San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Hozier takes San Diego on an unearthly journey

The artist performed his sold-out show at Petco Park, giving his audience a divine experience
Mariadelcarmen Zuniga
Hozier performs under moody lighting at Petco Park on Oct. 29.

“It is so f— good to see you,” Hozier exclaimed to his sold-out audience at Petco Park on Sunday, Oct. 29. The touching performance proved yet again that Hozier is a once-in-a-lifetime artist, constantly pushing the boundaries and limits of the music industry.

It’s not easy to come across a musical artist who holds the ability to effortlessly entrance an audience with their voice. 

To captivate a crowd of thousands with a breathtaking visual performance for two hours is an even more daunting challenge.

The Irish singer and songwriter managed to accomplish both of these elements at his nostalgia-ridden show, creating a magical night full of powerful vocals, striking visuals and peaceful comradery. The downtown San Diego show marks the first of his final four shows on his “Unreal Unearth Tour.”

Earlier this year, Hozier released his most recent album, “Unreal Unearth,” which fed fans the comfort of his unique sound while focusing on themes such as the nature of life, death and self-reflection. The tour, which began in June, is a celebration of the release of the third album to his name. 

Madison Cunningham, an emerging artist from San Diego, was the opener for the show. Her entrance to the stage received a warm welcome from fans urgently awaiting music to start the night. 

Cunningham’s impressive vocal range easily guided the talent to come for the rest of the night. The artist and her band built on their folky foundations with beautiful guitar strums and the familiar sounds of steady tambourines. 

The artist performed a variety of songs from her discography, including “All I’ve Ever Known,” “Hospital” and “Pin It Down.”

Madison Cunningham performs at Petco Park on Oct. 29 as an opener for Hozier. (Mariadelcarmen Zuniga)

Unlike other performances, there was an unwavering energy of genuine presence — an exciting desire to watch and enjoy the artist in the moment, rather than fans pushing through the crowd for the best view or recording the entirety of the experience on their phones. 

After Cunningham’s set, the crowd was excited for the main act. The rest of the sold out audience gathered on grassy outskirts of the baseball field to get a good view of the set. Another majority of the crowd stayed behind to set up blankets to watch in relaxation. 

Hozier opened up his performance with a song off of his newest album titled “De Selby (Part 1).” The sensitive start to the evening warmed the crowd up to the emotional rollercoaster expected of a Hozier concert, flowing from soft and emotional to bassy and dense. 

The initial shock came from his completely and utterly spectacular vocals. It’s hard to find many artists that sound better than they do on streaming services, but Hozier’s powerful voice echoed heartily throughout the stadium, proving that he’s just as good live as in the recordings. 

His stunning vocals were only enhanced by the visual presentation of the performance. Cameras lit up the performance on screens on each end of the stage, magnifying Hozier along with his talented band and backup vocalists, all of which added an incredible amount of depth to the evening. 

The artist performed a variety of both new and old songs, from “Cherry Wine” and “Like Real People Do,” from his first self-titled album release, to “Movement” and “Would That I,” from his second album “Wasteland, Baby!” 

In Halloween spirit, Hozier traveled back to his Irish roots to sing the first verse of the old Irish poem “I am Stretched On Your Grave.” 

Another special aspect about this performance was the personability he created with his audience. The artist constantly interacted with his crowd and applauded the harmonious vocals that echoed through the stadium when the crowd sang in unity. His witty presence gave for lighthearted breaks after heavy emotional songs. 

His genuine appreciation and commemoration for his band didn’t go unnoticed. Multiple times throughout the night, he introduced his band, acknowledging the impact they had on creating a more than successful performance. 

The audience could feel the band’s cohesion and solidarity. The sentimentality of the night especially impacted long term fans, such as Kat Burns, a first-year business major at San Diego State University.

Hozier fans hold signs which read “This Icarus Is Abstract Psycopomp” and “This Is My Sunday Mass” up to the stage from the barricades. (Mariadelcarmen Zuniga)

“My experience at Hozier was nothing short of amazing. From listening to “Take Me To Church” when I was 8 years old, to blasting his new album “Unreal Unearth all around my new school campus,” she said. “I have always really liked Hozier’s music and vibe, and his voice is insane.”

A unique element that sets Hozier’s performances apart from other artist performances is the guided visuals he uses in the set to create a cinematic experience. 

For his opening song, a night sky of stars lit up the backdrop. During “Cherry Wine,” a mesmerizing red moon lit up the backdrop, lining up perfectly with the progression of the song.

Before Hozier exited the stage, he played by far his most popular song “Take Me To Church,” which the audience loudly sang along and swayed to. 

What performance isn’t complete without an encore? Hozier didn’t leave his fans hanging and re-joined the stage to play “Nina Cried Power,” a song that addresses the ability of art to create change. 

Before the crowd united for the last song, Hozier decided to use the stage to talk about the current issues the world is facing. He issued a call to action, asking the audience to reach out to their legislators to incite change. 

The final song of the night was one of his most popular, titled “Work Song.”  The artist invited opener Madison Cunningham back onstage to join his performance. The full-circle end of the night was an incredible way to wrap-up the evening. 

Post-performance, the artist took to Instagram to tell his followers what he thought of the show.

“San Diego! Thank you for being such a sweet crowd and for joining myself and @madicunningham at @petcopark. I had a lot of fun with you, have a spooky one tonight,” Hozier said.

About the Contributor
Gwenyth Hoebing
Gwenyth Hoebing, Staff Writer
Gwenyth Hoebing is a sophomore studying Journalism Media Studies at San Diego State University. She writes for the arts and culture section of the Daily Aztec, specializing in music events happening in the San Diego area, along with student events held on campus. She is passionate about all things arts and culture, from music, to film and books. After college, she is hoping to pursue a career in media or news. She is excited to tackle the 2022-2023 school year with the Daily Aztec team!