A lot has happened to Lainey Wilson since she last graced a stage in the UK. Number one hits, critically acclaimed albums, duets and a role on the TV show, ‘Yellowstone’. We first saw Lainey as a raw, rising talent right here at the C2C festival back in 2018 but even then she won hearts and minds wherever she went so it has been no surprise to see her career track in the way that it has.
Wilson’s triumphant return to the UK stage felt like something of a homecoming. She was perhaps the most anticipated artist on the Friday bill in London. The emotions were running high from the start and it was during second song, ‘Rock n Roll, Hoochie Koo’ that she declared ‘You were the first people to ever know my music and I’ll never forget that.’
The set opened in a funky way with a disco-leaning ‘LA’ and the aforementioned ‘Hoochie Koo’. Wilson was criss-crossing the stage and having fun with her band too. When freed of the guitar, Wilson is a skilled entertainer, using her wit and charm alongside her boundless energy to work the crowd like a seasoned professional. ‘Hold My Halo’ saw her doing this with ease whilst a funky cover of ‘Mr Big Stuff’ served as something like a dance break mixed with the obligatory band introduction segment.
Tracks like the very atmospheric ‘Wildflowers and Wild Horses’ and ‘Watermelon Sunshine’ were welcomed by the eager crowd as if they had been part of Wilson set list for years and a double header of ‘Wait in the Truck’ and ‘Heart Like a Truck’ was genius, hammered home with some aplomb by Wilson as she hit the big note at the end of the latter song despite having lost her voice earlier in the week.
Wilson closed down her set with two very different songs. Her cover of 4 Non-Blondes ‘What’s Up (What’s Going On?) elicited the first big O2 singalong of the evening on the ‘hey, hey, hey’ bits whilst ‘Things a Man Outta Know’ ended with the arena lit up by cell phone lights. Wilson left stage to rapturous applause and I’m sure that it won’t be that long until we see her again in the UK when the mutual love affair can continue further. This was a terrific performance from an artist just getting better and better. She knows that we consider her to be an adopted British citizen and you know that the bright lights of Nashville, Montana and wherever else she finds herself won’t cause Lainey Wilson to forget about us either.
Set list: 1. LA 2. Rock n Roll, Hoochie Koo 3. Smell Like Smoke 4. Watermelon Moonshine 5. Hold My Halo 6. Mr Big Stuff 7. Wildflowers and Wild Horses 8. Wait in the Truck / Heart Like a Truck 9. Rolling Stone 10 What’s Up (What’s Going On?) 11. Things a Man Outta Know Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Friday 10th March