On Wednesday, Birmingham witnessed Hozier‘s grandest performance so far in the city at the Resorts World Arena, following a more intimate tour earlier this year, before the release of his newest album Unreal Unearth. As the eager crowd filled the vast space, the venue transformed into a cathedral of sound. Each song painted a canvas of love, hope, and tragedy, interwoven with strong political messages and melodic storytelling, a testament to Hozier’s ability to encapsulate life’s complexities through beautiful poetry.
It was surreal to witness Hozier’s anthemic songs, crafted for the big stage, finally unfurling their wings in a symphony of grandeur. The ethereal style of each note and lyric sent shivers down our spines, transforming the room into an epic realm where the music’s grandiosity echoed through every corner, making the experience nothing short of breathtaking. Hozier’s live renditions transcend the recorded versions, as he intimately personalizes each note, weaving a raw and unexpected tapestry that breathes new life into his songs on stage.
As Hozier took the stage, dressed in a smart three-piece suit, the atmosphere was electric and the crowd erupted in cheers, a testament to the artist’s ability to draw fans from all walks of life. Resorts World Arena provided the perfect backdrop for this musical spectacle. The stage was bathed in lights and adorned with subtle yet striking visual elements, creating an immersive experience for the audience.
The setlist was a masterful selection, starting with “De Selby (Part 1)”, a dark and poetic overture that set the tone for the grandeur that would unfold, with magical blue rays shining above Hozier. Each subsequent song, meticulously curated, unfolded like chapters in a book. Fan favorites like “Jackie and Wilson” and “From Eden” showcased the artist’s ability to seamlessly transition between genres, captivating the audience with his powerful vocals and the dynamic interplay of instruments. As Hozier’s ethereal voice echoed through the arena, he wove tales of love and societal struggles, a highlight of the set being the mesmerizing rendition of “Cherry Wine,” its haunting notes lingering in the air. “To Be Alone” was a personal favourite. What used to be just a guitar intro turned into a catchy chanting as Hozier had all of us repeating the same backing vocals to him, proving how ready he’s been to finally scale up his shows.
“Francesca” and “Would that I” resonated with raw emotion, while “Dinner & Diatribes” and “Almost (Sweet Music)” showcased the artist’s mastery in crafting diverse musical landscapes. In the more upbeat track ‘Eat Your Young,’ Hozier infuses a spirited energy into his exploration of growth, sacrifice, and the cyclical nature of human experience. The main set ended with a flawless rendition of “Take Me to Church,” a song that marked Hozier’s meteoric rise to fame, that naturally had the whole crowd singing in unison.
Hozier conducted a symphony of emotions throughout the night. His wholesome demeanor shone through as he expressed gratitude, not only for the roaring audience but for the entire team that made the show possible, as he does with every chance he gets, creating a sense of unity that permeated each note, emphasizing the fact that “it takes a village” to put on a show like that.
The encore was a climax of emotions and a call to action. True to form, Hozier did not shy away from using his platform to convey important messages. An impassioned monologue on equality, “body autonomy” for women, global solidarity, and a plea for support in achieving a ceasefire in Gaza set the stage for the stirring civil rights tribute, “Nina Cried Power”. It was a moment that transcended music, emphasizing the artist’s commitment to social causes. The night continued with the heartbreaking yet catchy “Unknown/Nth” and concluded with a mesmerizing rendition of “Work Song,” featuring Abigail Morris from the support act, The Last Dinner Party.
As the final notes echoed through the arena and Hozier took one last bow, he was met with a standing ovation from a grateful Birmingham crowd. It was a night of grandeur, a musical journey that made everyone present feel both small and connected—a testament to Hozier’s ability to turn poetry into an experience that lingers in the soul.
Review and photographs: Andra Tudoran