Las Vegas Strip vets Human Nature plug in holiday jukebox

Updated November 26, 2018 - 5:31 pm

I had attended a media event one night in May 2009 at the old Embers steakhouse. The steak was tough but the assignment was easy, the opening of Human Nature’s residency at the I.P. showroom.

We were seated at large, round dinner tables in something of a pre-show meet-and-greet with the group. It was one of these events where I knew almost everyone in the room — aside from a guy who sat in the seat to my left.

“Who are you with?” I asked, thinking he might be an Australian media rep.

“I’m with Human Nature,” said the guy, who was (and is) Mike Tierney.

“OH!” I said, digging into my steak. At the time, the group needed name tags. Not today.

Nearly 10 years later, the gentlemen from Human Nature (the Aussie Fab Four of Mike and Andrew Tierney, Phil Burton and Toby Allen) are so recognizable and certainly part of Las Vegas’ fabric. They’ve been at The Venetian since 2013, and will perform their annual holiday show — “Rockin’ Holiday Jukebox” — from Tuesday through Dec. 23.

Unlike in years past when the guys sprinkled in a few holiday classics with their usual set list, the production is a full-scale Christmas celebration. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” in the mix. Human Nature then bolt into their 10th-anniversary year, having outlasted dozens of Strip productions and even a few in their current hotel (“Puppet Up,” lest we forget, shared Sands Showroom for a few weeks).

Human Nature return to their native Australia for an extended tour next April and May. Left open is their contract, which is due to expire in March, just before that tour.

“We’re still in talks, but it’s looking good,” Andrew Tierney said in a chat with the group last week for an upcoming episode of my new PodKats podcast series. “We have the big national tour next year, and we might make some changes as we go do that, or make the changes before we go on tour. We’re still working that out, but the plan is to keep on truckin’ through.”

Human Nature will play to 5,000-6,000 seat arenas. Next year not only marks their 10th year on the Strip, but 30 years as an act.

“We’re thinking of Las Vegas, spending 10 years here, it’s a significant segment of our career,” Andrew Tierney said. His brother added, “We’ve never had a sub, we’ve never had a swing.” The guys have performed more than 2,200 shows, overall, since moving to Vegas.

“For us, this room and this casino is one of the jewels on the Strip,” Mike Tierney said. “For us, it just suits our style and the kind of show we put on. We want to stay here.”

‘Diamond’ for Diana

Diana Ross returns to Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas for nine shows in February. “Diamond Diana” is billed as a new showcase for Miss Ross, who turns 75 on March 26. New costumes, certainly, are planned for the production, which runs for select dates Feb. 6-23 (tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at the Wynn box office). This is Ross’ fourth engagement at Encore since 2017; she previously headlined Venetian Theater.

Las Vegas plays a pivotal role in Ross’ leap to her solo career — the Supremes’ ballyhooed final live performance was Jan. 14, 1970, on the Strip. Impress your friends, or not, by knowing their last show was at the since-imploded Frontier Hotel.

How he spent it

Rich Little marked his 80th birthday on Monday in characteristic fashion: Headlining on the Strip. Little continues to perform at 7 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays at Laugh Factory at Tropicana. He opened in the mezzanine comedy club in July 2015, has performed in Las Vegas since the 1960s and lived in town since the early ’90s.

The legendary impressionist dates to Hollywood’s golden era on network TV, sharing the record with comedian Nipsey Russell for the most appearances ever on “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast” specials. Little and Russell took the famed dais 24 times apiece in the series, which aired 54 specials from 1974-‘84 from the old MGM Grand (now Bally’s).

Little published his memoirs, “Little By Little, People I’ve Known and Been,” in 2016. Upon its release, he said, “I’ve been blessed to have a career that has spanned more than 50 years through what many have called the glory days of Hollywood. In that time, I’ve not only had the privilege to work alongside and impersonate some of the world’s biggest actors, comedians and, of course, politicians, but been lucky enough to call many of these legends my friends.”

It’s magic!

I was honored to honor my buddy Murray Sawchuck with a mayoral proclamation that Sunday was Murray The Magician Day, coinciding with Sawchuck’s 45th birthday.

In presenting the plaque, I rushed the stage — or rather ambled to it — as the unbilled interloper in Sawchuck’s show at Laugh Factory. He was utterly stunned. Mission accomplished.

Seeing the shrink

Guitar great DJ Ashba of Sixx:A.M., and late of Guns N’ Roses, was honored with a shrunken head at The Golden Tiki on Sunday night. “The hair is on point!” said Ashba, who wears a Mohawk, as the piece was unveiled. “It’s actually kinda creepy.”

Cool hang alert

Dave Loeb, Nathan Tanouye, Julian Tanaka, Carlos Mata-Alvarez, Gil Kaupp, Larry Aberman, Pepe Jimenez and Steve Flora head up “The UNLV Faculty Bash” from 9 p.m.-midnight Wednesday at Dispensary Lounge. A lotta firepower in that little place, where the admission is free and the music is righteous.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast is posted on the R-J website. Contact him at Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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