11/12/10 Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte, NC


Start 9:30 pm
It's a New Day, Beauty Within, Funky Side, Part-Time Lover, Sailing, Conscious Evolution, Locket and Key, Family Picture, Meant to Be, Ding Dang Dong, No Sad Songs, Tonight, Tomorrow, and Yesterday, Blue Sky, We're Workin' on That, Temporary Mystery, Let Love Move Me, No Place Like the Right Time
Encore: Ancient Arms, Blue Skies and Buttercups
End 11:29 pm

By Paul Roberge

I drove down to Charlotte yesterday afternoon (sans fille, alas, due to a required theater practicum) to join dear friends and dear friends of theirs for dinner and Donna on a crisp autumn evening. This was a welcome reprieve from the difficult work week just past.

The young swain of my friends' teenage daughter, himself a talented musician who was experiencing his first Donna show, made this observation (somewhat paraphrased) during an extended jam: "They know what they are doing."

Indeed they do. The show got off to a great start with another pleasantly surprising opener, It's a New Day. Beauty Within seems to have stabilized as a dependable option in the #2 position (cf. Tides of Time from a few years ago). There was some hubbub among the Rail Rats about Funky Side being brought out early in the set (though there were no complaints, to be sure). The Donna Machine throttled up during a long introduction to Part-Time Lover. Kyle's backing vocals give this song a nice boost. I first heard Sailing live at the Neighborhood Theatre in 2004, and to hear it again here after so many years brought back a fond memory. Following Conscious Evolution and the set-piece Locket and Key->Family Picture was another song that has receded to the back of the Donna catalog, to wit, Meant to Be (a request). "You're seeping into my dreams," the central trope of Tonight, Tomorrow, and Yesterday, gives that song the requisite edge.

The opening stanza of We're Workin' on That captures the dreadful political and economic climate in which we find ourselves:

Lately I've been feeling low
Thinking there's no way to go
To change the world from how it seems.
In the face of more bad news . . .

I ponder these lines against the wistful backdrop that David creates on the B3, intertlaced with Tara's rich fiddle lines. And yet, discouragement is dispelled by hope:

When you think
All of the good
Can never be enough
To overcome all that has gone wrong
Don't get down--
Get up!

The lump in my throat ... again.

LLMM was powerful and prayerful, as always. I continue to appreciate the musicianship that Vic brings to this song. As for the encores, the band sounded rusty on Ancient Arms (a request). Blue Skies and Buttercups (this is how the title is given in the Donnabase) remains a work in progress. The former is a longtime favorite; the latter has great promise.

Nice crowd yesterday evening. We're truly blessed "for all the great people we meet."

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