Snowy White and the White Flames
Live in Cafe Wilhelmina, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
November 9th, 1997

by Ed Sander


'Damn !'.
It was 16.20 hours, ten minutes later Snowy would start a gig in the Cafe Wilhelmina, and we were hopelessly stuck in traffic. A soccer match at the PSV stadion had just ended and thousands of supporters crossed the road, not even noticing the red traffic lights. Rather frustrating considering that the concerned pub was only a couple of hundred meters away.
After 10 to 15 minutes traffic started moving again and a couple of minutes later we entered Cafe Wilhelmina. This immediately brought back memories. I had spent my first year of college in the building across the square and had spent quite some hours drinking beer and playing biljard in this pub. It was good to be back.

When we came in we just caught the last half of Memory Pain. It was rather crowded in the pub but a camera near the stage fed a TV screen in the front of the pub. I didn't consider looking at a TV screen an equivalent of a real concert so we quickly went towards the small stage. After a while we had conquered a place near the musicians.

Although it's not what you would call progressive rock Snowy's music always attracts a lot of proggers. He used to play with Pink Floyd when they played the In The Flesh and The Wall shows and was one of the few highlights at Roger Waters' The Wall live in Berlin show. Snowy's current music is hard to describe but features clear blues and progressive influences. Maybe melodic / progressive blues would be a nice description.

You really need to hear Snowy's music live. The albums are okay but the songs work much better when they are played live. There's a lot of improvising (which I like) and Snowy's Dutch companions Walter Latupeirissa (bass/bass pedals) and Juan van Emmerloot (drums) are fabulous live artists. As a matter of fact, I consider Juan to be one of the best drummers I've ever seen. Seeing him play the drum kit often summons up thoughts of The Muppets' Animal. He's also got a good sense of humour, which makes a nice addition to Snowy's rather shy presence on stage.

After the Peter Green cover Loved Another Woman and the title track of his latest album No Faith Required the three piece band played a new version of That Ain't Right. They've been playing this song for quite a while now - even before the release of No Faith Required - and it had become a lot longer and heavier since the last version I heard in February.

After this the band took a short break. They had been playing for 35 minutes now and I expected it to be a rather short gig. Not only does the band rarely exceed 100 minutes of stage time, they also had to play a second gig later that day.
Most of the people went to the bar for a drink, which gave us the chance to go to the front of the stage. From this position I could take some pictures when the band returned and Juan soon noticed us and greeted us (in the past me and my brother-in-law were editors of the fanzine of the Snowy White Fan Club).

The second set proved to be unexpectedly long and contained some of the long versions of tracks of the last album. First they played the fantastic 15 minute version of American Dream. This was followed by a track which will appear on the new album (which will be released on the 26th of January); Like the Sun. A bit of a love song, more 'poppy' than the recent material, but with a great rocking middle section. Let's hope that part doesn't get cut from the final version.

'We're going to play two more songs', Snowy said, 'One's very long. The other one is very short. This is the short one'. While Mr. White played the blues classic World Keep on Turning on his own, Juan and Walter got a chance to catch their breath and prepare for the 30 minute version of Miracle I Need. As always this featured a great bass and skat solo by Walter and some additional bluesy improvisations. Although I adore this version, some people in the pub got a bit restless. Maybe the place and time of day weren't quite right for such extended versions, but I myself couldn't be bothered by that, and one (drunk ?) bloke was dancing like a maniac.

The band came back to play one final encore. They had some problems with a piece of equipment (vocal monitors ?) and had decided to play Long Hot Saturday Night. The old album version was nice but this rocking new version really kicked some major behind.
In the end the band had played a 100 minute set after all. Great stuff. I'm very curious what the next studio album will sound like - though it probably won't beat the live stuff.

When's the next Dutch gig ?

Setlist:

Memory Pain
Loved Another Woman
No Faith Required
That Ain't Right

- 10 minute break -

American Dream (15 minute version)
Like the Sun
World Keep on Turning
Miracle I Need (30 miute version)

Long Hot Saturday Night

 

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