CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Five minutes before 8 p.m., many seats in the Clay Center were unfilled. I wondered if the box office had really sold more than 1,600 seats to Air Supply.
Five minutes later, the hall was full. By the concert's end, the crowd was on its feet, singing along.
Air Supply opened with "Even the Nights Are Better," and took until the first chorus to make its sound adjustments. The audience didn't seem to mind.
Classics from the '80s, such as "Every Woman in the World" and "You Are My Lady," were mixed in with newer hits "Dance with Me" and "Chances Are."
Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock are the eternal duo. Since joining singing and songwriting forces in 1975, they have written and performed songs using a simple inspirational formula that starts with a mountaintop covered in snow, a guitar, a bottle of wine and love -- at least according to Graham.
Graham serenaded the audience with the new release "Everywhere." Although the guitar was a bit out of tune, the song had those timeless words that anyone who has ever found and lost true love can identify with.
Russell Hitchcock embraced the Charleston fans, some of them literally, as he worked his way through the seats on the main floor, seeming to draw energy from the kisses, photo-ops and handshakes of a rambunctious crowd while setting up and singing another classic, "Here I Am." Graham worked the floor, as well, happy to pose for pictures while playing.
Following "Lost in Love" was newer release "Dance with Me," from the 2010 album, "Mumbo Jumbo." The concert seemed to end with "Making Love Out of Nothing at All," but the audience was too savvy to be fooled. Encores again featured a mix of old and new. The crew rounded out with "Me Like You" and finally, "All Out of Love."
From where I sat in Row 5, Russell and Hitchcock looked a little older than what I remember from my cassette covers, but I'm sure to them, looking out at us from the stage, we did, too.