Air Supply Brings The Love To Rocksino Devotees
July 16th, 2018
Nostalgia's a good thing, right? A stroll down memory lane can be triggered by any number of cues and last night's fantastic show at Northfield's Hard Rock Rocksino, music was the cue that got most of the crowd onto their feet. Aussie import Air Supply, led by musical partners Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell, took the audience through their catalog of hits and a small time warp to a much simpler era.
The ninety-minute show offered up fifteen tunes, twelve of which were runaway smash singles. As the duo took the stage, Graham Russell, the taller of the two, had a guitar strapped to him as well as a headset microphone. Russell Hitchcock, the diminutive member, strode out to face the crowd with a million-watt smile. The banter between the two of them was effortless, as it should be after a partnership of more than forty-four years. Although these two have been performing the same tunes to (probably) the same crowds for almost half a century, they make it seem as if it's the first time they've played them. Mr. Russell's lead voice was impeccable; while age has slowed down many of his contemporaries, time hasn't affected his vocal abilities. Honestly, for such a small-framed man he packs a wallop of a voice.
The show, starting a few minutes late, began with "Sweet Dreams," from 1981's The One That You Love. After warming the audience up with that tune, they segued directly into two of their biggest hits: "Even The Nights Are Better" and "Every Woman In The World."
The balance of the show was a veritable greatest hits showcase. "Here I Am," "Now and Forever," "Two Less Lonely People In The World," and "The One That You Love" were all offered up. One concertgoer, a middle-aged guy who was on his feet for the whole show, throwing up the horns at the beginning of each tune, was ecstatic. I'd never before seen such behavior at a show like this. He would've been right at home at a Metallica gig, but it was very cool to see him portray such passion for Russell and Hitchcock.
And that's the interesting thing: The allure that this band pulls in transcends everything. Sex, age, and even color were of no consequence to this audience. They loved their Air Supply. Capping off the evening with "All Out Of Love, the guy several rows in front of me almost lost his mind.
About mid-set, Graham Russell pointed out that his Columbus, Ohio-born girlfriend was in the audience and that Sunday was her birthday. The crowd, spontaneously, broke out into "Happy Birthday" to which a bemused Graham started to sing along with his captive crowd. Seeming somewhat embarrassed, she turned, waved, and thanked the audience.
These are moments that seem to fill an Air Supply show. People will raise an eyebrow and chuckle when I tell them I'm covering one of their gigs. Perhaps derided for their "syrupy" tunes and out-of-time sentiments, the band is considered old-fashioned when compared to today's in your face, let-it-all-hang-out forms of more "youthful" entertainment.
And, you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. In this divisive age of politics and anti-social media, a little syrup is just fine.
Photos and review by Brian M. Lumley