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3/12/03 Town Hall, New York, NY
Almost-forgotten show on Broadway
No setlist, no photos, no known recording to jog my memory--this is going to be a hell of a review, eh?
A month after playing at the Bowery, Donna returned to New York City, only this time to much nicer digs at Town Hall, which is an amazing theater on 43rd St. near Broadway. They were playing the first of several dates as the opening act for Old and in the Gray, the reincarnation of the bluegrass lineup Old and in the Way that produced an enormously popular album of the same name in 1975 with a guy by the name of Jerry Garcia on banjo. This version of the band featured orginal members David Grisman, Peter Rowan, and Vassar Celements, plus Herb Pedersen on banjo and Bryn Bright replacing original bassist John Kahn.
The results were of course outstanding, but I was more interested in Donna's set. I had scored some tickets in the front row of the balcony and so I had an excellent view. In addition, the acoustics of Town Hall were superb.
Unfortunately, those factors did very little to help me remember the set. Overall the band seemed a little nervous, not as loose as usual, but the performances were neither spectacular nor flat. Tides of Times and Don't Leave Me Behind were two songs I particularly enjoyed because I remember they were played, as was Conscious Evolution. I think. It seemed odd to be watching Donna from way up in the balcony when just a month early I had seen them in a small club. I couldn't help but think that if someday Donna got very popular, venues like this might be the norm.
The set seemed over all too quick, and while the crowd seemed appreciative, it was clear that they'd come to see Old and in the Gray. I saw very few Herd at this show, though at this point I hadn't really met anyone. I left glad to have seen the band in this venue, but glad I'd get to see them do a full show up close and personal very soon after that.