Hozier’s North American tour rolled through Oakland on one of its final stops, and the impossibly tall Irishman did not disappoint the throngs of fans filling up the Fox’s huge halls.
I have to start by saying that I LOVE Hozier. Luckily, he always seems to plan his North American tours for Fall, and his stops in both Northern and Southern California tend to fall right around my birthday- how sweet of him to think of me like that. His San Diego show from 3 years ago remains one of my favorite concerts I’ve attended, so I was excited to say the least to see him live again.
His act has definitely matured since I’ve seen him last- those 3 years ago were the first tour post-Take Me To Church exploding, and he was still relatively green to his stardom (which did not stop him from putting on a near-perfect concert). While the last show was by no means empty, when we showed up to the Fox a few hours early to beat traffic out of the City, the line to get in the door was already wrapping around the block. The sheer volume of fans waiting to see him was jaw-dropping, and once again reaffirmed my hope in this generation, and excitement that his gorgeous, roots-rock is as hugely popular as it is is.
After his foot-stomping supporting act Hudson Taylor set the stage, warming up the crowd, Hozier’s large band took the stage, and the show began.
This Hozier was polished and professional, on a larger stage and with more production value. He delivered all his hits, as well as new songs from his new EP, Nina Cried Power (if you haven’t listened yet, my personal favorite is “Shrike”, named for a lovely but angry little Irish bird). His incredibly powerful voice more than filled the Fox, and I’d be lying if I didn’t get choked up during the transcendent and sweet “Cherry Wine”. It was obvious that everyone in the audience had a fantastic time- Hozier was a crowd pleaser, as I suspect was true for the rest of this tour.
One thing I was sad to note, and mostly just personal- he doesn’t banter with his audience, and after the absolute joys that were Hudson Taylor, it was a little bit overproduced for my liking. I still wish I had been lucky enough to see Hozier when he was just coming up, playing small venues and less polished. It’s a small gripe to have with one of my favorite songwriters and artists today, and I still cannot get enough of his voice and his talent.
All in all, it speaks volumes to his star power that he was able to sell out this tour with just the release of an EP after years with no album release. I know I personally can’t wait for a full release of new Hozier material, and until then, I’ll keep listening to his first self titled album on repeat. It continues to be THAT GOOD.