Snowy White and the White Flames Band
Live at the Bottom Line, Shepherd's Bush, London.
February 23rd, 1996

by Ed Sander


At 10 o'clock p.m. the band - Snowy, Juan and Walter (Snowy's Dutch drummer and bass player) - finally stepped on stage.
The concert started with the Peter Green classic Looking for Somebody which Snowy did for the Rattlesnake guitar tribute album. After this familiar tune a few new songs were played. First among these was Welcome to the Blues, a rocking new track with a sequence which reminded me of Golden Earring's Radar Love (must be a Dutch influence). The next one, That Ain't Right was a more laid-back blues piece and was followed by American Dream, an up-tempo song with a psychedelic sequence.

The next piece was an unreleased but familiar track, Midnight Blues, the slow sad song we had already heard at the gig in Amsterdam (December 1994). Kuma Harada and percussionist Tony Moronie (who had previously joined Snowy for the live performance of All My Money on the VH1 channel) stepped on stage to help out on this song. They would go off stage and come back several times to add some extra dimension to some of the songs which were played in the Bottom Line.

The night had a lot of Peter Green songs, like the next two. During the first one, Long Grey Mare, Walter did some fingertapping on the neck of his bass guitar. Very striking. Looking at Snowy, this song could almost have been called Long Grey Hair. The other Green song was Slabo Day, also included on the Gold top album. Although the guitar playing on this track is excellent as always the song doesn't do much for me; it goes on too long without any change in tempo. I went to the back of the venue to get some more pints of Fosters.

The next song was the title track of the upcoming album, No Faith Required and the first song we heard with the 'religion theme'. It was a very exceptional song with a sad beginning and very cynical lyrics. Further on in the song there was an explosive speed up, followed by a slow-down and emotional ending. Great track !

Now it was time for some songs which were more familiar. The first one - another Green song - was Loved Another Woman, played solid as always, and was followed by an alternative version of Long Hot Saturday Night. Instead of the missing piano solo by 'Rabbit' Walter stepped to the front of the stage and did some vocal scatting; he sang the same notes he played in his bass solo. I almost expected him to shout out "I'm a scatman !". This very funny idea was invented by the band during the tour in Greece.

When Snowy announced the next song, Memory Pain, one of the Thin Lizzy songs from Gold top, a Lizzy fan freaked out and shouted out a passionate "YEAH !". Snowy looked up and answered "You like pain, do you ?". The crowd laughed but the guy responded with "No, I've got memories!". This incident was quite hilarious.

The next song was All My Money, a favourite of a lot of people, although it still sounds a bit strange to me (I haven't got the CNR version of Highway to the Sun).
Two more new tunes followed, the first one was called Blues like a Fever. The final new track Snowy played was called A Miracle I Need and was another song with the 'religion theme' in it. The song itself was slow and had an acceleration at the end. It flowed into a sort of jam session in which Snowy played a very typical guitar style by only using the knobs and the neck of the instrument. Walter followed with a furious bass solo which had the crowd clapping along.
I don't know if it was because of the time but to my disappointment Juan didn't do a solo. Instead of that the band launched right into Parchman Farm. I thought I went mad; it's my favourite live track ! It was a bit of an anti-climax when they ended it after the first part, thanked the audience and went off stage.

Snowy seemed to be very tired after playing one and a half hour without a break and furthermore a substantial fee might be charged for every minute the band would play after 11.45 (those Brits have some strange regulations !). Nevertheless I found it a bit disappointing they had to end the gig this way; just the first half of Parchman Farm and no encore. Maybe it might have been better from an audience point of view if they had left after Blues like a Fever and had come back to do one or two encores, including a solo by Juan.

The performance itself was very good. Snowy, Juan and Walter were playing very well and Kuma and Tony certainly added some extra mood and dimension to the songs on which they played. The new material sounded very promising and did indeed remind me of Highway to the Sun, but without the keyboards and more free-formed. Because of the lack of keyboards I did miss some of my favourites from Highway. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of I Can't Get Enough of the Blues and Judgement Day, but hey, we got to hear a lot of splendid new material for the first time, didn't we ?

Four Peter Green songs and seven new tracks which might be put on the new No Faith Required album; the gig could almost have been called Peter Green meets No Faith Required.

The White Flames Band:

Snowy White - Lead Guitar
Juan van Emmerloot - Drums
Walter Latupeirissa - Bass
Kuma Harada - Rhythm GuitarBR> (on songs marked *)
Tony Moronie - Percussion
(on songs marked +)

Setlist

Looking for Somebody
Welcome to the Blues
That Ain't Right
American Dream
Midnight Blues * +
Long Grey Mare
Slabo Day * +
No Faith Required * +
Loved Another Woman
Long Hot Saturday Night
Memory Pain *
All My Money * +
Blues like Fever +
A Miracle I Need +
(Jam)
Parchman Farm

 

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