MANILA, Philippines — Music, as they say, is the closest thing we have to a time machine. This quote rang true as Air Supply transported the concert-goers back in time when they held their show last week at the Newport World Resorts.
It was a night of just pure music, a moment of walking down the memory lane as the Hall of Famers from Australia performed their classic hits one after another at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.
The soft-rock duo of Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell serenaded the crowd starting with Sweet Dreams followed by Even The Nights are Better, Just As I Am and Every Woman in the World.
Russell quipped at one point, “Obviously we’ve been around for two to three years now. That was a joke.” The musicians’ career began in 1975 and they have been to the Philippines for more than 20 times already.
“We’re going to tell you our favorite song, it’s an old one. We hope you enjoy it. We sing this every night ‘cause it’s from our hearts. We take nothing for granted. We appreciate you coming to see us tonight,” Russell said before crooning the earnest Here I Am.
“It’s nice to be back here,” Graham also told the crowd. “You know, we first came here to Manila over 40 years ago… We have a lot of friends here. We really do love coming back to the Philippines. This evening, tonight, you are us. In return, we are yours. Are you ready?” The fans were, in fact, more than ready as they chorused Chances with both Russell and Graham.
Russell then went for a break while Graham had a solo moment on stage and narrated, “Sometimes, at the end of the job, before we go home, it gets very tiring. Several times, I take my guitar, this one, and go and find a nice green field. Sit down and play. And just myself. One day, I found a beautiful rhythm flowing through this beautiful field. And I brought my hand to the water, to feel the beautiful water dripping over my hand. (It brought) me some great joy.
“My other hand was on the guitar and (I) started to play,” he began strumming his guitar and uttered a few verses like he was “having a conversation with an old friend.”
The 72-year-old English-born singer then got nostalgic over how he met his “closest friend” Russell back in Australia in the ‘70s. “(We’ve been friends) for almost 50 years and we never had an argument of any kind. And that is true friendship. I met this gentleman in a musical… There were 34 people. We sang together.”
He continued, “I heard this amazing voice. And I turned to him afterwards, ‘What an amazing voice you have. My name is Graham Russell.’ And he said, ‘Thank you very much. We have the same name (Russell Hitchcock).’ We realized we were born three days apart on the same month. We have so much in common.”
They soon realized that they would be “working together for a long time.”
As Russell returned to the stage, he also harked back to their good old days.
“We’ve known each other for many, many years. We met in Australia in 1975. We were in a production, in Jesus Christ Superstar… We had major success in Australia early on in our careers,” he recalled.
They were fortunate enough to get record deals in 1977 and worked with British rock star Rod Stewart, continued Russell.
“In Australia, we had some ups and downs. Right now, we’re gonna take you back in that first part of our career…. We sincerely thank you for continuing this journey with us,” he added.
The duo then hit Two Less Lonely People in the World and Graham did what he does best with his guitar solo. They also performed the heartfelt The One that You Love, Lost In Love, Making Love Out of Nothing at All and Without You.
Their music is so timeless that you’d see a multigenerational crowd during the show — old souls, middle-aged and younger ones accompanying their parents.
With their relatable lyrics and sounds that never get old, it makes one want to wallow in nostalgia (I can hear the person sitting next to me ardently singing every lyric of each song, filled with emotions).
Towards the end of the concert, Air Supply expressed their gratitude to Steve O’ Neal Productions, their crew, the people behind the scene and the band members who performed with them before leaving the audience with the LSS-inducing All Out of Love: “I’m lying alone with my head on the phone/Thinking of you ‘til it hurts/I know you’re hurt too, but what else can we do? Tormented and torn apart…”