Air Supply vs. Hank Jr. this weekend at Florida Strawberry Festival
Two acts on opposite sides of the tough-tender spectrum — jingoistic country madman Hank Williams Jr. and sweater-wearing soft-hit specialists Air Supply — play the Florida Strawberry Festival this year. For those still uninitiated into the cultural glamor of our annual Strawberry Festival, think about the Grady Squash Festival from 1991's Doc Hollywood. (We're just bigger is all.)
It's two weeks of strawberry shortcakes, strawberry shakes, strawberry you-name-it, along with the prerequisite art and agriculture contests. But the music is big draw. The Strawberry Festival annually gathers an impressive slate of performers, usually heavy on the country accent. (The Oak Ridge Boys open it up this year.)
But there's always an odd '80s act thrown in there too. In recent years, Rick Springfield and REO Speedwagon have had the honors. This year, it's two tender lads from Australia: Air Supply. But my Stuck in the '80s co-host isn't impressed. He'd rather invest his weekly salary in tickets for Hank Williams Jr. What a pinhead! (Sean, I mean, though I guess it could apply to Hank too). Anyhow, here's the arguments we officially put forth in Thursday's Tampa Bay Times:
DALY: "Sure, Hank Jr. might be a ragin', Obama-slammin' sociopath, but concerts are better with a lil' unhinged danger. The guy once played a show with one of his amps on fire! The only risk at an Air Supply gig is whether you’ll get wine cooler spilled on your pressed Dockers."
SPEARS: "Here's why I prefer Air Supply: You don't need apostrophes to talk about their music, Sean. The Aussie songsmiths easily slay the hearts of women with their soft FM prose because they don't abbreviate their feelings, pal. And because Russell Hitchcock can still hold that final note in All Out of Love for three solid days. No, I'm not crying, I'm just getting a little emotional."
[Air Supply performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. $15-$20. Williams performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. $50. (813) 752-9194.]