Soft-pop duo Air Supply turned back the clock Saturday night at North Central College, delivering their classic hits with the rock punch of a full backing band to a capacity crowd in the Chicago suburb of Naperville.
The Aussie duo got off to a slow start with a mediocre rendition of "Even the Nights are Better" plagued by microphone problems, but those had been resolved by song #2, a thrilling "Just As I Am" in which Russell Hitchcock showed off the vocals that have made the group soar for three-plus decades. That was followed by crowd favorites "Every Woman in the World" and "Sweet Dreams."
Air Supply were backed by four solid musicians - a keyboardist, guitarist, bass player and drummer, who added quite a bit of muscle to the duo's normally lite fare.
Hitchcock was unintentionally funny with his awkward sprinting around the stage and pointing at fans. On many occasions, he begged for applause with his hand to his ear like Hulk Hogan, and he not-so-modestly introduced "Here I Am" as "one of the greatest love songs ever written."
The band played a few new songs, including "Dance With Me," the most up-tempo track of the night, but they mostly stuck to the hits, including a version of Celine Dion's "The Power of Love," which Air Supply had actually recorded a decade earlier.
The band saved the best for last, with a slowed-down, dramatic "The One That You Love," a tender "Lost in Love," and huge crowd sing-alongs of "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" and "All Out of Love."
For the longest time, Air Supply's music may have been considered a guilty pleasure, but after earning cred with a recent Late Night with Jimmy Fallon performance and by having their song featured on Family Guy, now they're just a pleasure.
This 15-song, 75-minute set at Pfeiffer Hall before a predominantly female and older audience showed why the duo is still touring after more than 35 years together.
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