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7/23/05, Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival, Trumansburg, NY

Setlist (courtesy donnabase.com)
Movin' On, No Place Like The Right Time, Tides Of Time, Every Day, Rock Of Ages, Family Picture, Killing A Man, I Don't Need A Riddle, Way Back When, Blue Sky,* Current Theme,* The Mill**
Encore: Seems To Want To Hurt This Time, Part Time Lover

*with Mamadou Diabate on kora
**Ward Puryear on scrubboard

By Jeff Bauer

I had assumed that Donna's Saturday night GrassRoots gig was going to be a big one, what with the size of the festival crowd reaching its peak for the band's early evening set. I was correct, but unfortunately, for a variety of circumstances, this particular Donna the Buffalo performance wasn't going to be one of my all-time favorites.

For starters, the Infield was full. I had never seen this many people at a Donna show. Being with my wife and daughter, I didn't attempt to grab a spot on the rail. Instead we set up a blanket WAY in the back of the field, somewhat near the Sacred Space that was surrounded by bales of hay.

When the band came on and started Movin On, I was as far from the stage as I'd ever been at a Donna show. I couldn't help but think that if Donna the Buffalo ever gets so popular that this many people attend all of their shows, it's really going to stink. No Place Like The Right Time was next, and I was missing being right in front of Tara as she belted this one out.

So I decided to head up near the stage for the next few songs, and got into a decent position where I could see and hear much better just in time for Tides of Time. Though the song gets played often, I hadn't seen them do it yet this year, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Every Day was what the band picked to play next, as they had two nights earlier. Lately I've been ranting about how much I like this song, especially the jam at the end. But frankly, with so many songs the band could have picked, I was a little disappointed to hear a repeat. So when they went into Rock of Ages and then Family Picture, both of which was also repeats from Thursday, I went back to the rear of the Infield to hang out with my wife and daughter. Killing a Man was next, and I sat down and gazed at the sky for a while.

Next Donna played two more repeats from Thursday: I Don't Need A Riddle and Way Back When. While both were well-played, in my opinion repeating five songs in back-to-back shows was WAY too many, especially at a Festival where the band has to know they're playing to essentially the same audience. Of course, I was mostly likely the only one thinking this, as the rest of the crowd seemed to be enjoying the set immensely.

Then Mamadou Diabate came out and joined the band on kora for Blue Sky, and in an instant the night improved by 1,000%. Fortunately, it took Mamadou a little while to get set up, which gave me enough time to hustle back up to the front. The band went absolutely berserk on this tune, taking the jam out further and further with Mamadou's kora filling in exactly all the right spots.

Mamdou stayed onstage for the Current Theme that Donna played next. While I thought this song dragged on a bit too long, I was glad to hear it, as it wasn't a repeat from Thursday and I hadn't heard it in while.

Mamadou left and Ward Puryear came out on scrubboard as the band launched into The Mill. For this song, I was hanging out with my daughter completely on the side of the stage, playing tag, doing cartwheels, and watching someone juggle fire. The sound wasn't so great from over there, so I can't really tell you if they played this song well or not. But me and my daughter had fun.

After a quick break, they came back out for the encore, which started with Seems to Want To Hurt This Time. Technically, this song wasn't a repeat--the band had tried to open Thursday's show with this tune, but was unsuccessful. I stayed on the side of the stage for this one as well. Donna chose to end the night was Part Time Lover, and though Bill's antics were as crowd-pleasing as ever, I'd seen and heard it often, so I headed back to our blanket and enjoyed this song while laying down.

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