jakub | October 21, 2023

NEEDTOBREATHE brings their “Caves” Tour to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on October 17, 2023



The fans came into Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY ready to rock with Needtobreathe and Judah and the Lion. While it was not a sold-out crowd, the energy that was in the room from start to finish was palpable. People were on their feet from when Judah and the Lion stepped out onto the stage until Needtobreathe ended their encore. The energy was electric and the audience was fully engaged.

The lights lowered and a little after 7 PM and the crowd roared to life as Judah and the Lion took the stage. While I was unsure what to expect from them, the crowd was familiar with this band, which is unusual sometimes in the case of an opener. They brought great energy to their set and set the tone for the night. Their energy and rock sound kept the energy high throughout their set. They even threw a few covers in there, like Lil Jon’s “Snap Your Fingers,” which had the audience engaged. 

Their set consisted of eleven songs total and the audience sang along with each one. The memorable for the audience was when Judah, the lead singer, came out into the audience for their final song, “Take it All Back.” He jumped down into the pit and was dancing with them, and then he went out further into the arena. This was a highlight for those especially further away from the stage to make them feel even more connected with the show. 


Judah and the Lion:

Judah Akers– Vocals/Guitar
Brian Macdonald– Mandolin/Vocals




1.) Take a Walk
2.) Quarter-Life Crisis
3.) Over My Head
4.) Suit and Jacket
5.) My Own Worst Enemy (Lit Cover)
6.) Snap Yo Fingers (Lil Jon Cover)
7.) Only Want the Best
8.) Spirit
9.) Alright (frick it!)
10.) Going to Mars
11.) Take It All Back


At about 8:30 the stage has been set for the main event, and the audience is waiting with anticipation. Needtobreathe steps onto the stage and puts on a show of 24 songs that spans the breadth  of a storied career. They cover songs from their most recent release Caves to some of their older music off their first album, Heat with songs like “We Could Run Away” and “Washed by the Water.”

The show began with a bang with high energy numbers like “The Cave,” moving into “State I’m in” to “Don’t Bring that Trouble.”  They hold the high octane energy with crowd favorites, “Drive All Night” and “The Outsiders.” Needtobreathe does a fantastic job of taking the audience on a musical journey of high-energy, up-tempo songs to more melodic, heartfelt, ballad numbers. They slow things down a bit for “Who Am I” just to pick the tempo back up for “Riding High,” and “Wasting Time.” With “Wasting Time,” there was a great moment where Josh Lovelace was able to come out from behind the keys and really wow the audience with some harmonica playing. Then Tyler Burkham joined him and took it up a notch with an impressive guitar solo. 

Needtobreathe slowed things down and went into almost an acoustic set which was nice to hear that they can not only bring a high-energy show but also show some expert musicianship and raw vulnerability with several acoustic numbers. They started out with “Everknown” off their new album, Caves, and then went into “Banks” and sang for the first time this tour, “I Wanna Remember,” the song they sang with Carrie Underwood. The high-energy show returned with “Girl Named Tennessee” which then led into a cover of The Who hit, “Baba O’Riley.” Following that allowed Bear Rhinehart to make it out into the audience to sing “Brother” in which he made his rounds around the entire arena, stopping to take pictures and engage with the fans. They closed out the main set with an oldie off their debut album, “We Could Run Away,” and stepped off the stage until the encore. 

The encore was four songs, but felt very sentimental and heartfelt with three of the four being more ballad in nature and two were acoustic. They brought Judah and the Lion out for the song “Dreams,” off their newest release, which is a song that had the whole audience dancing. Needtobreathe and Judah and the Lion even took a moment to bring up several people to dance with the band in the last fourth of the song. They finished the night with “Something Beautiful” and “Washed by the Water,” which are clearly crowd favorites. The crowd had been singing along all night but these were sung with passion and a clear love by the audience that permeated the room. It made for a special intimate moment in a large arena to close out the show that would stick with fans for a while. 



Bear Rhinehart– Lead Vocals & Guitar
Josh Lovelace– Keyboard
Seth Bolt-Bass
Randall Harris– Drums
Tyler Burkham– Guitar




1.) The Cave
2.) State I’m In
3.) Don’t Bring That Trouble
4.) Let’s Stay Home Tonight
5.) Drive All Night
6.) The Outsiders
7.) Who Am I
8.) Riding High
9.) Wasting Time
10.) Everknown
11.) Banks
12.) I Wanna Remember
13.) Great Night
14.) Fall on Me
15.) Hang On
16.) Girl Named Tennessee
17.) Baba O’Riley (The Who Cover)
18.) Brother
19.) Multiplied
20.) We Could Run Away


21.) Temporary Tears
22.) Dreams
23.) Something Beautiful
24.) Washed by the Water




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