The first time I saw Hozier, he was playing on the Pression Live stage at Rock en Seine, in August 2014. It was even before his first album was released, and the crowd kept asking him to play his single Take Me To Church. Many left after they got what they wanted.
Two years later, here he is, playing two sold out shows at the Folies Bergère for fans who know all the lyrics by heart. Yet, the crowd seems more reserved than when he’d done a show at the Olympia in July 2015. Or maybe the venue conveys this atmosphere. The young Rhodes, who’s opening the evening alone with his guitar, seems to agree (“You’re all so quiet, in this big room” he says, laughing). He’s coming back to Paris for his solo tour in less than two weeks, on February 4th at La Maroquinerie, and I enjoy this little glimpse of what he has in store for us. The crowd claps shyly, impressed by the British boy’s powerful voice. He eventually leaves the stage to Hozier, who he admires a lot and keeps thanking.
Since that first time at Rock en Seine, the Irish singer has become more confident. He is more talkative than ever, and even bickers with man over his now traditional explanation of In a Week. He laughs to his own jokes, makes faces when he occasionally makes a mistakes and offers us an intense performance, with songs such as To Be Alone, Cherry Wine or Arsonist’s Lullabye. The crowd remains quietly seated (maybe a bit too quietly) and only stands up for Take Me To Church, which ends the show before the encore.
Here, we cannot help but miss the almost electric atmosphere of his show at the Olympia, when all the people in the pit stood pressed against one another, singing in unison. Still, the one at the Folies Bergère remains magical like every single one of Hozier’s concerts. The setlist is relatively the same as last time, except for his cover of Ariana Grande’s Problem, replaced by The Beatles’s Blackbird. The show ends with Work Song, which is in my opinion an excellent choice since musicians and spectators clap along the rhythm together – well, more or less in sync.
There’s one thing we know for sure: if Hozier did such a great job at moving us with his first LP, we can’t wait to hear his next one…
1 Like Real People Do
2 Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
3 From Eden
4 Jackie and Wilson
5 To Be Alone
6 Someone New
7 Blackbird (The Beatles cover)
8 It Will Come Back
9 In a Week
10 Arsonist’s Lullabye
12 Take Me To Church
13 Cherry Wine
14 Work Song