Hozier Finishes up His North American Tour at the Fox Theater
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. This is what happens when Hozier finishes up his North American tour at the Fox Theater.
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. For the record, 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. Three short years ago were the first tour after "Take Me To Church" exploded, and he was still relatively green when it came to stardom. (Even still, that didn't 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. There was an almost palpable level of excitement that his gorgeous, roots-rock vibe is as hugely popular as it is.
This iteration of Hozier was polished and professional. It was the same Hozier but on a larger stage and with more production value. He delivered all his hits, as well as new songs from his latest 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 an absolute crowd pleaser, and I suspect this was true for the rest of the tour stops.
But there was one thing I was sad to realize, even though it's mostly personal. Hozier doesn’t banter with his audience. 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--you know, 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 Hozier's star power that he was able to sell out this tour with just the release of an EP after years of no full album release. I know I personally can’t wait for a full release of new Hozier material. Until then, I’ll keep listening to his first self titled album on repeat because it continues to be that good.