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8/18/04 South Street Seaport, New York, NY
Setlist (courtesy donnabase.com)
Movin' On, The Ones You Love, Consious Evolution, No Place Like The Right Time, Ring Of Fire, 40 Days & 40 Nights, Blue Sky, It's The Call, Went Down To The River, Family Picture, Way Back When, Rock Of Ages, Funkyside
Encore: Tides Of Time, Living In The Promiseland

Photos of this show

Back to port
Having seen Donna play at NY's famed South Street Seaport, which is essentially a tourist trap, the previous summer, I was looking forward to the band's return to this outdoor stage for yet another free show. We got to the Seaport by taking a train and then a ferry. In addition to my wife and daughter, I brought along two friends who were seeing Donna for the first time, and one who'd been buffaloed hard at the Touch of Texas show in Johnson City back in April.

We set up right in front of the soundboard, I caught up with Scott, Steve Andrews, and a few other herd, and then the festivities began. Unfortunately, neither the sound nor the band were dialed in from the get-go, and Movin' On sounded flat-out awful. I moved around a bit but things didn't improve much for Ones You Love. At that point, I felt bad for having enticed some friends to make the trip, and was secretly wondering if I was about to witness my first-ever "off" night for Donna the Buffalo.

That little bit of negativity was wiped out hard by the Conscious Evolution the band broke out next. It was an aggressive, almost angry version, seemingly out of nowhere, and it persuaded more than a few casual passers-by that Donna wasn't the folk band they'd been expecting. The song dipped and dived and soared, and by the time it was over, it was all hands on deck, full speed ahead.

By then I'd moved up front, to a more enthusiastic section of the crowd. It was Tara's turn for the spotlight for No Place Like the Right Time, and as she sang she had That Look on her face, the one that makes it seem like she's singing directly to God.

Even non-Donna fans recognized Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, which has become quite a fun addition to the repertoire. 40 Days and 40 Nights was the usual high-energy dance-a-thon, and by now the band had us eating out of their hands. Tara took another turn with a spirited Blue Sky, and then Jeb gave us the NYC area debut of It's The Call, which gave both performers and fans a chance to catch their breath and really pay attention to the lyrics for the moment.

After Went Down to the River, the crowd-favorite Family Picture was next. Way Back When sounded better mid-set than it usually does as an opener, and Tara never sounded more beautiful than she did on Rock of Ages. Funkyside signaled the end of the set, and lower Manhattan had never been funkier.

Tides of Time was a surprise as an encore, and it was only then that I noticed that the accordian hadn't played a very large role in this particular show. Living in the Promiseland finished off the night, and it was pretty obvious that if Donna was interested, the folks who put on the South Street Music Fest would be more than glad to have them back again next year.

In typical NY commuter fashion, we made a mad dash for the ferry, just catching it in the nick of time to avoid waiting an hour for the next one. On the train ride that followed, the two friends who'd just seen their first show were already asking me about the next one.

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