AIR SUPPLY performing at Tel Aviv’s Mann Auditorium in 2014..
(photo credit: SHUKA COHEN)
The audience at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem Saturday night was anything but “All Out of Love” for Air Supply.
The thousands of fans in attendance at one of the band’s three concerts in Israel this weekend were thrilled at the aging rockers’ moves, vocals and stage presence – and I was among them. It may be my third Air Supply concert in the Jewish state, but I still felt like it was a magical evening, with an energetic show full of the power duo’s odes to, of course, love.
The band’s Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell know just what their fans have shown up for, and they deliver on all fronts, with their biggest hits and cheesy sincerity. The pair, 67 and 66 respectively, burst onto the stage like the rock stars they are, both dressed head to toe in black. They opened the show with “Sweet Dreams,” one of their most popular hits from the early ‘80s, which had much of the audience singing along. And those who weren’t singing already joined in when they launched into “Even the Nights Are Better,” with the talented band and sound system reverberating through the arena. (At times the sound was a bit too powerful, almost drowning out the lyrics on certain songs.) Hitchcock and Russell may display some questionable old-man dance moves on stage, but the vocals and performance are as strong as ever. Hitchcock’s smooth-as-velvet voice was a treat on songs like “Here I Am” and “Every Woman in the World.”
After a wardrobe change and a break for Hitchcock to “have a cup of tea,” according to Russell, who used the time to recite a poem, the pair powered through with “The One That You Love,” “Lost in Love,” “Making Love out of Nothing At All” and finally an encore performance of the anthem “All Out of Love.”
The band pointed out that this was their fourth performance in Israel, something quite likely influenced by two of their band members, Amir Efrat on keyboard and Aviv Cohen on drums. Efrat, a native of Kibbutz Urim, has been with the band for seven years, and Cohen, a native of Tel Aviv, has been on tour with them for four.
Graham dedicated one of the songs during the show – “I’ll Find You,” a track he says they don’t play very often on tour – to the people of Israel, since the song is about “the courage of the human spirit – something Israelis know very well.”
Indeed, Air Supply encountered that spirit this trip, when they had to cancel their Friday night show in Haifa due to the fires plaguing the region. But, Hitchcock said during the Jerusalem show, they were staying an extra day to be able to return to Haifa Sunday night and hold the concert after all. And, according to Ynet, the band gave away 200 free tickets to firemen’s wives as a gesture to note their difficult week.