On Monday, November 25, 2019, I had a spiritual experience. It’s been two days since I saw Hozier perform during his residency at the Hammerstein Ballroom and I haven’t been the same (and to address the elephant in the room, yes, you could say he “took me to church.” I’ll roll my eyes too.)
I first started listening to him in high school, 2014, and I was but a baby (but my taste was there!) Honestly, I wasn’t really listening to Wasteland, Baby! when Bee and I bought the tickets. I enjoyed the singles and the EP, but it was during an intense study session earlier this fall where I listened the album and had something shift.
The concert was incredible– as only my second concert (and my first without seats!) I was nervous to be in the General Admissions section. Clocking in at only five feet tall, I feared being squashed. Bee was very kind and had us stay near the back, which worked to my advantage because I could see everything better from farther away. And yes, of course the second I went to the restroom I heard him get on stage (it couldn’t be any other way.) He acknowledged each section in the audience, the gods (in the nosebleeds,) demigods (in the mezzanines,) and us, the mortals on the floor. It felt like a compliment to be a mortal– I think if he were in the crowd, he’d want to be a mortal, too.
One of my favorite moments was when he played Wasteland, Baby! which is my favorite from the album. He explained that when the song was written in 2016, the Doomsday Clock was set so humanity was two minutes from destroying itself. How would we spend those two minutes? Hopefully doing acts of kindness and expressing our feelings to those we love. Writing it now these are things that have been often said to me before, but when those words came out of his mouth in that poetic way, I felt like the most meaningful thing ever. I didn’t think that song would make the set list since it wasn’t played when my friend had seen him in a couple days before, so it felt like a special present just for me.
And then came From Eden. I always liked the song, but it was after I found out Bee liked Hozier too and mentioned that song when I really took the time to appreciate it (I’m guilty of saying I love something and retroactively going back to learn about it so I look cool.) The arrangement played at the concert was slower, and it is now my favorite by miles (here's a version from another concert.) I swayed, sang along, and before I knew it, tears were spilling out of my eyes.
When Hozier the album came out I had never been to a concert. I remember thinking I would save my first concert to someone who was truly worth it, and he was it. And at the start of this year, when Bee and I booked those tickets, I had a full-circle moment; he was going to be my first concert (Kacey Musgraves ended up being my first concert in October, but those tickets were bought later.) I felt I had waited an eternity for it. After the release of Hozier, I remember reading an interview where it was mentioned that it takes Hozier a long time to write songs, and that it would take maybe five years for the next album to come out, a far cry from the standard two or three years that listeners are used to. I was crushed then, but did the math and figured I would be in college on the Mainland, so wherever I was, I’d find him there.
It’s jarring to think about how much life has changed. Where I am now is where me then dreamed of being, from school to city of residence to career experience. I know the last couple posts have been fraught with homesickness and uncertainty about being in New York, but it is moments like these where I realize how lucky I am and how amazing my life has been to this point. It’s wild how those thoughts then manifested themselves into where I am now– I was scared to express my dreams to anyone because I thought they wouldn’t come true. Some things change so much, but some things stay exactly the same.