The Australian pop duo known as Air Supply played a sold out show, along with their band of explosive young rockers, Thursday night February 21st. The audience was filled with an adoring crowd including an ear piercing assortment of excitedly screaming women. Russel Hitchcock, (Lead Vocals) and Graham Russel (Lead Guitar and Vocals), have been recording and playing their pop rock love ballads for thirty eight years. While the band had their biggest success in the US, in the 1980's, with eight Top Ten hits, the duo actually started the band in Australia in 1975 and have had chat topping hits worldwide right up through the 21st century. To date the group has sold over 100 million records across the globe.
The duo played a near two hour set at the packed venue, cramming in many of their biggest hit songs like “Even the Nights are Better” and “Just as I Am”. Hitchcock was the first to get the crowds emotions flowing with his trademark high crooning vocals, that invoked screaming waves undulating through the venue, much like an early Beatles concert. Meanwhile his partner Graham Russel took a more subtle approach at the beginning relying on his guitar skills and was content with a backing vocal role. But as the night progressed it was Russel's witty story telling that took over the crowd's imagination. First he gestured to a pretty young girl in the crowd who raced to the foot of the stage. Russel grasped her hand and sang directly to the blushing young lady. The sarcastic Aussie, then paused to joke with her making it difficult for her to keep a straight face throughout the song. Later in the set Russel performed an acoustic set and indulged in extensive and witty story telling before each song, including “Me and the River”, a song he wrote on a visit to Santiago Chile. Then Hitchcock returned to the stage and belted out the hit song, The One That You Love. During the song he strolled down a walkway onto the floor in front of the audience. This was the signal everyone is always waiting for at the stellar venue for the most fervent fans to leave their seats and flood the edge of the stage. The Chumash Resort is one of the only large venues that allows this old school practice so popular with fans in the golden days of uninhibited concert freedom. Of course, as always the venue boasted their trademark in house thundering sound system, spectacular stage lighting and massive video screens. Speaking of thundering sound, the pair of Aussies employed a quartet of young rockers that would periodically explode in a classic rock jam in some of the bands more upbeat songs. The group consisted of fellow band members Jonni Lightfoot (bass/vocals), Aaron McLain(guitar/vocals) Aviv Cohen (drums) and Amir Efrat on keyboards. The band ended the set, while a frenzied dancing crowd surrounded the front of the stage, with two of their classics, “Lost in Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”.
As the band left the stage the crowd shook the venue with thunderous applause and screaming chants. The band returned shortly to satiate the audience with two more classic hits, “Goodbye” and “All Out of Love”. I sneaked out of the venue in the middle of the last song to catch one of the last nights of the Chocolate Lovers buffet, that ran through February. The floor and the walls of the restaurant literally shook from the booming sound in the venue below as the band completed their finale. As a Chocolate Lover I ended my night in heaven, surrounded by a massive buffet complete with a near infinite variety of decadent chocolate delights, including my first time favorite, Key Lime Pie with a dark chocolate coating. What another glorious night of entertainment at the Chumash casino Resort.