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7/14/05, Alive at Five, Underneath Route 787 Overpass, Albany, NY

Setlist (courtesy donnabase.com)
Movin' On, Living in Babylon, Conscious Evolution, Love and Gasoline, Family Picture, Every Day, I Don't Need a Riddle, Funkyside, Blue Sky, Way Back When

Photos of this show

By Jeff Bauer

Joe and I breezed into Albany and easily found where we needed to be, as I had called ahead and learned that due to the threat of storms the show had been moved to the "rain location," which was completely underneath an overpass of Route 787. Not exactly the prettiest venue Donna's ever played, but as we'd later find out, that overpass came in handy during torrential rain.

We were almost the first ones there so we wondered around a little park near the river. When we came back people had started to set up their chairs on the pavement in front of the stage, which is funny on several levels. I saw Tom and asked him about the previous night's show on Martha's Vineyard. He mentioned that the band hadn't slept much since then. Later I found out that was because they had needed to get to Albany early that morning to tape a four-song performance for a local PS affiliate that was scheduled to be broadcast, along with the GrassRoots Stages documentary, on 7/21.

If the band was tired, it sure didn't show as they started the set with an energetic Movin' On. The open area in front of the chairs was pretty much filled with dancers by the end of this number. The Living in Babylon that came next gave Tara a chance to shine on vocals, and I noticed lots of fans mouthing the words. It was quickly apparent that despite Donna being an opening act for Sam Bush, many in attendance were there for DtB. At some point Jeb commented that playing underneath an overpass was as uncommon an event for them as you might think, and that "this is nicest overpass we've ever played under."

The crowd always responds wildly anytime the band plays Conscious Evolution, and this night was no exception. This was a shorter version than most, and I thought that was appropriate given that the band probably was going to be held to a short set. After that it was back to Tara for Love and Gasoline. Unfortunately she forgot the words to the first verse, but smiled, shrugged it off, and quickly recuperated.

Another crowd-pleaser, Family Picture, was up next. While I haven't been a big fan of this song post-Jim, I felt with this version it was starting to come back around again.

Of all of the songs on Life's A Ride, Every Day, which the band played next, has been evolving in the most interesting direction. This was the third time I got to see Donna play it this year, and each time it seems to have had a gentle, almost ethereal jam, a little different from the direction the band usually takes when it spaces out. Its lyrics may or may not have been Jeb's little poke at the heavy police presence before this gig.

Next, Tara strapped on the accordion for the first (and what would be the only) time this evening and graced us with I Don't Need A Riddle. As the band launched into Funkyside, I was beginning to wonder just how much time they had left.

Sometime during this song, the skies opened up, and anyone who wasn't already under the overpass immediately sought its shelter. The overpass mainly did its job, but it wasn't built to be water tight, and water leaked onto random areas around the stage. It was raining so hard that a small current of water passed along the ground in front of the stage as well. Fortunately, the stage itself had a covering, so for the most part the band appeared to stay safe.

After Funkyside came Tara's anthem-like Blue Sky. If there's a group of fans who find this song's lyrics a little too hippy dippy, they certainly weren't in Albany, because this version was a full-blown sing-along, with dancing to match.

I thought that was going to end the set but I was wrong. Instead, the band closed with a nice rendition of Way Back When, finishing at exactly 6:00 p.m., just shy of one hour after they'd started.

After their set, the band hung around the bus for quite a long while, talking and signing autographs for anyone who approached them. Jordy seemed quite a bit busier than usual selling T-shirts and CDs, and I would guess that the band did quite well in this hour. Between this and the very warm reception the band received in nearby Troy back in April, I could easily see a return to the Capital City in Donna's near future.

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