A gig on a Sunday night isn’t always something people are wanting to do as it is the night before people go back to work. But I think this gig was the best way to spend a Sunday night and let me tell you why. Though the show was at Spark Arena, it was still a small show and the intimate show really suited the acts we were all about to see tonight.
The crowd had packed in quite a bit as Hollie Smith took the stage. Honestly, I’m just going to say this now, I don’t think they could not have chosen a more perfect opening act. Though this isn’t normal for Hollie either as she let the crowd know it was her first time opening for someone big. The crowd couldn’t help but say “Awwww”. Marika Hodgson accompanied her on stage to play an array of instruments. I also have to mention Hollie’s outfit which you can see in the photos – I loved it and the somewhat grunge aesthetic of it. But anyway Hollie gave a beautiful performance with a new song, a few tracks we know and a couple of covers. She even threw some jokes in there. Saying she’s going to stuff up songs and telling everyone to “drink responsibly and all that” while she took a sip of her drink. The crowd loved Hollie’s deep soulful vocals and cheered whenever she really pushed her voice. I admired Hollie for taking the time to address what has been happening in the world and NZ recently. She let everyone know that “we’re all going through our battles” and that she has “seen some beautiful things in this country in the last few months”. But also made sure to remind people that we need to continue to “do our part”. “We’re struggling with our battle with the earth. Don’t kill each other”. And before diving into her final track she added: “Something different doesn’t mean it’s a danger to you”. Then with the crowd reflecting she gave a powerful performance of ‘Bathe in the River’.
Then after a short wait, Hozier took the stage. But before he did, his 7-piece band took the stage first. He gave an incredible performance. I really couldn’t help but feel it and move as his vocals rang loud throughout the arena. “I can’t tell you how fucking incredible it is to be back”. There was something nice about having a full band. Each instrument really came through and it felt like each song was so much raw because of it. The setlist had a mix of new songs and also songs from his self-titled album (see setlist below).
The lighting beautifully accompanied the songs and he even had visuals of a window and draped curtains. It kept the theme with the housing in the Wasteland Baby album cover and single artwork. Hozier and his band were really getting into their performance and I don’t know if it was because they were just having a great time or it was the last show and they were going out with a bang. I’m going to say both. They celebrated a successful tour with a drink of Whiskey as they went into the last song. Hozier thanked his band continuously throughout the night but at the end, he thanked again as well as his team and he let us know all of them by name which was nice rather than just saying, my team.
He particularly made a big deal about his photographer/videographer Christian Tierney who was parting ways with them after the show to move on to “greener pastures” as Hozier says. But it was a beautiful moment and I don’t think he could have ended the show with a more perfect song ‘Work Song’.
It was an incredible show and definitely a perfect way to spend a Sunday night. It has been a long wait to have him here again but I have to say the wait was worth it!’
Would That I Dinner & Diatribes
Nine Cried Power
Someone New Angel of Small Death & The Codeine
Nobody From Eden
To Be Alone
Almost (Sweet Music)
Jackie & Wilson
Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)
Take Me To Church