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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Air Supply brings soft rock sounds to Civic

1/23/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Russell Hitchock, at left, and Graham Russell will bring their chart-topping Air Supply hits to the Akron Civic Theatre Jan. 31.
Photo courtesy of LUCK Media & Marketing Inc.
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Friends for nearly 40 years and bandmates for nearly as long, Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell — also known as Air Supply — are continuing to bring their soft rock sounds to fans through new recordings and tours.

The two musicians, along with a band, will appear at the Akron Civic Theatre Jan. 31, one of the 170-plus shows they will probably do this year, lead vocalist Hitchcock said in a recent phone interview from his Atlanta home.

“We work all the time, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “We don’t need to exercise our voices or physically because we do it all the time. We rarely rehearse. We tweak [our set] at the beginning of the year. We stay in mental shape and as good as physical shape as we can.”

Not bad for a couple of guys who are best known for their early 1980s streak of hits, such as “Lost in Love,” “The One That You Love,” “All out of Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” the latter penned by Meat Loaf’s scribe Jim Steinman.

Native Australian Hitchcock and British transplant Russell met in 1975 when both were appearing in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Sydney. They hit it off through a mutual love for The Beatles.

Hitchcock said both of them saw The Fab Four in concert in 1964 or earlier. For him, The Beatles get credit for setting him on the career path of musician.

“As soon as I heard them, I thought it was the best thing I’d ever heard,” he said.

After Air Supply found some success in the late 1970s in Australia, their music caught the attention of Arista Records executives in the U.S., who signed the band. In 1980, “Lost in Love” became the fastest selling single in the world, according to the band’s biography.

The band enjoyed many firsts, such as being the first Western group to tour China, Taiwan and other countries. Hitchcock said those are big highlights of their career, among others.

“The biggest thing is still doing what we like to do and performing at a very high level,” he said. “To have a nearly 40-year career in music is unbelievable for me.”

He added that playing for fans Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1988 at a concert marking Australia’s bicentennial was also a memorable experience.

Today, the band’s principles make their homes in the United States, with Russell living in Utah and Hitchcock in Atlanta.

The Akron show will be just the second Air Supply show this year, so Hitchcock said the band will be fresh and ready to entertain. Their shows, he noted, attract a multigenerational audience today.

“When we first began in the U.S, our first tour was all colleges,” he said. “We think now our fans are bringing their grandchildren and maybe sometimes their great-grandchildren. It’s a cliché, but it’s from 6 to 60. We show up on time, we don’t use bad language — it’s a show that everyone can enjoy.”

The Civic show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $27 to $102 and are available at the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, by calling 330-253-2488 or online at www.akroncivic.com, or through TicketMaster at 800-745-3000.

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