Uncasville, CT: Air Supply Sweetens Dreams for Four Sold Out Crowds at Mohegan Sun
On July 25th, Air Supply returned to Mohegan Sun for a 4-day engagement in the Cabaret Room. This was Air Supply's 2nd year in the Cabaret Room, having performed in the Wolf's Den for many years prior. The only problem I saw was that they might just need to move on over the the Arena for future performances! Each night was sold out and the line of people hoping for a ticket cancellation or no show got longer and longer. I never thought I'd actually ever see disappointed Air Supply fans.
Excitement was in the air and the first show started late due to the long line of fans still waiting to be seated in the showroom. Graham Russell came out to sing a few songs from his debut CD, The Future, which is set for worldwide release in August. Opting to switch up his set each night, a combination of The Future, Make You Mine and Lace and Leather were sung beautifully before Air Supply took the stage.
During Graham's solo performance each night, he told us a bit about himself, talking about growing up at the edge of Sherwood Forest in England, which he assured us was a real place. That always gets some laughs. Graham also talked about how he wrote Make You Mine in Puebla, Mexico last year and that the reason his CD was called The Future is because when he was young he used to think about his future, so this CD was about his future then, not his future now. Got it?
Not mentioned during this run of shows was a little story Graham told in Ridgefield, CT a few weeks ago. I hadn't ever heard it before and thought it was worth sharing. Graham said that as a little boy, he used to play in Sherwood Forest, which is, of course, most famous for the stories of Robin Hood. He had a favorite rock upon which he would sit and the letters R. H. had been carved into it. For years he always thought it meant Robin Hood, but later realized. . . and he raised his eyebrows - and then heard a lot of ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’. Fate.
Now on to the good stuff. Sweet Dreams. I'll tell you a funny story, but I'll be brief. Last September I went to Vegas for the Labor Day shows. Graham went to one of the cafes in the hotel and I walked up to him so I could ask him a question. Of course, I was naive and an Air Supply newbie and didn't know better! I asked if there was any possibility of them doing a full version of Sweet Dreams, because what they had been playing was the River poem/Sweet Dreams combo and while I thought it was great, I really wanted to hear Sweet Dreams in its full glory as it was my absolute favorite song. Graham's reply was painfully tactful as he said, ‘well, the thing is, we've been playing it for 26 years and we are doing this version right now’. I told him I have loved it for 26 years and loved this version too, and I quickly backed away, tail between my legs.
Fast forward 11 months and guess what is back into the set list? None other than a very mostly traditional version of Sweet Dreams! As Graham stepped off stage from his solo performance, the lights went dark and the screens behind the stage turned a brilliant yet subdued red. All was quiet. Then suddenly, Jonni quickly ran onstage, pressed a button (very funny), and out played, da da da da da da da da, da da da da da da da da. . . . Ok, you'll have to fill in your own tune there, but it was the opening to Sweet Dreams. We then heard a brand new poem from Graham and as the last words echoed into the darkness, Air Supply walked on stage. All was dark, Graham stepped to the front of the stage, the spotlight hit him and wham! “This is the time, when you need a friend, you just need someone near. I'm not looking forward to the night I'll spend, thinking of you when you're not here. " Spotlight Russell: “How many times will I think about the things I'd like to do? Only that I'm so glad I fell in love with you, and I'd do it again, if I could. " Oooooh, my heart sank! The audience was mesmerized. THIS is what I had waited for and I just sat there a grin on my face, a warmth in my soul. Sweet Dreams!
As Sweet Dreams came to a close, the key shifted and Russell suddenly belted out “Young Love, so strong, has never been a part of me. . . " Wow! What a great combination! Russell continued to sing the chorus to Young Love and the medley of poem, Sweet Dreams and Young Love softly faded. Not a group to miss out on opportunity, the band switched gears quickly and rocked the house with Even The Nights Are Better and swiftly followed with Just As I Am.
For anyone who thinks Air Supply is sappy, too much about love songs and old, let me tell you that they are W R O N G! Air Supply rocked the house with these three powerful and energized numbers! I thought the new opening with Even The Nights was hot, but now Air Supply has gone and added a whole new dimension to the beginning of their concert. What better way to capture the audience than with forceful, strong and blissful vocals backed by rockin’ guitars, drums and keys? It's no wonder there isn't a seat available in the house!
Air Supply played all the favorites, singing Chances, Here I Am, The One That You Love, All Out Of Love, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All and Lost In Love, among others. There were many special moments, and laughs throughout the four shows. The lighting was spectacular and if you ever have the chance, ask the crew where the best place to sit for the best sound is. Air Supply crew members Brett and Nate gave us some great advice, which was to sit right back near the sound booth. Mohegan Sun's Cabaret Room is quaint and everyone has a great seat. So for two nights, we chose to sit at the back of the room, right in front of the sound booth, and what we heard was incredible. Balance, power and clarity. It was like listening to a recording and we absorbed every note. Thanks guys!
Each night's performance in Mohegan Sun's Cabaret Room was more energized than the night before. Air Supply shows get better and better each time I see them and just when I think I've gotten a little tired of the same set list, Graham, Russell, Jed, Jonni and Mike do something different to keep it fresh! Oddly enough, I recently commented to Graham that I liked one of his new shirts and he said, “Ooh, you're not paying attention!" Sorry Graham, but me not pay attention? That's just one thing you can't accuse me of! New shirts, boots, haircuts, songs, drum beats, oohs, and jokes. We are all paying attention and embrace the variety.
Thanks again to Russell, Graham, Jed, Jonni, Mike, Sparky, Brett, Moe, Nate and Mark for giving us that extra something special at the Mohegan Sun. You surprised us all and we were all thrilled to be a part of the experience. My dreams were sweetened and I can't wait for more.
Betsy Hijazi attends Air Supply concerts and writes reviews and posts video clips on her blog at http://www.AirSupplyBlog.com http://www.MySpace.com/ASFanBetsy and http://www.YouTube.com/ASFanForLife