You know your money’s been well-spent when legendary Motown artist Smokey Robinson has given his seal of approval to a show, but after experiencing the Human Nature show for myself – there’s no denying their talent – these Aussies did not disappoint! They can sing that Motown music like they’ve been singing it for decades, and well, they have… 22 years to be exact. They started up the group when band leader Andrew Tierney and his little brother Mike, a male soprano songbird at age 12, joined talents with their school mates: heart-melter bass vocalist Toby Allen and soul singer Phil Burton.
Who knew Aussie’s had soul? Well, these four vocalists from Australia sure love to sing it. And they know how to show a girl, her date, her mate, and the whole entire family, young and old – a great time! Human Nature had the entire audience up and out of their chairs. Just like the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas song, they had ‘em “Dancing in the”… well… theatre aisles. Well-suited for the occasion, the quartet performs in several of their finest 3-piece suits, with short and perfectly coiffed hair, reminiscent of the “old days of rock”, and in a sort of geeky way, make you fall in love with them. Right from the start, the bass vocalist Toby wooed the ladies with his deep, low and sultry voice – add to that sweet low end the two tenor brothers Andrew (leader of the band) and his younger brother Mike, and right in the middle: the strong soulful sound of Phil, the perfect voice for when the song opens up in need of some testosterone-filled emotion. We all miss the Temptations’ David Ruffin and his gravelly voice that spoke to our pain and joy, and though Phil may be the color of Wonder Bread, he steps up to the mic often throughout the night to kick a little soulful ass.
The four band ‘mates’ are certainly no strangers to the stage. The quartet has toured with Céline Dion and Michael Jackson and has been one of Australia’s biggest acts since its 1995 quadruple-platinum debut, Telling Everybody. The band’s last four multi-platinum albums have all debuted at No. 1, and they’ve charted 17 Top 40 hits and five Top 10 singles. And their success has continued across the hemisphere into Sin City, as the first Australian band to have a residency on the Strip. Now going into their third year engagement in Vegas at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, and with a showroom honorably named after them (Human Nature Theatre), even the city’s most-loved mayor, Oscar Gooman, has shown his admiration when he decreed that May 11, 2010 would be known as “Human Nature Day”. Their 9th studio album, (the band’s first American album), in celebration of their success here in Sin City, was released Nov. 2011 and features tracks of the Vegas classics: “Viva Las Vegas”, “It’s Not Unusual” and “Lady Is A Tramp”, and was aptly named “Vegas – Songs From Sin City”.
Human Nature are backed by a live band that really knows how to set the groove in place perfectly underneath their beautiful harmonies. Performances are held inside the Imperial Palace Showroom, which was remodeled for the show. The staging, which was upgraded with a state-of-the-art set designed by David Rudder, has brilliantly simplistic lines, with a glowing white staircase and highlights of fire engine red accents right in the middle of the stage – perfectly created for the vocalists to glide up and down through their vintage-made-modern choreography. The lighting is top-notch by Yves Aucoin (Céline Dion A New Day…). The upgraded premium sound system really shows, with each song well-blended to match the sound of the original hit, yet with today’s modern tweaks of high-tech sound. It can be a very difficult job for a sound engineer to properly highlight the vocals on top of a live drum set, and this sound man definitely earned his wages when it came to clarity. Even on the rockin’ upbeat songs like “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, with the horn section playing really hot, the sound man was able to keep the soft nuances of their four vocals on top of the mix quite well. Once in awhile we lost Andrew’s deep low tones, sadly, but that was only on a rare song or two.
Their true vocal talent blossomed when they sang Smokey’s song “The Tracks of My Tears” a capella. You could hear a pin drop throughout the theater as the audience sat breathless in a state of complete awe. Their four individual voices sang together and became one, with each breath, gliding through the melody like that beautiful sound that you hear when you run your moistened finger around the top edge of a crystal wine glass – swooping up to a crescendo and gently fading away.
Human Nature, simply put, puts on a great show. If you had to list the top qualities of a great show, the list might look something like this: great songs, killer band, tons of talent, audience participation – handclapping, singing along, and even learning a few new dance moves! There’s just an overall sense of fun and “good times” when Human Nature hits the stage. People are clapping their hands and singing out loud, feeling like they’re right up there on stage with them. You will love this show if you love Motown music, the beautiful blending of four-part harmonies... what the heck, even my kids (both preteens) loved the show (and they didn’t know half of the tunes!) For all-ages and all kinds of music-lovers, Human Nature will certainly show you a good time.
Human Nature performs at The Venetian Las Vegas For tickets call: 702-794-3261 HumanNatureLasVegas.com