Image by: SomeBizarreMonkey
Concert Reviews

Concert Review: Air Supply Keeps The Romance Alive

Where: Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland NZ
When: 30 Apr 2019
Reuben Raj

After forty-four years on the road, Air Supply namely Graham Russell (vocals/guitar) and Russell Hitchcock (vocals) continue to tour and spread love and romance wherever they go. Accompanied by a full orchestra led by Sarah Grace Williams and a solid band of musicians, the icons of soft rock did not show any signs of stopping with a heartwarming show at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland, NZ. 

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Airheads at the Bruce Mason Centre

The Bruce Mason Centre was packed with Airheads that mainly belonged to a particular age group but yet diverse in nationalities. Kiwis, Malaysians, Filipinos, Chinese were all part of the audience and it only goes to show that the music of Air Supply transcends borders, gender and creed.

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The show started on a strong note with Sweet Dreams, one of the singles from Air Supply's most successful album, The One That You Love (1981). Both Russell and Hitchcock came on stage at the same time after the band warmed up with an intro to the song. 

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Russell Hitchcock was dressed in a burgundy coloured jacket, white shirt and dark trousers. Russell Graham, on the other hand, decided to rock the black wardrobe with a stylish dark pinstripe jacket over a black satin shirt and slim-cut pants. Both of them looked suave and dashing in their own different way, clearly prepared to charm and serenade each and every member of the audience. And they did... effortlessly.

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Russell Hitchcock

Russell Hitchcock, the former picnic basket salesman and office worker, understands the language of love. He joked about the number of alimony cheques he had written over the years but humour aside, Hitchcock's voice was wondrous... almost more honeyed over time and his control was flawless... from whispered verses to soaring choruses, Russell Hitchcock will win your heart. 

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Graham Russell

Graham Russell the songwriter was full of vitality and vigour... nimble on his feet, jumping to the beat of the rockier songs and even shaking his tush for the front-row at one point. He often starts off the song for Hitchcock to take off. Fleeting traces of sorrow and melancholy could be heard in his starting part of Goodbye written by David Foster and Linda Thompson and a massive hit in Asia during the early 90s. After reciting a poem called Impossible (as he often does during each show), Graham shared a new song called Son of a Father which was inspired from his conversation with a total stranger who had lost his father at the moment of birth. A tragic story that was turned into hope for the future. 

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The friendship of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock is worthy of celebration and respect. The two remain the best of friends over forty years of making music together and never had a single argument. Graham writes the songs and Russell sings them - it's that simple. The little gestures of brotherhood and camaraderie both men showed each other, holding hands briefly at the end of Here I Am was endearing and inspiring. 

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Aaron Mclain

The band supporting Graham and Russell must also be mentioned mainly because the young musicians were highly talented and visibly enjoyed performing all the songs. The most prominent member was Aaron Mclain who performed all the lead guitar solos with remarkable precision and also the Music Director of the group. Doug Gild was on his feet, often jumping with his bass driving home each song. Mirko Tessandori gave generous helpings of sparkling piano melodies and sweeping synth-scapes. Last but not least, Aviv Cohen the drummer controlled tension and drama with fleeting touches on the snare, booming tom-toms and crashing cymbals... timed perfectly with the emotional releases and peaks of each song. 

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Sarah Grace Williams and her orchestra

The orchestra under the direction of Sarah Grace Williams added some flair and texture to the songs, particularly Chances, Love and Other Bruises, Two Less Lonely People In The World and Without You. Unfortunately, it was often hard to hear the strings when the drums and keyboards came to life. 

The stage lighting during the show was just right and not overbearing. The orchestra was subtly illuminated in the back of the stage. The back was kept bare with occasional sparkles or patterns projected on the screen. Spots on the stage floor during Chances lit by thin beams of light was a nice touch. Just the edges of Russell's silhouette was subtly lit up by red light during the emotional Love and Other Bruises and the convergence of warm lights during Making Love Out Of Nothing At All before the stage was filled with pillars of rainbow streams and spots was spectacular. Uber praise to the band's Lighting Director, Troy Stubby

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Other notable highlights during the 2 hours plus concert included Now and Forever followed by Two Less Lonely People In The World sang by Graham and Russell sitting side-by-side, reminiscing of their past days singing in cafes together... an ode to their everlasting friendship and partnership. The timeless classic Making Love Out Of Nothing At All where the band let loose with Mclain performing a solo on centre-stage with the audience singing the love song at the top of their voice. All Out Of Love led by Graham and accentuated by Russell with exceptional vocal harmonies that match each other perfectly.

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The last time I saw Air Supply was almost thirty years ago... at a time when Walkmans and mix-tapes were in. Today, we live in different times but it is true artists like Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock who remind an old and new generation that no matter when or how long ago... love survives and can help shape what is to come. 

 Radio 13 thanks and credits Reuben Raj from SomeBizarreMonkey for all the images featured on this article. 

Written By: Reuben Raj Reuben is a film and digital photographer who is driven by music in his head. Often seen lurking behind a camera inside the pit of a concert or wandering the streets of China with a blond, Reuben harbours intimate feelings for vinyl records and his Hasselblad SW/C from 1965. He is also the founder of Radio 13.

What people are saying

  • Ronnie (Ronda) Piedimonte - 21 months ago

    This is a beautifully written tribute to those millions have come to know as Air Supply. The music of Air Supply has touched millions of hearts and created memories for all who have had the honor of experiencing their music. Thank you for such an incredible article and thanks to Air Supply for years of incredible music and love ❤️
  • Peter Kelly - 21 months ago

    I had the pleasure of attending the Perth concert held last weekend. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. We saw the group a few years back and I have to say the quality of Russell's voice is still amazing. They sang all our favourites and the band and the orchestra just lift their music to a different level. Keep going guys and thank you for the music. #mirkokeyboardisawesome
  • Marion Stanley Hood - 21 months ago

    I met my friend Aaron Paul McLain about 30 years ago and his success is a inspiration,and such be for any young musician seeking a job as a band director, songwriter,or publisher... Love Doe's survive... what a great story.. Zack
  • Jun jun - 21 months ago

    Ilove air supply very very much i wish that someday i can watch they're concert live and join with them to sing all my favorite songs of air supply ❤❤❤
  • carder007 mn - 20 months ago

    Ꮐreat article.
  • Juarabola - 18 months ago

    Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing effort.
  • Peter Richar - 17 months ago

    My wife and I just attended an Air Supply concert at Mohegan Sun last night. We are in our 60s and love the music of Air Supply. Individually, the musicians in the band were incredible. I can really appreciate a good rock band. One of my favourite bands is Led Zeppelin.

    But in this case, I was extremely disappointed with the concert. The obvious great love songs had to be screamed over the excessive volume of the band. Most songs began beautifully, but within a minute or two, the drums would blare in and as far as I can say ruined the songs. Don't get me wrong, I love a good drummer. I was a drummer myself in a band in the 70s.

    But the two remaining members of Air Supply and this great band meshed together like oil and vinegar.

    I realize this review will just be tossed aside and ignored and I've never done one before. But I was so extremely disappointed that I had to say something.

    I hope they decide to calm things down a bit in future concerts.

    Once again, I'm 64 and lived through the entire British invasion of the 60s, and love the classic rock bands, but can also really appreciate soft rock if you will. I recently saw America perform. They had a backup band that mixed perfectly and put on a classic concert sounding just the way they used to. I'd love the opportunity to hear Air Supply once again if the band more complimented their type of music. If they don't change, then this will sadly be the first and last time I'd plan on seeing them perform.