On a balmy summer night at Pine Knob Music Theatre, Hozier delivered a performance that left the audience in awe. It was clear that this was not like any other Hozier tour – the fans not only roared for the soundcheck crew, but erupted when Hozier made his way to the stage.

Hozier, whose real name is Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, first captured the world’s attention in 2013 with his haunting yet beautiful debut single “Take Me to Church.” The song, a powerful critique of institutional homophobia, quickly went viral, earning him global acclaim and several Grammy nominations. Hozier’s eponymous debut album, released in 2014, solidified his place as a significant figure in contemporary music, blending blues, folk, and indie rock with poetic lyricism.


The concert opened with Hozier’s “De Selby (Part 1)” and “De Selby (Part 2)”, tracks from his 2023 album “Unreal Unearth.” These songs are inspired by the character De Selby from the 1939 novel “The Third Policeman” by Irish author Flann O’Brien. The novel is known for its surreal and philosophical exploration of time, existence, and reality, often veering into the absurd and metaphysical. The tracks transported the audience to the Irish countryside with their gentle acoustic strumming and evocative lyrics. Hozier’s voice, rich and resonant as ever, filled the venue, creating an intimate atmosphere despite the large crowd.

Midway through the set, Hozier performed a long time fan-favorite “Like Real People Do,” Overall, “Like Real People Do” is about finding love that feels new and unblemished, embracing the innocence and simplicity of a genuine connection despite any dark pasts. It’s a beautifully poetic song that uses natural and somewhat eerie imagery to convey the idea of love as a transformative and healing force – something everyone can relate to.

Between songs, Hozier charmed the audience with his humble and sincere demeanor, sharing anecdotes and expressing gratitude for the support he has received throughout his career, especially recently with his first chart-topping song, “Too Sweet”. He described writing this song years ago and being overwhelmingly surprised, yet thankful, it has taken off the way it has – ensuring to praise the crowd for all of the streams and purchases of his latest record. His genuine connection with the crowd was evident, making the large venue feel surprisingly personal. As someone clearly there alone, I was shocked by the amount of people who wanted to welcome me into their group to enjoy the show – it could have been because I had a photopass sticker so perhaps they thought I was cooler than I was, but I like to think that Hozier has truly created a culture of acceptance and camaraderie around his music.

The concert reached its peak with a powerful performance of the abovementioned “Too Sweet.” The audience exploded as the opening chords echoed through the venue, singing along to every word. “Too Sweet” is a soulful and evocative track that explores the intoxicating allure and potential dangers of a passionate romance. With its rich, bluesy undertones and Hozier’s signature emotive vocals, the song delves into the complexities of love that is both irresistible and overwhelming. The lyrics poetically convey the sweetness of the connection, juxtaposed with the fear of losing oneself in the intensity of the relationship. “Too Sweet” is a poignant reminder of the fine line between love’s enchantment and its capacity to consume, showcasing Hozier’s talent for blending emotional depth with mesmerizing melodies.

Hozier closed the night with “Work Song” which he performed alongside opening-act singer Allison Russell. In “Work Song,” Hozier sings about a love so profound that it follows him beyond life and death. The chorus, “When my time comes around, lay me gently in the cold dark earth / No grave can hold my body down, I’ll crawl home to her,” suggests a love that is so strong it defies even death, emphasizing the idea of love as an eternal and unbreakable force.

The use of work-related metaphors and imagery, such as references to labor and toil – something most of us empathize with heavily – further enriches the song’s narrative, connecting the physical effort of work with the emotional effort of maintaining a deep, loving relationship. Allison’s vocals added the perfect lightness to this track, with her higher register floating behind the richness of Hozier’s lead.

As the final notes faded and Hozier took his bow, it was clear that he doesn’t just perform his music, but shares a piece of his soul with the audience. His evolution from a breakout artist to a mature musician with a profound message was evident throughout the concert. Hozier’s live show was a pleasant reminder of music’s power to connect, heal, and inspire.

Set List

·         De Selby (Part 1)
·         De Selby (Part 2)
·         Jackie & Wilson
·         From Eden
·         To Be Alone
·         Dinner & Diatribes
·         Francesca
·         It Will Come Back
·         Like Real People Do
·         Unknown
·         Wildflower (feat. Allison Russell)
·         Would That I
·         Too Sweet
·         Almost
·         Eat Your Young
·         Movement
·         Church
·         Cherry Wine
·         Nina Cried Power
·         Work Song (feat. Allison Russell)

All photos by gabriella Csapo


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