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July 23, 2014

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KWTD’: Human Nature expounds on its classic sound, new showroom … and gondolas

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SPI Entertainment

Human Nature at The Venetian.

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Smokey Robinson With Human Nature

Smokey Robinson and members of the Motown revue Human Nature , from left, Michael Tierney, Phil Burton, Andrew Tierney and Toby Allen pose for a public relations photo shoot Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Launch slideshow »

The guys from Human Nature visited Tricia McCrone and me on “Kats With the Dish” last week for the show that aired 7 a.m. Friday on KUNV 91.5-FM.

The Aussie song-and-dance quartet who perform a spot-on Motown tribute act are among our favorite guests and talked of their move to The Venetian’s newly named Sands Showroom, their fancy new set … and parental gondola rides.

On how renovations at The Quad, formerly Imperial Palace, factored into the move to The Venetian: “It kind of all happened around the same time,” Phil Burton said. “We had heard word that The Venetian was interested, but at the time we were happy at the I.P./Quad, the I.P. back then, and you know they were talking about all these grand plans to change it, and we thought that was great. But then once all that started, once all the renovations started, it really kind of hurt us quite a bit.”

“We actually couldn’t find our way to the theater,” Toby Allen said, and later added, “and we love gondolas.”

On the group’s affection for gondolas: “It was funny, my mom and my dad had been here recently, and they took a gondola ride,” Andrew Tierney said. “One of the gondola singers was obviously singing, and my parents were explaining who we were, and this guy was like, ‘How did they get this booking? I’ve been singing in this gondola for 10 years. Do they know someone?’ ”

On how they improved the show for Sands Showroom: “That was the biggest challenge for us. We knew we wanted to refresh the show, but the theater itself at The Venetian presented some challenges, as well,” Mike Tierney said.

“It’s a smaller stage, and there’s really no space above the stage. You can’t fly things in. The side of stage is limited, as well. We really had to think about the best ways we wanted to improve the show, but we also wanted to keep what was great about it at the other place.”

Said Andrew Tierney: “Andy (Walmsley) is great. He’s really creative. He’s got his own look, as well, but we wanted a blend of what he does and what we do, so he was really collaborative. I think he’s really proud of the set because it’s not a typical Andy Walmsley set, and it’s not just Human Nature. It’s a great combination.”

On the group’s fondness for Motown classics: “I think Motown songs are always going to be a big part of our career. We’ve actually been doing just Motown since 2006,” he said. “We’ve had a few years of it in Australia before we came to Vegas. We certainly are not bored with it. It’s just amazing music. We had that original career back home in Australia where we did original music. We did Motown because it was sort of going back to our roots in Australia. We wanted to show people the music that influenced us when we started. Then that brought us here. It’s like a second career that we’ve had.”

On the possibility that they might one day pursue individual careers: “I’ve been wanting to leave for 21 years, but they won’t let me,” Burton said. “Just kidding.”

“When we were in Australia, Toby starred in ‘Cabaret,’ the musical,’ ” Andrew Tierney said (Allen also was on the Australian “Dancing With the Stars” cast).

“Those things had fit into what we were doing schedule-wise. It was different for us back then,” Andrew Tierney said. “We would release an album, do touring and then have some time off. Now that we are in Vegas, it’s constantly going, so we’d almost have to take a break from what we are doing here. To do that, it would be difficult. We don’t have this policy where you can’t bring a new idea to the table. If you want to do something by yourself, we’d welcome it, but it feels right now that with The Venetian, we are almost kind of starting again.”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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