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12/8/06 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Way Back When, If You Only Could, Conscious Evolution, Tides of Time, Hey Trudy, Everything Seems To Want To Hurt This Time, Blue Sky, These Are Better Days, Locket & Key, Family Picture, Killing A Man, No Place Like The Right Time, Ring Of Fire, I Don't Need A Riddle, Funky Side, Love and Gasoline
Encore: Everyday, Hot Tamale Baby
Photos of this show
By Jeff Bauer
Though I'd bought a ticket in advance, I was thinking about blowing off Donna the Buffalo's show on Friday, 12/8 at the Bowery in lower Manhattan. It was a freezing cold night, some friends decided at the last minute not to go, I've never been in love with this venue, and getting into Manhattan on a Friday night can be a pain this time of year. But around 8:30 I said what the hell, hopped in the car, and was in the Bowery at little before 10.
When I got there, Adam Ezra Group, the first of two opening acts, was onstage, but I didn't check them out, staying in the lounge downstairs. Likewise for Freeman, a solo singer/guitarists who played next. I was having a nice chat with Jordy when DtB launched into the first notes of Way Back When. I started heading up toward the stage when they began If You Only Could, which is one of my favorite Tara Nevins tunes.
I was more than a bit surprised, and pleasantly so, to recognize the opening notes of Conscious Evolution next. Third song in the set is an unusual position for this fan favorite. It was the first of several songs that suggested the band was into playing a set that was heavy on the rock and roll, and light on the ballads.
Tara picked up the accordion next for Tides of Times, but I felt this version of the song was a little sluggish. I danced my way up to the rail nonetheless and was rewarded with a Hey Trudy that was every bit as exciting as the Tides was perfunctory.
I'm a big fan of the song Everything Seems to Want to Hurt This Time, but unfortunately the two people standing next to me weren't, so they talked throughout the tune. (As if I really give a damn what your co-worker ate for lunch today). So I moved and found a sweet spot up front on the Tara side of the stage just in time for Blue Sky, which brought the energy way back up again. They maintained this pace for There Are Better Days, by the end of which both the band and the crowd were bouncing off the walls.
That made it appropriate to chill things out, which they did with one of the few slow songs of the night, Locket & Key. But then it was right back up again for Family Picture. Having heard the band play this crowd favorite once or twice before, I decided to head back and check out the balcony, where I found good sound, good sightlines, plenty of room to dance, and a few friends who'd I last seen at the Mexicali's show in Jersey back in Oct.
Killing A Man is one of those songs most people either love or hate. While the lyrics are a little creepy, I love the way the jam during this song can plunge directly into chaos, which was how it sounded on this night. I'd love to hear this one again, but it was about then that I noticed apparently no one was taping this show, though someone may have been patched into the board that I didn't spot.
Next Tara said the next song was by request for a couple who were celebrating their anniversary, and DtB instantly transformed into a country band for There's No Place Like The Right Time.
After Ring of Fire, I left the balcony for a spot near the stage, but was unable to find anything decent during I Don't Need A Riddle. So it was back to the balcony for the duration.
Funky Side I've also heard many, many times, but when the band's in the mood, as they were on this night, it still sounds exciting. I particularly noticed Kathy Z''s contributions to the jam on this tune. She was debuting a chopped Hammond B3 for this show, but what I thought I liked was coming out of her other instruments.
This would have been a good when to end the set, but instead the band rolled right into Love and Gasoline. It struck me during this song that Tara's voice sounds as beautiful as it ever has. How I wonder as I wander where the answers lie…"
Thank you and goodnight, but with that New York energy tweaked up to 11, I just knew we'd get a meaty encore. It began with Everyday, and again my ears tuned into the sweet sounds coming from Kathy Z's keys. Hot Tamale Baby came next, and the band seemed to be playing this song at twice its normal speed. I danced so hard I nearly bounced right off the balcony.
The band thanked us again, and split. I walked out the door into the cold NY night exhausted but happy, glad I'd decided to make the trip.