Through the pouring rain, students rushed to Trojan Arena to experience the NEEDTOBREATHE concert on Friday, April 17.
Before the South Carolina band took the stage, however, Nashville rocker Ben Rector came out to warm up the crowd.
Rector touched the crowd’s hearts with a song called “The Men Who Drive Me Places,” describing his experience with a cab driver.
Rector said that the cabbie’s great service, even at 5 a.m., inspired him to be grateful in all situations.
NEEDTOBREATHE took the stage next, opening with a song from its latest album, “Rivers in the Wasteland.”
The song, “State I’m In,” featured heavy guitars and set the stage for the rest of the show.
The six-piece ensemble featured two drum sets, two guitarists, and the two brothers who started the band, Bear and Bo Rinehart.
Bear, the lead singer, spoke early about his association with Troy.
“They asked us if we knew where Troy was,” Bear Rinehart said. “I said, ‘Yeah, we drove here, didn’t we?’”
Bear explained that he played football for Furman University, an FCS school, back when Troy was a Division II (now known as FCS) team.
“We always knew how good your football team was,” Bear Rinehart said.
The group bounced easily between upbeat tunes and slower anthems, between earlier songs such as “Washed by the Water” and newer singles like “The Heart.”
NEEDTOBREATHE played original songs the whole night, with one exception.
In the middle of their song “Wanted Man,” the group moved into a cover of Aerosmith’s 1975 song “Sweet Emotion.”
NEEDTOBREATHE left the stage early, but chants of “encore” called them back.
The group finished the night with its latest single, “Brother,” and a rendition of its 2007 hit “Washed by the Water.”
From contemporary Christian songs to secular lyrics, the show was focused on appealing to the whole crowd.
Wesley Carney, a senior ecology and field biology major from Estill Springs, Tennessee, said he enjoyed the concert.
“The concert was great,” Carney said. “The bands brought a lot of energy, despite the size of the crowd.”
The smaller crowd made the experience more intimate for those in attendance.
The crowd spent the entirety of the show fully engaged in the music that surrounded them.
“NEEDTOBREATHE exceeded my expectations with their live show,” Carney said. “Bear’s vocals were incredible, and the talent the band displayed was phenomenal.”
NEEDTOBREATHE, Rector, and another band called Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors will kick off their “Tour de Compadres” in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, April 23.