St James Theatre, Wellington
Wednesday, December 4
Reviewed by Colin Morris
Considering that Australia is so close I'm surprised that Air Supply have never played the Capital before, and given the rapturous applause it would come as no surprise to see them here again in the near future.
Of course, over the years, thanks to a combination of MOR radio stations and the constant re-issues of their greatest hits, I had them pegged for a soft-rock combo along the line of America and Seals and Croft, but what we got was one of the loudest concerts of the year which delighted the three-quarter full venue.
Make no mistake, they know how to work an audience thanks to 150 gigs a year, and if you think about it, with date-line changes and in-between travelling they are probably on the road about 200 days of the year, a punishing schedule for any artists and these guys are in their sixties!
After a short set by local singer Ainslie Allen, whom I feel we will hear more from, that featured a nice cover of Sting's Fields of Gold she revealed herself to be quite capable of belting out songs not without a nod to Janis Joplin and Maria Muldaur.
Air Supply hit the stage running, Even The Nights Are Better instantly had the audience yelling and whooping, Russell Hitchcock the perennial stage hopping pixie worked us like a puppet master whilst Graham Russell, resplendent in a long black coat, reminiscent of a gunslinger, with gold guitar and purple satin shirt was never, as he has been painted, the one in the background.
As much as I enjoy audience participation, the fawning the group received seemed undignified and overblown, even embarrassing at times. A ten minute hold up due to sound problems didn't dampen the raucous behaviour.
Still, for a couple of aging rockers, they put everything into it. The backing band with their hard rock approach deserved the adulation as well, lifting every hit to a new level.
All Out Of Love, Every Woman In The World and Two Less Lonely People In The World sounding fresh, proving that mixing love ballads with rock is fool proof.
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