Bless him, Hozier has some real God-given talent. One flick of his mane inspires an instant and yet lasting connection with his adoring singalong fans, who bend the knee to his every word and gesture.
A small group leaving the venerated rugby stadium after the show started up Take Me To Church; soon everyone joins the choir. Nothing too unusual in that, I guess, but this almost seems spiritual.
No way of explaining it really. You're either one of the congregation or you're a non-believer. But be warned though, if you're not of this church, best keep your heathenous thoughts to yourself. There's a new cult in town, and their prophet has a big voice, bigger hair and one of the biggest guitar sounds you'll hear this summer.
Let's face it, Hozier is a superstar. His second album, Wasteland Baby!, topped the US Billboard in its first week of release. He's now on a world tour in which the US dates are many, the venues staggering and the ticket sales lightning fast. Bible Belt beware, get ready for his second coming.
What a privilege then to see him "back" in Cork, where he shot the video for his global breakthrough hit, Take Me To Church.
"It's so f***ing good to be home," says Hozier, and thus starteth his rebel homecoming. Big songs all -- Would that I, Dinner & Diatribes and Nina Cried Power.
"I couldn't have dreamed of such a perfect night like this in such a perfect place," he said. Later, he'll add: "I feel blessed."
Hozier, boy, you're preaching to the choir.
He starts at 8:45, finishes 'Church' at 10:05.
He starts the encore by thanking the Cork people who worked on the Church video, notably Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson. Then thanked the whole band, and brought back out warmup act Maggie Rogers for the finale.
You are a dream @Hozier ❤🎶 What are those two box guitars you are playing? The red and charcoal (with oil sticker) ones? 🎸🎸 #Hozier #IrishIndependentPark #CorkCity #Cork #PureCork #Guitars #Blues #Rock #Irish #WastelandBaby #LiveMusic #Music #Concert #ConcertSeason pic.twitter.com/EWBX25trV1— Michelle Moore (@M1chelleMoore) June 25, 2019
Maggie, she of the hit Alaska, is yet another protégée of Pharrell Williams; her sweet vocals and air of repose win a diametrically opposed reaction from this enthused audience. They love her; she'll be back. 10:20, hugs, show's over.
While a section of Liam Gallagher's rain-soaked, brimful, home-streaming fans hosed our local lawns on Sunday night, the only thing the homebound Hozier fans unzipped was their heavenly mouths, singing like angels in the warm night air.
And It's a testament to hits like Someone New, Work Song and Jackie & Wilson that the crowd's energy stays up all night as the anticipation builds along our pilgrimage towards 'Church', a wait which endures till tantalisingly late in the night. An explosive finish within earshot of the Church of the Assumption, Ballyphehane. Religious? Maybe just a little old little bit.