Air Supply

Date: 7 October 2004
: The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts

Reviewer: John Jane

Air Supply, for most intents and purposes, is the music collaboration of Australian vocalist Russell Hitchcock and British songwriter Graham Russell. The two came together while performing in the Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1976. With their brand of heavily orchestrated, romantic ballads, the soft rock duo found a niche on early-80s radio.

Air Supply

The compact Hitchcock is the more natural performer of the two. He moves easily around the stage, and during his rendition of "Here I Am, The One That You Love" he circulated among the audience with a portable wireless microphone. (Graham) Russell on the other hand, at six-four, looked awkward jumping and hopping round the stage like a manic punk rocker. Hitchcock, now a Los Angeles resident, still has a phenomenal voice. He now sings about half an octave lower and is closer to a natural tenor.

The pair were joined on stage by side musicians, bassist Jonni Lightfoot, drummer Mike Zerbe and Jed Moss on keyboards. Excellent musicians, but why so loud? It appeared as though the back-up band were playing a stadium gig, while Hitchcock and Russell were doing a Vegas-style show.






Russell Hitchcock

Air Supply started their two-hour concert with new songs from their repertoire, including "Shadow of the Sun" and title song from last yearís CD "Across the Concrete Sky." It didnít take long for the band to go back to their earlier successes. (most of which had the word "love" in the title) Songs like "Faith in Love," "Lost in Love" and the Jim Steinman anthem, "Making Love Out of Nothing At All" are what their core fans came to hear, and the audience response to each was terrific.

I personally enjoyed Graham Russellís solo "unplugged" performance of "Why?" - a song he claimed to have written specifically for his sonís wedding. Russell, who now makes his home in Utah sings with a kind of folksy drone.

All in all, the concert was a fanís delight. The most enjoyable part was the duoís unpretentious rapport with the audience. Itís not surprising that this fan-friendly band has managed to retain a core group of enthusiasts. What is surprising is that twenty years after the group's heyday they number so many.

© 2004 John Jane