Who is Donna the Buffalo, and why does she keep following me?

This fan site isn't affiliated with Donna the Buffalo. Visit the band's official site:


11/6/04, Water Street Music Hall,
Rochester, NY

Setlist (courtesy donnabase.com)
Way Back When, Ancient Arms, Seems To Want To Hurt This Time, No Place Like The Right Time, Conscious Evolution, The Mill, Blue Sky, Senor, These Are Strange Days, Family Picture, Each & Every Direction, 40 Days & 40 Nights, Rock Of Ages, Zydeco> Hey Trudy, It's The Call, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, Funkyside
Encore: Walk On Water, Let's Try Again,* NDN Car**

*with Keith Secola on flute
**with Keith Secola on vocals & drumsticks

Photos of this show

Special guest in a favorite venue
The band has played at Water Street quite a few times in recent years, but this was the first time I'd seen them there. There was almost no one there when Dennis and I arrived at 8:30 and the doors opened soon after that. The venue is carved into various rooms with a lot of nooks and crannies in each, but for some reason we were all forced to crowd into a tiny room they call the Club. A solo guitarist whose name I didn't catch did an admirable job of keeping us distracted until the doors of the main room opened.

Big Leg Emma hit the stage literally seconds later and immediately launched into an energetic jam. This was my first time seeing them at well, and I was surprised both by how rock-like their music was (I thought they were something else) and how decent a following they seemed to have, as a sizeable portion of the crowd was completely into their set.

I caught up with a few Herd during the break, and a little after 11 Donna came on. The show started a little more traditionally than the previous night's, with Way Back When. Ancient Arms inspired the usual sing-along, but I was too busy jockeying for a "sweet spot" somewhere up front where the sound was decent to notice any subtleties of this version.

When the band went into Everything Seems to Want to Hurt This Time, I thought they might have been returning to the post-election hangover theme they'd done so passionately the night before in Johnson City, when they'd opened with this tune. But the song didn't have quite the same impact this time, and soon it was on to a competent, if relatively standard, No Place Like The Right Time.

Conscious Evolution usually gets the crowd riled up, and tonight was no exception. Most people like to dance this one out, but lately I've been preferring to stand back and watch both the band take advantage of the chance to jam and the crowd take advantage of the chance to dance like Deadheads.

The Mill that came next was infinitely easier to dance to, and by now the band was hitting on all eight cylinders. I don't who started the bit where everyone throws their hands in the air during the chorus of Blue Sky, but that's exactly what happened next. Some have suggested that Tara doesn't quite have the vocal range to sing this song the way she does, but I personally love to hear her belt it out.

The songs Dr. Jim sings are always a highlight of each show for me, and so when he did Senor next I moved over to his side of the stage and paid close attention. Next I decided to check out the balcony, from where I enjoyed These Are Strange Days.

It was pretty mellow up there, was most people sitting, but behind the seats there was plenty of room, so I stayed for Family Picture, Each and Every Direction, and 40 Days and 40 Nights. During that last number, even the balcony came alive with dancers, and I was struck by how varied a fanbase Donna draws--there were dreadlocks and tye dyes, cowboy hats and country fans, youngsters and grandparents, parents and kids and everything in between, all grooving to the same sounds.

I love Rock of Ages but joined a friend outside during this song and quickly got back inside for the start of the Zydeco jam, which melded into Hey Trudy, a song I haven't heard very often. I was back up front and surrounded by a group that was dancing up a storm.

The band brought it down a few notches with It's The Call. Then Dr. Jim said "This one's for Gary" and then launched into It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry. They seemed to enjoy playing it at least as much as they had the night before in JC.

The set ended with Funkyside, and while I appreciate this song, I knew there was no way they were going to the places with it that they had a night earlier, so I just took it in. After a very short break, they came back for Walk On Water, which I hadn't seen before. Then Keith Secola came out and played flute for Let's Try Again, the new Jeb tune that had debuted the last night. This was interesting, though if you weren't up front I'm not sure how well you could've heard the flute. Keith sang and played drumsticks during NDN Car, and then another great show came to a close.

Words © 2004 www.donnafans.com. Photos © 2004 Brian Reid. All rights reserved.
Contact: fans@donnafans.com