In 2010, the prevailing Australian kings of soft rock Air Supply released their most recent collection of new songs, Mumbo Jumbo. A surprisingly arty and electronic/symphonic effort somewhat reminiscent of the formal experimental pop of 10cc, with a nod to Jim Steinman’s micro-operatic mode, Mumbo Jumbo would probably challenge your sense of what Air Supply is all about. When Air Supply brings their catalogue of soaring hits to the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) on Friday, August 10, the smart money says that Mumbo Jumbo will not be amply represented in their set; in fact, zero would be your safest bet.
But I like the model, and I see it a lot. Bands yoked in concert to their unfortunately large body of hits keep themselves interested with ambitious new compositions and recordings, knowing that the likelihood of any of the new songs cracking the live set is slim. Since we live in the post-sales era of music, there is little other incentive for new recordings. Lavish and expensive records like Mumbo Jumbo are made almost entirely for the artists themselves (and perhaps for one eccentric, provincial music critic in upstate New York who prides himself on listening to at least one track from the latest record by every single act he writes about). Let’s start a modest fire: Go listen to “Setting the Scene,” the oddly epic creation-myth love song that is Track One from Mumbo Jumbo and see if I am wrong about it.
Air Supply performs at UPAC in Kingston on Friday, August 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $49 to $84 and can be purchased in person at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072, or the UPAC box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088, or online at www.bardavon.org.