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Sunday, February 21, 2010

MisenPOPic Concert Review: Air Supply (2/20/10 Morristown Community Theatre)

I have been an Air Supply fan ever since I first heard songs such as Even The Nights Are Better and All Out Love back when I was five years old. From 1980 to 1984, Air Supply was one of the biggest groups in the world, and the melodies sung by Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell had a huge impact on me as a little boy during those years while sitting in the back seat of my dad's Thunderbird driving to Rockaway Mall for our usual Saturday excursions, or sitting in the barber's chair at Pro Haircutters in Randolph while getting my hair cut. Fast forward many years later, and I was still infatuated with their music while actually being in the place where the band started, Australia ,in 1994 during my college years, or impressing the girls in my dorm at college during freshman year because I was the only heterosexual guy they knew who owned Air Supply's greatest hits. Besides, isn't Air Supply one of the coolest names every for a musical group? Although they always get a bad rap for playing music for sissies which causes many people to admit that listening to the band is a "guilty pleasure", I've always stood tall indicating how much I love Air Supply and what's so wrong with listening to catchy and melodic love songs? The history also indicates they are one of the most successful groups of all time:
One #1 Song (The One That You Love)
Eleven Top 40 singles
Thirteen Top 40 Adult Contemporary Singles including three #1 hits
Six Top 100 Albums
Ranked #89 of the most commercially successful artists of all time.

Every music fan might not even realize that some of their favorite tunes to hum along to came from Air Supply. Look at their list of hit songs from the 80's: Lost In Love, Every Woman In The World, All Out Of Love, The One That I Love, Here I Am, Goodbye, Just As I Am, and Even The Nights Are Better. Their second biggest hit song written in 1983 by Jim Steinman (who is best known for writing the tunes on Meat Loaf's platinum album Bat Out Of Hell) for their 1983 Greatest Hits album, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, is considered by yours truly to be one of the greatest 500 songs of all time. Their classic 1982 tune, Two Less Lonely People In The World, was almost used as my wedding song until it was changed at the last minute, although those with astute ears could hear the melody during the ceremony before the wedding party walked out. Simply stated, Air Supply has been one group that I've always remained loyal to and have wanted to see perform live in concert but just never got around to doing so.

Until Saturday night, February 20th, one week after Valentine's Day when Air Supply came to Morristown, New Jersey for their 30th anniversary tour. The venue was the Community Theatre, right in the heart of Motown, a place I've haven't attended a concert at since 2004 when my dad, brother, and I saw Frankie Valli. Over the past few years, the Community Theatre has picked up the ball bringing in a lot of the classic musicians from the past few decades that have had an impact on me. Air Supply seemed to make the most sense for the venue. When my mother-in-law indicated she wanted to see them again but was waiting until the weather report, I told her how badly I wanted to go to see them with my own eyes as well as to better educate my wife about the band. Thanks to a lack of snow, my mother-in-law got tickets for not only her husband, my wife, and I, but also for my parents and my sister-in-law Shari who actually thought she was going to see an Air Supply tribute show. Because we got the tickets late, our seats were up in the balcony. Since the venue is rather small and the fact that Air Supply isn't such a visual band that we needed to be sitting so close to the stage, our seats were perfectly fine. There were some loud and obnoxious forty-somethings sitting in back of us but were immediately put in their place by an older gentleman in the row in front of us who scolded them like he was their kindergarten teacher. It was classic, and make me realize that even when I do things like that, it's not as cruel as what this guy did. The crowd was a nice blend of young and old fans, and it was obvious there were many people in attendance who were bigger fans than I am who probably have seen in concert numerous times.

Air Supply took the stage right on time, opening the show with their classic 1983 hit "Even The Nights Are Better". Although Graham Russell looked okay, time sure has not been kind to Russell Hitchcock. His classic afro and stunning looks from the 80's are no longer there, nor is that classic high-pitched voice of his which he demonstrated with pride in the 80's and 90's before experiencing voice problems. How do I know this? Why thanks to an episode of Behind The Music, of course! Russell and Hitchcock were accompanied by a young group of musicians including a bald lead guitar player who kind of looked like Rob Halford from Judas Priest without the tattoo on his head, a thirty year-old rock & roll bassist, a keyboardist, and a heavy metal drummer who I'm sure must only be playing with the old fellas for the easy paycheck. What struck me as odd was that after playing only six songs, the band left the stage for a 15 minute intermission. I understand the Air Supply guys aren't as young anymore, but considering they are singing only love songs, and not belting them out like in the past, not sure if the intermission was only an excuse for them to take a poopie break. Graham Russell had some energy, but you can see that Hitchcock was struggling. There was some nice crowd reaction when the band performed their staple songs, but in a surprise move, they played a few tunes from their new album which is hitting stores in three weeks and left out big crowd-pleasing anthems like Two Less Lonely People In The World, Chances, and I Can Wait Forever. Highlights included Graham and Russell walking into the crowd during The One That I Love, and Russell doing his best to sing Making Love Out Of Nothing At All like it was 1983 although me serenading my wife due it being one of my favorite tunes might have sounded better.

Here is the set list based on what I can remember since they did perform a few songs I didn't know:
1) Even The Nights Are Better
2) Just As I Am
3) New Song that I can't recall the name
4) The Power Of Love
5) Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)
6) Mumbo Jumbo (A new song from their upcoming album of the same name)
7) New song from Graham Russell on their upcoming album about a wedding he attended in which the groom was heading off to war immediately after.
8) The One That I Love
9) Lost In Love
10) Dance With Me
11) Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
12) We Love You (I think that's what this song was called?)
13) All Out Of Love

After the concert, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock agreed to meet and greet their fans. Before the show, I spoke with one of their merchandising girls who told me they would be signing autographs and I probably wouldn't have any trouble getting a photo with the guys. I expressed my gratitude to her for being so nice. So she told me she would remember me and try to hook me up with a photo with the guys from Air Supply. After the last song, I rushed out of my seat so I could get a good spot in line for the opportunity. While in line, I met some nice folks and negotiated with them to take the photo for me, and I would reciprocate with a photo for them and email the photo since I'm such a nice guy and came prepared with a camera. As I was waiting patiently after the show for about fifteen minutes, security came around and indicated there would be no photos allowed. God damn it!!! Since I noticed my new friend in merchandising was nowhere to be found, I was trying to figure out how I would be able to get a photo without being thrown out. No light bulbs went off at the time, although in hindsight I should have pulled my "Bobby Brady" trick. I should have asked security in a polite manner for a photo opp making up a story that my twin brother (who I would confirm with a photo on my iPod) was battling stomach cancer which is why he couldn't be there but because we read that Air Supply meets the fans after their shows, he expected a photo to enjoy. I know it's cold and twisted, but sometimes you have to do stuff like this when the rules aren't to your liking but you want it bad enough. And especially since the band even praised the security, I could have used that as my trump card. But hindsight is 20/20, so I didn't pull it off. But I did get to meet the band and got an autographed 8X10 photo and ticket. I spoke to Graham Russell and mentioned how much of fan I was since I was a little boy, and mentioned how much I love Air Supply's melodies. He was really nice, and mentioned how he agrees with me that Making Love Out Of Nothing At All has one of the greatest melodies ever even though he didn't write it. Russell Hitchcock, on the other hand, looked even worse up close and didn't seem to even know what the hell was going on. I did thank him for his vocal magic, and he give me a good old fashioned Aussie smile until security told me it was time to leave.

Grade: B (Not one of the most exciting concerts I've ever been to, but I sure was entertained and glad that I went. Considering Air Supply's music has been very instrumental in my life and they probably are the greatest melodic adult contemporary group of all time in my estimation, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them live for their 30th anniversary as stars in the U.S.A., and 35th anniversary together as a duo)

For your viewing pleasure, below is the classic video to my personal favorite Air Supply song of all time, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All. Trivia: Did you know the blonde woman in the video portraying Graham Russell's girlfriend actually became his real-life wife of whom he is still married to? Also check out that classic 80's hairstyle of Russell Hitchcock!!!!


  1. Born in 1977, I grew up with Air Supply as well. I would "steal" my older cousin's tapes when the radio was not enough. That same cousin and her now husband took me to see them in 1993, when they came to Paraguay. That concert was simply awesome! They were at their best.; Russell H still had everything back then. To be honest, - and I realise my opinion cuold get me in trouble - I'd rather he retire now, and leave fans with the image of him at his best. (I hold the same opinion about a few others, like Whitney Houston, for instance).

    I don't think all that criticism is about their music so much as about romantic love itself. It's like most people seem to have an issue with expressing feelings... like that's a sign of weakness, of foolishness... Ah well, their loss!

    Anyway, thanks for the review!
    Hugs from South America.

  2. You wrote a funny story.
    I'm just glad the Air Supply shows that I've enjoyed have obviously been a lot better than yours supposedly was. In fact, they have left me in awe.
    We're all getting older, and I don't know anyone who sounds or looks the same in their late 50's as they did in their mid 20's. No singers/bands I can think of (Journey, Rolling Stones, Niel Diamond, Chicago, Frankie Avalon, Barry Manilow, etc.) sound the same as they once did. Some (Boston) are no longer around. Beach Boys has what - one original member left?
    All things considered, Air Supply is doing just GREAT! (And my daughter is one of the newer fans they keep adding to their fan base all the time!)

  3. Russell wasn't unaware of what was going on...he just didn't like YOU :)

  4. #3 Faith In Love - They've been doing it since 2005

    Graham's solo song was A Little Bit More

    Fisrt enocre song was Me Like You

  5. Come on! The guys still got it! And I completely agree Miss. Suzette! They are doing it because they love to do it.