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12/17/05, Revolution Hall, Troy, NY

Setlist (courtesy donnabase.com)
Way Back When, Living in Babylon, Positive Friction, I Don't Need a Riddle, Come to Life, Blue Sky, Rocking Horse, Rock of Ages, Family Picture, Garden of Eden, Broken Record, Pancho & Lefty, Me & Depression, Temporary Misery, Funkyside, Diamond in the Rough, Mr. King, Wheels Keep Turning (Jeb, Tara & Kathy only), Biggie K Is a Superstar, No Place Like the Right Time
Encore: Nashville Christmas, Yeah You Right, Let Love Move Me (Jeb only), You Made It Hurt? (Jeb only), 40 Days & 40 Nights (Jeb & Tara only)

Photos of this show

By Jeff Bauer

I was on the fence about making the drive up to Troy and seeing this show solo, but I'd blown off the band's show at the Bowery in New York the month before and figured I wasn't going to get to see them again for months, so I decided to go for it. Boy, did that turn out to be the right move!

Honestly, the magic hadn't hit me at the last few Donna shows I'd seen before Troy, and I was being to wonder if my interest was waning. It sounds melodramatic, but this show did nothing less than renew my faith in Donna the Buffalo. It was everything a DtB should be. A little bit of all they do best: old songs, new songs, a few Jeb tunes, a few Tara tunes, a few surprises, a monster encore, and even a Christmas song thrown in for good measure. Go download this show off the archive, and see if you agree.

I got into the venue at about a quarter to 9, said hi to some familiar Herd, introduced myself to other Herd, and grabbed a bottle of water. I was a bit surprised when the band came out a little after 9:30 to start the show (early for them).

The Way Back When was a standard opener, as was the Living In Babylon that followed. Danceytime started with Positive Friction, and right away I could tell both the band and the crowd were in the mood to get it on. It was the usual mix of Herd on the rail, college kids, older fans, dreadlocked hippies, etc. The place was pretty much full, though I felt there was maybe a little more breathing room than there'd been when the band last played this venue in April.

I Don't Need A Riddle is a fine song, but DtB played it at pretty much every show I saw this year. Come to Life, a treat they play far less frequently, was next, and I tuned in to its chorus: "Overjoyed with mere existence/Since you've come to life." Back to Tara next for Blue Sky, and I was pleasantly surprised at how they continue to make this song sound fresh and exciting.

I'm a big fan of Jeb's poetry, and the lyrics to Rocking Horse are as good as he gets. Tara took a turn next with Rock of Ages, and she seemed particularly into singing it this night. Family Picture was next. I'm probably going to go to hell for writing this, but at this point that song has pretty much become a bathroom song for me. I didn't have to pee, so I stayed put.

Good thing, because next the band played a song I hadn't heard before: Garden of Eden, which they'd debuted a little over a week earlier (12/8) in Fall River. The song has a nice hook, a great bit of Tara on fiddle, but sadly, I couldn't make out any of the lyrics except "Garden of Eden."

Next the band launched into Broken Record so aggressively you'd have thought someone had just pissed them off. That wasn't the case--they just like to play this one hard and fast. Like I said, this show had a little bit of everything, and for this song, they were Donna the Rock Band. Then Jeb bought it back down with a heartfelt Pancho & Lefty.

After that, I recognized the opening notes of Me & Depression. This would be a long, jammed-out version with Jeb taking ample time to show us what he can do with a guitar and Tara matching him on fiddle every step of the way. Great stuff!

Then it was Tara's turn to bring it back down, this time with Temporary Misery, which in my opinion is the strongest of the several strong songs she's debuted lately. Hope this one stays in heavy rotation. Of course the crowd loved it when they launched into Funkyside. It was great, but I've heard funkier. Back to Tara for Diamond in the Rough, and then into Mr. King, the message of which was not lost on this crowd.

Then Tom and Bill exited the stage, leaving Jeb, Tara and Kathy to play Wheels Keep Turning, a sweet, gentle folk tune. Next came Biggie K Is A Superstar. Even though they'd played it at every show since breaking out in Fall River on 12/8, I was psyched as this was the first time I got to hear it. After that, they closed the set just before midnight with No Place Like the Right Time.

Little did I know that the best was yet to come. First the band came back out and did Nashville Christmas, which was sweet if somewhat expected. Then they cranked it up a few notches with Yeah You Right. Jeb and Tara seemed to be having a lot of fun on this one, with her sining "Hey there, Jeb" and him responding in kind. The dancers were going full blast. After finishing this tune, the band left the stage, and most of us assumed the night was over.

It wasn't. Jeb came back out, by himself. He mumbled something about feeling like playing a little more, and strummed absentmindedly while thinking about what song. Someone in the crowd called out "Let Love Move Me." Jeb said, "That's not a bad idea," and launched into it. The place went nuts! That seemed like an excellent way to end, but Jeb still wasn't done. He played a slow ballad that may or may not have been one of his new songs--sounded familiar, but I wasn't sure.

Then he started into the familiar riff of 40 Days & 40 Nights, and motioned for Tara to join him. She did, and for the next 13 minutes they took this song to places it had never been before, except for maybe the night before, when they also did the song as a duet in Ithaca. You have to hear this one to appreciate it.

All in all, it had been a fantastic night, another chapter in the long and wild story that is Donna the Buffalo. Rumor has it that Revolution Hall is closing, at least temporarily, and DtB may well have been the last act ever to play there. If so, they closed that joint in style.

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