How does an artist known for his impossibly gorgeous lyrics and painfully familiar tales of love translate the intimacy of his work to a sold-out crowd of nearly 5,000 fans? For Hozier, it was second nature. Like squid ink rapidly devouring the crystal clear pools of saltwater that surround him, Hozier’s soul seeped from his lips and bled to every corner of the Bellco Theatre until the venue was covered in his blanket of holy bliss. We laid under his command like devote disciples throughout the entirety of his sermon. We left purified by his spoken truths and fundamentally altered by the visitation of the angels who graced the stage. April 5 started out like any other day but will go down in history as one of the most unexpectedly religious experiences to grace those in attendance.

Photo courtesy of Jade Bird’s Facebook

A dove that goes by the name Jade Bird delivered a peace offering before Hozier approached the altar. Venturing all the way from London to the Denver stage with nothing but white-clad apparel and a snow-frosted guitar, Jade Bird quickly showed us why there was simply no room for anything else but her performance. With the first note sung, Jade Bird hypnotized the audience with her utterly pure talent. There was no question about her arrival, it became immediately clear why Jade Bird was exactly where she was at that moment. Jade Bird was born to sing. She’s an old soul touched with divine wisdom using her power to remind her mortal counterparts of the sacred truths she seemed to so easily put into words. She fluttered away too soon leaving us in a state of unshakeable admiration and appreciation for the perfectly fitting opener.

With no exaggerated downtime or flashy pyrotechnics to introduce the man himself, Hozier and his council took the stage opening with “Would That I” from his latest album Wasteland, Baby! Although it’s proven impossible for Hozier to produce an unfitting song, “Would That I” was a particularly apt selection to open with. Equal parts delicate and dynamic, “Would That I” encompassed the very essence of Hozier’s draw. Following with a few more selections from Wasteland, Baby!, the sermon was well underway and not a seat in the room dared to question the sanctity of the experience.

Praise erupted when the first recognizable note from “Jackie and Wilson” rang through. The crowd served as a choir, amplifying each word along with Andrew Hozier-Byrne and his supporting band members Alex Ryan, Rory Doyle, Suzanne Santo, Cormac Curran, Kristen Rogers, Rachel Beauregard, and Thandii. Each song drew involuntary participation from the crowd — the venue filled with the energy of thousands of people chanting the same tune.

Photo by Ellie Herring
With the same amount of grace the composition of his songs carry, the setlist for the evening beautifully weaved between new and old. Each selection complimented the previous and forthcoming song which created a poetic dance between the familiar and contemporary. Ending with just that, Hozier saved his final words for Wasteland, Baby! favorite “Movement” before closing the show with the unanimously cried “Take Me to Church.”
Left radically changed by the holy experience, the audience stood shocked in disbelief of the genius just witnessed. Each and every person radiated with joy as if touched by some otherworldly being. Making sure to leave no soul yearning, Hozier returned for an encore and graciously delivered “Cherry Wine” and “Work Song.” Now, the ceremony was complete. With the memory of each breath forever etched into our souls, the experience will serve as a reminder of the purest form of the human experience — sweet music.

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