Album Review :
NEEDTOBREATHE- Rivers In The Wasteland Tour

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Let me start off by saying *spoiler alert* if you are planning on going to this tour and don’t want to know any of the surprises, stop reading now.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to the review.

Opener Foy Vance took the stage at 8pm in a jaunty cap and with an impressive handlebar mustache. If his looks aren’t your style, his voice and stage persona would probably win you over within a few minutes of his set. The Irish singer-songwriter had some gritty vocals and with the help of a loop pedal sounded like more than just one guy on stage with his guitar. His banter and storytelling in between songs was funny and entertaining. His accent and Irish colloquialisms only added to his charm. He ended the opening set by teaching the crowd part of his song “Guiding Light” and sparking a sing-a-long, he simply walked off stage while the crowd kept his song lingering.

There was a bit of stage rearranging before NEEDTOBREATHE started. They removed the pipe and drape that had acted as the backdrop for Foy Vance to reveal a stage that was flanked by teepees and backed by a geometric light display. The house lights went off, red stage lights came up and you could practically feel everyone holding their breath waiting for those South Carolina boys to take the stage.

My expectations were set high and they did not disappoint. With a set lasting almost an hour and a half Bear Rinehart and Co. left everything they had on the stage. They are clearly musicians at heart with almost every song having a mini-jam session at either it’s intro or outro. Instruments included a banjo, mandolins, and a harmonica in addition to the typical bass, guitar, drums, and keys. I love watching musicians do their thing but I did have a tendency to ADD out a bit during the longer instrumental parts. When you want them to play their whole discography, you get impatient waiting for the next song.

I have never been to a NEEDTOBREATHE show where there has been a lot of talking from the stage, they tend to let the music do the talking and the Minneapolis show was no exception; music heavy, talking light. The few words that were said from stage were powerful though. Bear talked about the time between The Reckoning and the making of Rivers InThe Wasteland saying, “we got a lot of stuff screwed up, a lot of our priorities out of order,” and went on to mention their original drummer leaving and the documentary they put out late last year. It was a courageous display of honesty. Bear mentioned that the last time they were in town it was at the point where the band wasn’t even speaking, even having separate dressing rooms in venues just to avoid one another. They realized that they needed to be family more than they needed to be a band, out of that Bo wrote the song “Brother.” Naturally, an acoustic version of “Brother” came next with just Bear and Bo starting it off and the rest of the guys joining in later. It was definitely a highlight of the concert for most judging by the applause.

NTB Live_MinneapolisThey managed to squeeze in almost all of Rivers In The Wasteland and multiple other songs from albums ranging all the way back to The Heat, hitting majority of the major singles. Minneapolis just couldn’t get enough, they came back for not one but two encores.

If you have the chance to catch them on this tour (sorry south west states, seems they may not make it to you) do it. They are incredible performers, amazing musicians, their songs get wedged in your heart and they have a vulnerability boiling just below the surface that makes them real.


  1. Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now
  2. Oh, Carolina
  3. Difference Maker
  4. Wanted Man
  5. GAH
  6. Float On (cover) by Modest Mouse
  7. Drive All Night
  8. Girl Named Tennessee
  9. Washed By The Water
  10. Multiplied
  11. Wasteland
  12. Keep Your Eyes Open
  13. Something Beautiful
  14. Brother


  1. The Heart
  2. The Outsiders

Encore II:

  1. More Heart, Less Attack
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