A slightly chilly Chicago welcomed Hozier for the second time this year marking the last show of the season at Northerly Island.
Back in May, Hozier performed a very limited run of intimate shows ahead of his latest release, Unreal Unearth. Chicago was lucky enough to be one of the stops on this mini-tour. Since the new album was still yet to be released at this point, only a few songs were performed from it as a teaser for what was to come. While they were warmly received by the audience, the fans weren’t quite able to sing along to all of them. Fast forward to a cool September evening by the lakefront, just a month since the long-awaited album was finally released and it was a stark contrast to the show at the Metro. This time the crowd were singing along in fine voice to every song, having absorbed every inch of the new material.
The intimate shows were stripped back while still including his ample eight-piece accompanying bandmates. This current tour is the biggest stage production we have seen for Hozier. The huge screen at the back of the stage brought a whole new element to the show. Dangling from the top of the stage were plant roots and earth in keeping with the new album’s artwork.
When the tickets went on sale for this show, it impressively sold out in minutes. It therefore wasn’t surprising to see Northerly Island packed in anticipation of the show the fans have waited months to see. It was a nice chilled-out, relaxed feeling with the audience members dancing and swaying back and forth with loved ones and friends. It was a beautiful atmosphere to take in and be a part of. It was everything a late summer show on the lake’s edge should be.
The majority of the upcoming tour dates are also sold out, and it’s not surprising to see why. It was so refreshing to see so many people fully engaged in the show. Every time Hozier stopped to chat with the audience to tell the backstory to the new material and then announce the song, he was greeted with the loudest roars imaginable from the fans. Every time he tours, the venues get bigger and bigger, clearly showing his career growth.
Typically when someone tours in support of a new album, they still only perform a handful of songs from it. This was not the case here with the majority of the setlist, an impressive ten songs to be precise, being from Unreal Unearth. The whole night kicked off exactly how it meant to go on with the first two opening tracks from the album, De Selby (Part 1) and De Selby (Part 2) before launching into “Eat Your Young” to ear-splitting screams from the audience. The set included the popular “Jackie and Wilson,” “From Eden,” “Dinner & Diatribes,” and “Almost (Sweet Music).” Just before the encore came the mega-hit “Take Me To Church” before the encore ended the show with “Cherry Wine,” “Nina Cried Power,” and the show finale “Work Song.”
Bear in mind, anytime you see a show announcement for Hozier, be sure to set yourself a reminder for when the tickets go on sale because you have to be fast. They will sell out. This is a career that sky-rocketed from his very first single and is only gaining momentum.
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HUNTINGTON BANK PAVILION AT NORTHERLY ISLAND
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