Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 | 10:58 p.m.
Human Nature did Motown proud when the four Aussies exploded onto their new Venetian stage over the weekend to start their residency. They sang with gusto and danced with precision, and the audiences loved it, dancing in their seats and singing along full belt to the Motown hits.
If Martha and The Vandellas danced in the streets of Chicago, audiences are certainly dancing in the aisles of The Venetian. Human Nature is that infectious, and the Motown magic is still a knockout in this reimagined show.
You’d never know these guys are celebrating 23 years of entertaining. They’re as fresh and enthusiastic as they were on Day 1, and you get to see the teenage debut courtesy of an 8mm Bell & Howell projector they bring onstage with lengthy extension cord.
It’s a new, gleaming and slick production that doesn’t take a break from the moment the curtain goes up. It’s as if they pack every Motown hit into this fast-moving, 90-plus minutes of total joy and unbridled enthusiasm.
The energy level onstage with the four Down Under gents -- and their seven-player, powerhouse backup band Funk Foundation with drummer, pianist, bass, guitar and three horns -- is so big, bold and nonstop, the boys lose weight every night dancing.
“We’ve lost track of how many dance moves there are; we’ve got to count them sometime, but it’s in the hundreds. We have to drink water by the gallon afterward to get our energy level back,” said Andrew Tierney.
Brothers Andrew and Mike Tierney and best friends Phil Burton and Toby Allen don’t hold back in this wonderful assault of music, medleys and maneuvers all over the shining silver circular steps, the piano and against the back wall monster video screen.
They say that they took a big gamble leaving Australia for a two-week gig in Atlantic City, but it brought them to Motown legend Smokey Robinson and The Strip. They were warmly welcomed and last year catapulted into the spotlight with a PBS special, a CD, a DVD and a U.S. tour, all while juggling Imperial Palace dates before heading home to Australia for a Christmas tour and then starting the new Venetian deal.
They’ve changed 90 percent of the staging from I.P. (now The Quad) but just 30 percent of the music. “It’s really freshened up the entire show. We’ve added one of our very own songs. We want to make it a party for everybody,” Andrew said. The show includes video that allows them to sing with Smokey on “Tracks of My Tears.”
On their set designed by Emmy winner Andy Walmsley, who was recently interviewed by Editor at Large John Katsilometes, they talked about their life on the road in 2012. It’s a five-part web series with details of their U.S. tour.
Smokey, now a Las Vegas resident who has nurtured Human Nature, said: “The members of Human Nature are extraordinary vocalists who truly know how to entertain, and I knew that they would be hugely successful.”
“He’s such a big supporter, and it’s fantastic to have him give his stamp of approval for our take on his music,” Mike said.
Added Andrew: “Every time we do something with Smokey, we’re reminded of how lucky we are to have him as a good friend and mentor. It’s been a career-changer.”
“I’m still pinching myself,” Toby admits. “Smokey has no need to get involved with something like this if he doesn’t want to. He obviously loves the music, and that’s the greatest satisfaction for us.”
“We were always concerned with what guys like Smokey, Lamont Dozier and the Hollands were going to think, but we’re doing this out of a pure love for the music,” Phil adds. “We’re going back to our roots, the songs we’ve been performing since we first started.”
It’s all as new and fresh and exciting as can be. You’ll leave humming, singing and even busting some moves. “We are so happy here at The Venetian,” said Mike, and it shows in their performance and the audience’s emotional and physical responses.
Incidentally, Smokey, who performed in President Obama’s inaugural concerts over the weekend, is teaming up with Michael Bolton for a live Home Shopping Network TV broadcast from The Venetian in a few weeks. Expect Human Nature to drop by for a special appearance.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.