The two Russells.
Photo Courtesy of: wowmp3.net
HOW DO YOU write an Air Supply review without sounding corny and MOR and a bit dorky?
I had the same problem as a callow young reporter on the Christchurch Star in 1962 when I went to a Johnnie Ray concert. I got out of that one by quoting lyrics from one of his songs. (Not Cry or The Little White Cloud that Cried).
To be honest, all these decades later, I’d already written the intro in my head before I even went to the theatre.
So the Hinch review started out:
‘It was a night, oh what a night it was, it really was, such a night’.
So I guess for Air Supply, you could trot out a couple of appropriate song titles like I’ll Never Get Enough of You or I Can’t Let Go.
Or maybe go back to the days of a broken engagement in the 1980s with lyrics that could apply just as aptly to a long appreciation of the songs by ‘the two Russells’:
‘Just when I thought I was over you…’
I am an unabashed fan of Air Supply. It was an Aussie music scandal that they were not inducted into the Hall of Fame until last week. They had more No.1 hits in the US and have been more successful over there for longer than INXS, Men at Work, Farnham, LRB or Olivia NJ.
(And Jacki Weaver reports they are still filling theatres and clubs in the US of A. They must kill them in Vegas.)
Even though we still call them ‘the two Russells’. The short one is the one with the big voice and the tall one is the guy who wrote all the hit songs.
(For the record: The short one, with a voice as strong as ever, is Russell Hitchcock and the tall songwriter half is Graham Russell)
I saw them, almost by chance recently, at their one-night gig at the Palais in St. Kilda. John Paul Young was their support act and had an extra ticket. So instead of sitting home on a Saturday night I was in a packed theatre for 45 minutes of JPY and two hours of Air Supply.
JPY’s voice is as good as ever. Great timbre. He did a New Orleans song I’d never heard before. I think it’s called Silver Shoes which apparently go with strumpets and strawberry wine. And a terrific version of Down Among the Dead Men.
Back to the main act. Now in their 60s, the Russells still do about 250 shows a year. They’re now filling theatres in China. Not sure how the locals would get their tongues around the ‘l’ in titles like All out of Love.
And yes we know some of the lyrics are corny, but what’s wrong with a dollop of schmaltz?
I mean, just analyse this classic: ‘I’m lying alone with my head on the phone. Thinking of you till it hurts.’
Of course your head hurts, you dickhead. Who uses a phone for a pillow?
But I nitpick. Their show is Vegas-style slick, it is tight, and the audience adored them.
Around the same time as they were giving huge value for money at the Palais, across town a spoiled brat named Justin Beiber was keeping his fans waiting for more than an hour – reportedly while he played computer games.
Wanna bet that little twerp will be around, filling houses, four decades from now? Four years?