During 1988-1989 I lived one year in the US, for my junior year in high school. The first 6 months I spent with the Sapp family in Quitman, Georgia, a small town not far from the Florida border, and the last 6 months with another host family in Valdosta, a city also located in south Georgia (on I-95). The second host family (Herman & Teresa Story, and their kids Jil and John Lee) were fans of Air Supply. I did not know the band at that time, but because I often heard the music there, I started to like it. Over the past years I bought some of their CD’s, and I still listen to it sometimes late at night.
Tonight Air Supply had a concert in the Shanghai Grand Stage, and so I decided to go there with my wife. Concerts in the Grand Stage are always convenient for us, because it’s just a 15 minute walk from our home. Many good performances seem to take place here, because this year I watched the Rolling Stones and Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees here as well. Marketing for the concert was not very good, I heard about the event a couple of months ago but totally forgot about it until a post on Shanghaiist last week reminded me. But although the place was not sold out, it was reasonably full. As usual all the most expensive seats were taken (I guess these tickets are bought by sponsors?), and the cheaper areas were about half full tonight.
Air Supply’s Russel and Graham have gotten quite old. I knew them mainly from pictures on their albums, and had not seen them live before. But when they entered the stage, I was surprised to see how they had aged, especially Russel. It reminded me a bit of the Rolling Stones actually. Also during the concert you could see that they were not in the best of shapes anymore. But the singing was still fantastic! Russel’s voice is great, and the moment he started the opening song I knew it would be a great concert.
I brought my binoculars (I bought an excellent pair for almost nothing just before the Xiangyang market shut down earlier this year), and that was a good decision: they were so good that I could even clearly see the tattoos on Russel’s hands (not that that was a great sight, but you catch my drift). Without them you could see and hear them play, but you miss some of the details. We had good seats (right behind the VIP table for government officials, that was almost empty), but were still at least 50 meters from the stage. One thing I noted, for example, was that Graham’s guitar was not working properly during the first song. He was gesturing to his technicians, and was not looking too happy. Kind of funny to being able observe these things that you otherwise would miss.
The songs the duo played were all their famous ballads from the 70’s and 80’s. During Russel’s tea break, Graham also sang a new song (called First Time?) for the audience. According to him it was the first time ever that he performed this song, and it will be released shortly. The rest was a nice combination of well-known songs, from The One that I Love, to Every Woman in the World, and of course at the end Here I Am. The mainly Chinese audience knew all the songs, but not the text: when Russel asked the audience to sing the lyrics only a handful of people was able to do so. The show lasted for about two hours, and we had a great evening here.