..

AIR SUPPLY: THE DEFINITIVE DVD COLLECTION

Review by Michael Jacobson

Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video:  Standard 1.33:1
Studio:  Arista
Features:  Lyrics
Length:  90 Minutes
Release Date:  April 3, 2001

Film ***

The late 70’s/early 80’s were a great time to be a pop music act from Australia.  FM radio airwaves made major stars out of Aussies like Olivia Newton-John, the Little River Band, Men at Work, Rick Springfield, and, of course, Air Supply.  The duo of Russells (Graham and Hitchcock) became the prominent soft rock attraction of their time, with a body of beautifully crafted love songs, romantic ideals, and Russell Hitchcock’s amazing tenor vocals.

The Definitive DVD Collection from Arista is exactly that.  The 15 tracks on this disc, comprised of music videos and live performances, document an era of music that is no more, but still just as close as your favorite adult contemporary radio station. 

I’m not embarrassed to admit I’m a fan of the group.  Apart from Paul Simon, no other artist had as much influence on my first formative years attempting to play the guitar and write songs.  Tunes like “Lost in Love”, “Every Woman in the World”, “All Out of Love” and the stirring, bombastic “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” tapped directly into a romantic sensibility that I, like many others, treasured.  You had your Eric Clapton, your Led Zeppelin, your Rod Stewart…these were the artists you put on when a sexual conquest was on the evening’s menu.  But for true romance, with wine, candles, and staring into the eyes of someone you loved, Air Supply was the music you played.

This disc is nicely composed, with an introduction and farewell by Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock, plus recollections by the duo about each song and/or video.  The structure of the disc is such where each song and interview segment has its own chapter stop, which makes for easy navigation if you happen to only want the music.

The songs are great.  The videos?  Less than inspiring, but you have to remember the infantile stage MTV and the art of music video was in at the time.  These guys are terrific musicians…sex symbols they ain’t, nor are they actors.  The opening ten seconds or so of the “Making Love…” video had me in tears with laughter at how indescribably cheesy it was.  Of course, the lameness of a video doesn’t detract from the majesty of a song, so no harm done…in fact, laughing at the videos was a bonus for me.

I also watched this disc with a profound sense of nostalgia.  This period in pop music was kind of a magical time for me…I was still a kid, and very idealistic, and the words of a simple but sincere love song could inspire the imagination as well as touch the heart.  Yes, I laugh at some of the videos, but mostly, I smile from the memories.

For anyone who once loved this music, and given the band’s popularity at their apex, that has to be quite a few, this disc is a treasure trove of great songs and a blissful stroll down memory lane.  After more than two decades of making music, Air Supply still proves there’s nothing like the feeling of being in love, or the romantic song that captures and preserves that feeling.

Video **

The video quality is okay, particularly considering the age of the material and the hodgepodge collection of sources from which they came.  There are excusable problems that naturally come from old images preserved on videotape, like a few noticeable lines, a bit of softness around the edges, faded coloring…nobody is about to spend the money it would take to restore them, so this is about as good as its going to get.  There’s nothing about the transfer that is unwatchable…in fact, the obvious aging artifacts lend a kind of charm and ease to slipping back into the memories these songs will open up.

Audio ***

The stereo mix is standard fare and nothing to get excited about…the new 5.1 mix, however, is much more impressive.  It’s lively and dynamic, with a strong bottom end and full open sound emanating from all channels for a potent and charged listening experiences.  With Dolby Digital audio, these old songs sound even better than you remember…a real treat.

Features *

What’s billed as a ‘feature’ is actually just a use of the subtitle function, which shows the lyrics to select songs when you activate it.

Summary:

This isn’t the best music DVD you will own, but for fans of the group, Air Supply: The Definitive DVD Collection is a more than welcome trip down memory lane with a collection of terrific songs by one of soft rock’s most prolific acts.  The new interview segments are a nice touch, and even if you chuckle at the videos, you’ll warm to the music.  Share this disc with the one that you love.