NEEDTOBREATHE - Live at HBF Stadium
With the tour entitled "Make a Difference" and the night being sponsored by World Vision, I half knew what to expect rocking up to the gig Monday night. After figuring out that HBF Stadium is actually Challenge stadium with a new name - I walked into an intimate room setup, as half the stadium was cleared out with black cloth. To add to that intimate feel, chairs were spread across the "standing" section of the stadium as the night kicked off with an acoustic artist Levi McGrath.
As more people arrived, excited for the main event (being Third Day) the MC's for the evening introduced the band I was definitely anticipating, the South Carolinian rock n roll band NEEDTOBREATHE. In true southern tradition, Bear walks on with southern-styled hat on head and guitar over shoulder. The boys (5 on stage) open with two huge tracks, one from an older album, and "State I'm In" from the recent album (Rivers in the Wasteland,) and they had the audience hooked in under 10 minutes.
Bear addresses the audience "humbled" by the positive response from the crowd. As first-timers to our country, he makes fans of us all in the crowd by confessing his love for our home down under. Sounding identical to the track, Bear, brother Bo, and band mate Seth provide acapella three-part harmonies in songs like "Difference Maker" & "Multiplied." With so much energy radiating off the stage, as banjo's and organ-samples echo throughout the stadium, at one point in the night a group of younger fans attempted to leave their seats and move to the side to dance to the up-beat show stopper "Oh Carolina" before they were asked to be seated. But that was ok as Bo decided to bring the guitar solo to the crowd - leaping off the stage and running through the now standing crowd on the floor. We were championed with the accolade of "most wild crowd yet on this tour" which was quickly met with a wild cheer, in agreement of course.
The evening slows down with a couple of slow-jams from their previous albums. Once these were done, all the members of the band except the two Rinehart brothers left the stage. With acoustic guitars in hand, Bear started telling the story of the major falling out between the two brothers which sparked Bo writing the hit single for the band "Brother." After encouraging the audience to confront the people in their lives that they have fallen out with, channelling the underlying theme of forgiveness, the beautiful lyrics are sung out by the two brothers along with the rest of HBF Stadium
"Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low"
As the rest of the band joins the brothers to finish the song, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how a simple song can bring a room of strangers together. As the song came to a close, and the band took their bow, the audience responded with a well-deserved standing ovation. The heart, soul and effort these boys left in Perth has proved to me this is a band of guys in this business for the love of the music, and their fans. I would love to see them headlining a show back in Oz in the near future, our country is falling in love with this little country band.
- Justin Gimondo