memorable evening.

Lainey Wilson took the stage to a deafening roar from her adoring fans. The enormity of the moment was not lost on her, as someone shared with her before her performance, that this was the largest crowd the New York State Fair had ever seen. Wilson’s dreams were unfolding right before her eyes, and the emotion in her voice resonated with every note she sang.

Before launching into her hit “WWDD” (What Would Dolly Do), Wilson took a moment to reflect on her musical journey. She playfully advised the crowd never to meet their idols but then made an exception for the legendary Dolly Parton, whom she praised as an amazing person. The connection between Wilson and her influences was evident, setting the tone for a night filled with heartfelt performances.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Wilson sang her chart-topping hit “Watermelon Moonshine.” The audience became an impromptu choir, singing along with every word. Midway through the song, Wilson orchestrated a breathtaking moment by asking the crowd to turn off their cell phone flashlights. As she turned to face the sea of darkness dotted with twinkling lights, the unity and energy of the crowd became a sight to behold.

“Atta Girl” showcased Wilson’s commitment to being a role model for her young female fans. With a heartwarming message, she encouraged little girls to believe in themselves and defy anyone who tried to limit their dreams. Her performance exuded empowerment and left a lasting impact on all in attendance.

Wilson’s storytelling prowess shone throughout her set. She drew parallels between her song “Get in the Truck” and country classics like Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls,” Reba’s “Fancy,” and The Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl.” This demonstrated her ability to craft narratives that resonate across generations.

Seamlessly transitioning between songs, Wilson combined her shorter version of “Wait in the Truck” with her hit “Heart Like a Truck,” showcasing her versatility and musical finesse. Her performance was a masterclass in blending different sounds and styles within the realm of “Bellbottom Country.”

Amidst the catchy tunes and energetic performances, Wilson took a poignant moment to share her personal connection with her song “Those Boots (Daddy’s Song).” Her father’s struggles with health issues served as her inspiration to persevere, and she shared how helping him put on his boots every morning gave her purpose and strength. The audience connected deeply with this touching story.

The soul-stirring “Never Say Never” showcased Wilson’s vocal range and creativity. She seamlessly merged her duet lyrics with those of Cole Swindell’s, creating a captivating rendition of the hit.

As the night drew to a close, Wilson left the crowd on an exhilarating high with her very first hit, “Things a Man Oughta Know.” The entire amphitheater reverberated with the lyrics, leaving an indelible memory etched in the hearts of all who attended.

Lainey Wilson’s 16-song, 90-minute set was a whirlwind of emotions, stories, and irresistible melodies. Her self-proclaimed “Bellbottom Country” style, infused with flair and authenticity, solidified her place as a rising star in the country music scene. The 2023 NYS Fair opening day will forever be remembered as the night Lainey Wilson took center stage and captured the hearts of thousands with her unforgettable performance.

See photos from Lainey Wilson’s performance at the 2023 New York State Fair below: