A LOVE ALMOST FORGOTTEN
A Night with Air Supply
by Scotty K. Seal
When I was a kid, let’s start at 6th grade and travel through high school, before the age of the internet where everything you ever wanted to know was available, things were simple. If you heard a song you liked, you either recorded it on to a cassette tape directly from the radio or you went to Dr. Freud’s and spent a dollar on the 45. There was no downloading it from the internet, posting the song from YouTube onto Facebook, texting a link, or finding it digitally available in multiple electronic forms. We paid for those records and cassettes and owned them.
Our time and generation was one of making a phone call on a landline or physically going to someone’s house to see if they could hang out. We bared our souls ourselves through music and shared how we felt through song. This still exists today, but our way was still in a pure form. I expressed myself through music and became a dick jockey for over 20 years because I fell in love with the power of the song and the effect it had on people. In our limited world of junior and high school communication, the song stood as the strongest means of telling someone you liked them. I chose Air Supply, king of the power ballad, and they never failed me.
The Australian duo showed up in 1980 and took the world by storm with hit after hit of love and heartbreak songs. Air Supply was everywhere, on every radio station, and we all knew the words. For six years they ruled the airwaves, but then faded into silence. Over the years people made jokes about them, including those you knew who had listened to them and sang their songs. I never forgot the impact of their songs and lyrics, and every few years I would get nostalgic for my youth, put some Air Supply and be taken back to a time of long lost and innocent love.
When I heard they were coming to the Civic Centre there was no doubt in my mind I would be going. My fiancé had only heard a few songs I had played for her because she is younger and didn’t experience the Air Supply phenomenon. I wasn’t sure what I was in for because most elder musicians I had seen were still playing rock and roll, not love songs. Russell Hitchcock, lead singer, and Graham Russell, guitarist/singer, are both in their early 60’s. To our surprise, the show was simply awesome.
Graham’s voice can still hit the notes and the songs evoked memories of a time passed, but not forgotten. It was more than just the music which made this memorable; it was the show and the audience that made it into an experience. Both Russell and Graham had a great rapport with the fans, venturing out into the audience more than once serenading to fans as far as the top row. The screams from the women can probably only compare to teenage girls screaming at Justin Bieber or many years ago when the girls of another generation did the same at the Beatles.
There were a couple highlights to the night for me; one of them being the two minute drum solo in the middle of their biggest hit ‘All Out of Love.’ I don’t know how, but they pulled it off. If someone would have told me Air Supply played a drum solo in the middle of a love song I would have thought they were crazy.
The other highlight being the woman who sat next to me with her four beautiful 20-something blonde daughters. I’m pretty sure they had the best time of anyone there and I’ll share it with you because their story is touching. Earlier I has struck up a conversation with the mother of the girls who had explained to me how much more excited the girls were for the concert than she was. It made no sense to me at the time, but later I would find out why. Periodically during the show I looked around to take in the crowd and how they were responding to the music, each time I noticed at least one of the daughters singing along with the music. Then something happened I will never forget, during ‘Making Love Out of Nothing at All’, all four daughters were standing, holding hands, and singing with tears in their eyes. I was mesmerized and touched.
After the show I caught up with the girls and asked them out of curiosity, “what just happened in there?” One of them immediately spoke and as she told me the story they all reached for the others hand again, including moms’. “When we were little, times were tough and we were poor, it was just us girls. At Christmas, mom got us all Air Supply’s Greatest Hits CD. She didn’t tell us why, but we would all sit around together at night and sing these songs. The music of Air Supply brought us closer together and that hasn’t changed. Our favorite was ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing at All’, which we played over and over.”
Alicia and I left holding hands, drove home in silence holding hands, and fell asleep holding hands. Doesn’t matter who you are, age, or where you’re from, music transcends all generations.
Editor's note: Air Supply opened the Capitol's 25th Season on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011.