But the energy they brought to the Michigan Lottery Amphitheater in Sterling Heights, Michigan on Oct. 1 tells a completely new narrative — one of renewal, revival, and electricity.
NEEDTOBREATHE, a Christian rock folk band, opened a new chapter of their career with the surprise release of their latest album, “Into The Mystery,” over the summer. This fall they began the “Into The Mystery” tour — the first tour they’ve been on in two years.
The album did not come easy. NEEDTOBREATHE went from producing albums and touring the nation to being stuck in their houses during the pandemic, unable to perform and unable to work.
But in fall of 2020, NEEDTOBREATHE did the unexpected. The South Carolina crew temporarily moved to a gorgeous, rustic white house in Tennessee for three weeks. In this short time, they wrote, recorded, and produced “Into The Mystery.” They took a film crew with them, too, resulting in a new documentary that will be released at the close of their current 2021 tour season.
“Normally this would take us three years to do, and we’re gonna try and do it in three weeks,” said lead singer Bear Rhinehart in the documentary trailer.
The five-person band spent less than a month under one roof, building a recording studio from the ground up and writing dozens of tracks that would later be finetuned into an album.
“Creativity, at its core, is taking chances,” said guitarist Seth Bolt in the documentary trailer.
NEEDTOBREATHE left everything behind for this moment, and what may have felt like a fruitless season during the pandemic is now another critically-acclaimed album. The finished album features songs with folk rock intensity, an acoustic softness; lyrical masterpieces that encompass all the confusion and heartache of their time off.
Now, the band has begun their “Into The Mystery” tour across the U.S., and this past weekend they stopped just outside of Detroit.
After a two year hiatus, NEEDTOBREATHE didn’t jump into their new music right away. Instead, they told us a story, taking the crowd back down memory lane and performing songs from their entire history.
They opened with “Alive,” a fiery rock and roll song from “Out of Body” that awoke the crowd and sang out the attitude of steadfastness they lived out during the pandemic: “We are alive, our skin is leaving these bones / Fire in the wind, we’re burning out of control / We are the children chasing wondrous thrills / Chasing a vision, baby, like we’re running downhill.”
They continued the journey back in time with “Great Night,” and even “Washed by the Water,” a song written in 2007. But just shy of halfway through the set, they played “Sunshine,” the third track of “Into The Mystery.”
“Sunshine” brought light and life to the crowd as Rineheart declared, “We’re living in sunshine.” This chorus set the tone for the rest of the songs from “Into The Mystery,” inviting us deeper into the intimacy of their artistry.
As NEEDTOBREATHE later settled into a half circle of chairs, they began to perform gentler songs, including “Multiplied,” a popular Christian radio song, and “Banks,” a love story Rinehart wrote to his wife. The quiet songs roared just as loud as the rock songs, shedding a delicacy that welcomed everyone into the tender compassion they have for one another and their loved ones.
NEEDTOBREATHE also performed classics like “Hard Love” and “Who Am I,” hits that have wells of their Christian faith tucked away within the lyrics.
As their closing song, the band performed “West Texas Wind,” the final track on “Into The Mystery.” The chorus spoke a message that closed the journey of the concert, and the journey of the past two years: “I’m running to you like west Texas Wind / Singing God I need you, oh, how I need you / God I need you again.”
Above all, NEEDTOBREATHE spoke a message more powerful than the electric guitars or honky tonk piano riffs — they’re not giving up. NEEDTOBREATHE created an album arguably more illustrious than anything they have produced, and they did it all in three weeks.