Rock band NEEDTOBREATHE move me with their spiritual lyrics. Lyrics that truly reflect how I feel as a Christian. This incredible band is meant to be seen live. And, as such, I was excited to see them open for pop band OneRepublic in Camden, New Jersey on Sunday, July 24, 2022.
During the COVID-19 quarantine, NEEDTOBREATHE created, composed, and recorded their eighth studio album, Into the Mystery, released one year after their previous project, Out of Body. It was great hearing and singing many of the new songs, as well as ones from previous albums, live after what seems like forever of socially distancing. To me, NEEDTOBREATHE’s new music was an ode to freedom and a celebration of community that brings people together. What’s worth noting is that this was my 15th time seeing my favorite band in concert.
NEEDTOBREATHE opened with “Great Night,” a song that had the capacity crowd singing along at the top of their lungs. Lead singer Bear Rinehart then broke into the band’s amazing, blues-inflected rocker “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now.” The song builds to a ripping guitar part and Bear’s vocals shined on this incredible song. At this point, standing about 10 rows from the stage, I wondered if I’d be able to hear after the show.
Next was “Banks,” an achingly beautiful song, both musically and, even more so, lyrically. The song is about the desire to maintain the joy in a married relationship (Bear beautifully sings to his wife). I’ve been married to my wife for 28 years, so this song speaks to me personally: “I wanna be there when the darkness closes in/To make the truth a little clearer/I wanna hold you close but never hold you back/I'll be the banks for your river.”
They continued with “Money & Fame,” which is in the style of "Maybe They're Onto Us" and "Where the Money Is," with the wisdom: "What do you kids want to know about now?/I've made enough to make a young gun proud/Money and fame bring a man shame, ain't no doubt about it."
Their amazing opening set included their anthem, “The Outsiders.” As Christians, we truly are ‘outsiders’ and we need to ‘stand our ground’ as this anthem urges. NEEDTOBREATHE then did a great cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” which prompted OneRepublic fans to sing along with something they knew. The song got them engaged.
The fun was non-stop as they jumped right to their new party song, “Talk of the Town,” which Bear described as his four-year-old son’s favorite song. The dancing was in full effect, which had the growing crowd anticipating OneRepublic with electric energy. I realized just how much I missed singing songs in person with strangers.
Next was “I Wanna Remember,” the hit song NEEDTOBREATHE recorded with country crooner Carrie Underwood. Like “Banks,” and “Stones Under Rushing Water,” the song is about the joys of a married relationship. It reminds us to not let the laughing, the smiling, and the tender moments fade away.
The hit song, “Washed By The Water,” had the crowd again singing along. The song’s end was powerful: “Even when the rain falls/Even when the flood starts rising/Even when the storm comes/I’ll be washed by the water.”
Bear Rinehart left the stage and walked around with a microphone and gave concertgoers high-fives as he sang “Sunshine.” I already loved the song, but since hearing the live performance, I’ve listened to it nonstop. The song’s message of hope reverberated through the crowd, connecting us together.
They closed with the sing-along anthems, “Brother” and “Riding High.” The message of brotherly love and the crowd singing along loudly, “Brother, let me be your shelter/Never leave you all alone/I can be the one you call/When you’re low/Brother, let me be your fortress/When the night winds are driving on/Be the one to light the way/Bring you home,” near Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, was especially poignant. “Riding High” is just a pure rocker and melted my face off. We loved it.
Suffice it to say, the high energy created by NEEDTOBREATHE was the perfect primer to this very enjoyable night of community, attended by over 20,000 fans. OneRepublic opened with “Kids,” “Good Life,” and “Stop and Stare,” and the crowd was all bouncing and singing along with lead singer Ryan Tedder’s emotional vocals and uplifting songs. I loved the performances of “Rescue Me,” “Secrets” and “Love Runs Out.” The high-energy and emotional songs continued with hit after hit, including “Feel Again,” “I Ain’t Worried,” “Apologize,” “I Lived,” “Counting Stars” and “If I Lose Myself.”
This concert had a great balance of upbeat rockers and reflective ballads. Many songs throughout the night expressed my emo feelings. Yet, as a Christian, I’m reminded that I’m not made for this world. See NEEDTOBREATHE in concert if you like quality music and a fantastic concert experience.
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music and an avid music collector. He credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters. (Image Credit: NEEDTOBREATHE)
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