Hozier celebrated a landmark moment in Charlotte with Allison Russell to kick off outdoor concert season

By Cicely Gordon 

April 25, 2024

Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure

Outdoor concert season in Charlotte got off to a rousing start Tuesday night as Irish folk/soul artist Andrew Hozier-Byrne graced the stage at PNC Music Pavilion for the third stop on his Unreal Unearth Tour. With clear skies and well-timed breezes, it was a picturesque evening as eager fans of all ages dressed in Hozier band shirts, flowy bohemian dresses and earthy accessories.

Hozier is the first Irish artist with a No. 1 song on the Billboard charts since the late Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” in 1990. Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure

Fresh off the news of his single, “Two Sweet,” reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the 34-year-old blues and gospel-influenced crooner dazzled the sold-out crowd. The chart-topping song is also landmark moment for the Ireland native; he’s the first Irish artist to earn a No. 1 song since the late Sinéad O’Connor accomplished the feat in April of 1990 for “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

Allison Russell opening for Hozier Tuesday night in Charlotte at PNC Music Pavilion. Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure

Canadian Americana/folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Allison Russell, opened the show. Early on, she showcased her musical dexterity by breaking out her flute and banjo for songs like “Springtime,” from her latest album, The Returner. “Demons” had the crowd engaged, singing along in unison as her royal blue floor-length skirt whimsically floated across the stage. With messages of inclusivity throughout her nearly 40-minute set, she welcomed fans of all backgrounds and orientations. Russell also gave gracious praise to her dynamic all-female band (which she dubs “The Rainbow Coalition”) featuring an accomplished cast of musicians such as Elenna Canlas (keys), Joy Clark (guitar), and Caoi de Barra (drums). 

Russell also joined Hozier on stage for “Wildflower and Barley” and evening’s finale, “Work Song.” Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure

As the stage darkened and audience members shrieked for their first glimpse of Hozier, one single spotlight pointed down on the microphone, as Hozier made his way to the light.  Effortlessly grabbing his acoustic guitar on the way with his thick brown mane flowing over his denim jacket, he strummed the first notes to “De Selby (Part 1).” 

Hozier performing in Charlotte for the first time since 2019 at PNC Music Pavilion Tuesday night. Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure

Elevating the energy with “Jackie and Wilson” from his self-titled debut in 2014, Hozier’s 20-song set featured an equal mix of tracks from his three-album catalog. With air-tight production featuring a full seven-piece band and his divine back-up vocalists, the set was both sonically and visually stimulating. An array of colorful lighting, engaging video collages, and tree branches grew from the top of the stage as the show progressed, as nearly 19,000 fans in attendance remained enthralled throughout his almost two-hour-long set.

Russell returned to the stage to join Hozier for their duet, “Wildflower and Barley.” Their onstage chemistry was palpable from their time on tour together, as they blended their vocal styles and range on the sultry track. 

As Hozier’s set was nearing an end, blue flames engulfed the base of the stage as he began singing his eagerly anticipated 2013 hit song, “Take Me to Church.” A sea of waving arms and an uproar of voices filled the arena as fans belted along to every word of the heartfelt anthem. 

Following the grand performance of his first breakout song, the lights faded black again as the band exited the stage to a deafening standing ovation. Hozier then emerged next to the mixing board on a small platform stage for the first of his three-song encore. He performed his acoustic “Cherry Wine,” as the crowd swayed to the somber lyrics about the trappings of an abusive relationship. 

Hozier performed a 20-song set playing an equal mix of his three studio albums: ‘Hozier’ (2014), ‘Wasteland, Baby!,’ and ‘Unreal Unearth’ (2023). Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure

Following the ballad, Hozier returned to the stage and spoke about injustices in the world prior to “Nina Cried Power,” a tribute to musicians such as Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, Joni Mitchell, and Mavis Staples who used their musical gifts to protest against injustice. 

Russell once again joined Hozier to close out the night with a spiritual performance of “Work Song.” The crowd hung on to every note as all members of the band were in sync like a gospel choir. It was a fitting end to a celestial evening of music and a splendid start to outdoor concert season in Charlotte. 

Hozier’s three-song encore included “Cherry Wine,” “Nina Cried Power,” and “Work Song” with Allison Russell. Photo: Wendy Hernandez / CLTure


“De Selby (Part 1)“
“De Selby (Part 2)“
“Jackie and Wilson”
“Too Sweet”
“To Be Alone”
“Dinner & Diatribes”
“It Will Come Back”
“Like Real People Do”
“Wildflower and Barley” with Allison Russell
“Abstract (Psychopomp)“
“Would That I”
“Almost (Sweet Music)“
“Eat Your Young”
“Take Me to Church”


“Cherry Wine”
“Nina Cried Power”
“Work Song” with Allison Russell

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