70°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas Strip vets Human Nature returning to ‘Motown’

Updated August 15, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Over the past decade on the Las Vegas Strip, singing and grooving to Motown has been second nature for Human Nature. The Aussie quartet is marking its 10-year anniversary in residency in Las Vegas with a renewed emphasis on the Detroit sound, with “Australia’s Human Nature Sings Motown & More.”

Human Nature formally is unveiling the new format to a national TV audience on NBC’s “Today” show in the 10 a.m. hour Monday. The group will sing a Motown song featured in the stage show.

Motown’s prominence in the show coincides with the legendary music label’s 60th anniversary. The new show’s conversion has been gradual, since the quartet returned from a tour of its homeland in the spring.

“We thought maybe there’s a real passion from people for Motown in Australia again, and then we found out it was the 60th anniversary coming up,” said Phil Burton, who joins brothers Mike and Andrew Tierney and Toby Allen as the only performers ever in the act. “All the stars were aligned.”

The quartet has learned, over time, that Motown simply sells well. Fans in Vegas, and on frequent tours, always gravitate to those classics.

“We actually put a whole bunch of Motown in the show, for the Christmas show,” Andrew Tierney said during a recent interview in the band’s dressing room at Sands Showroom. Burton cut in with, “And the audience was incredible. It was like, when we hit that point and we all kind of looked at each other and thought …”

There was no need to finish the sentence. The show’s title and song list is again reminding of Motown. Lest we forget, Motown legend Smokey Robinson has endorsed the act since it opened in 2009 at then-Imperial Palace. The guys shifted to “Jukebox” in April 2016, incorporating such artists as The Beatles, Bee Gees, Beach Boys and even Meghan Trainor and Justin Bieber in the show.

Some “Jukebox” numbers will remain, but the guys always have soared and scored with “My Girl,” “Stop In the Name of Love,”“Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Dancing in the Street,” and “Uptight.”

Even given its impressive longevity, Human Nature has had to adjust and tighten its budget to remain profitable. Popular trumpet player Isaac Tubb, a five-year member of the act’s backing band, was let go for financial reasons in June. The band still rocks with Tommy Alvarado on sax, Otto Ehling on keys, Blaise Sison on bass, Carlos Guerrero on guitar and Greg Babcock on drums. But cutting live musicians, or dancers (no dancers in the “Motown” show, as there were in “Jukebox”) typically is a sign a production is offsetting potential shortfalls.

“It’s just difficult, I think now, with so many residencies and bigger acts, really big names that are filling a lot of those bigger rooms,” Andrew Tierney said. “It’s hard to find the pocket for the smaller shows, where they fit in, how to find an audience.”

I asked a question to the group: “What would you do if you were to produce a new show in Las Vegas?”

Allen was quick to say, “Not put our money in.”

There was a group laugh, harmonious as always. Ten years after opening on the Strip, Human Nature gets it.

Hey, Paula!

Paula Abdul opened “Forever Your Girl” residency at Flamingo Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin was in the mix; she has been frequenting the Strip scene while looking for a venue for a PCD revival in Vegas (as previously noted, the “Magic Mike Live” room at Hard Rock Hotel/Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is one target).

Also of interest is the contributions of Nappytabs choreography team Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo. The duo has extensive TV and Strip experience (“So You Think You Can Dance,” “Jabbawockeez,” “Viva Elvis,” and Jennifer Lopez’s “All I Have” residency). Though not confirmed to formally be directing the Abdul show, the couple has been working with the cast, and this is shaping up as a serious dance party. Abdul still can bring it, and her backing dancers are stellar.

Cool Hang Alert

The last time Michelle Rohl appeared at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, a group of attendees that included Drew Carey had to help me pull a lost dog out of my car during a Vegas monsoon. True story. The doggie somehow fled to the Smith Center and dove into my vehicle at valet.

Carey, a friend of music director/trumpet ace/producer Lon Bronson, was on hand to see Rohl’s Janis Joplin tribute, and it’s a powerful trip to the late-60s.

“Kozmic Blues” returns at 7 p.m. Saturday, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and Joplin’s own tenacious performing style. As we’ve already learned, Rohl, can touch off a storm.

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

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Central Perk coffee shop opens for business
As part of Saturday’s “Friends” Fan Experience at New York-New York hotel-casino, the artist Nathan Sawaya debuts his life-size, 700-square-foot re-creation of the show’s Central Perk coffee shop that’s constructed entirely out of Lego bricks. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Binion's debuts a spinning bar overlooking Fremont Street Experience
Binion's debuted its spinning bar inside the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon. The Rotating bar only goes at one full rotation per 15 minutes overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Green Eggs and Ham at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas
Scott Simon, executive chef at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas, makes a Green Eggs and Ham Flatbread with pistou, smoked mozzarella, tasso ham and eggs. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Lemon Semifreddo Dessert at Vetri Cucina in Las Vegas
Ashley Costa, pastry chef at Vetri Cucina at the Palms in Las Vegas, freezes lemon curd with whipped cream, sandwiches it between polenta-based crumiri cookies, sprinkles it with powdered sugar and drizzles it with argrumato, a lemon olive oil. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Hard Rock Memorabilia Exhibition
The 2,600-square-foot exhibit, which is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays to Mondays through Jan. 31, spans eras and genres alike. There are numerous rare and never-before-seen items here, featuring artists from ZZ Top to Nine Inch Nails, Bo Diddley to Britney Spears. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Museum of Selfies coming to Las Vegas - VIDEO
The interactive attraction offers several new selfie opportunities. (Museum of Selfies)
Show of Strength in 'A Choreographers Showcase' - VIDEO
"A Choreographers Showcase" pairs artists from Nevada Ballet Theater and staff from all facets of Cirque du Soleil to design an annual show. (Elizabeth Page Brumleyy/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
David Chang talks about what to expect at his new restaurant, Majordomo Meat & Fish - VIDEO
David Chang tells fans what to expect at his new restaurant, Majordomo Meat & Fish, at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pink Lady and Rosey Mary cocktails at Therapy in Las Vegas
Terence Beach, bartender at Therapy restaurant in Las Vegas, makes original pink cocktails to benefit breast cancer research. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Torrijas dessert served at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Las Vegas
Chef Christian Lee of Sugarcane at The Venetian in Las Vegas makes a dessert of torrijas, a Latin French toast, serving it with a caramelized-apple sauce and cinnamon ice cream. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
David Chang to sell Tasty Patties at Palazzo in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Chef David Chang has announced a casual concept that will accompany his new Majordomo Meat & Fish at Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Latkes, tzimmes at Market Place Buffet in Las Vegas for Rosh Hashanah
Ryan Swanson, Market Place Buffet room chef at the JW Marriott/Rampart Casino in Las Vegas, makes potato dishes as part of the resort’s Rosh Hashanah buffet. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
How Elphaba In "Wicked" turns green - VIDEO
Mariand Torres gets "painted" by makeup supervisor Joyce McGilberry for her role as Elphaba in "Wicked" at The Smith Center. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Hangover is served at The Crack Shack in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Khine Moore, executive chef at The Crack Shack at Park MGM in Las Vegas, makes The Hangover with a fried chicken breast or thigh dipped in honey-butter, sprinkled with Crack Seasoning and topped with an egg. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dessert Before Dinner winner Becky Quan
Nine of Las Vegas’ top women pastry chefs offered original creations built around Girl Scouts Trefoils shortbread cookies Saturday night at Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada’s annual Desserts Before Dinner Gala. The top dessert, as voted on by the audience, was an homage to Good Humor’s old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars created by NoMad’s Becky Quan. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chef Sammy D is cooking again in Las Vegas
Sam DeMarco served his first public meal since returning to Las Vegas on Sunday, with a pop-up brunch at 7th & Carson. And the veteran of the First Food & Bar, Rattlecan and Sam’s American has more in store for the downtown spot. The chef, known as Sammy D. to his friends, is taking on a consulting chef role with restaurant that will see some of Sunday’s offerings added to the regular menu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carl’s Donuts in Las Vegas celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day
Carl’s Donuts, a Las Vegas-based company that’s been serving the city since 1966, celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day with specialties themed to fall. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Harrison of "Pawn Stars" has a new store - VIDEO
Rick Harrison, the Pawn Stars co-star and owner of Gold & Silver Pawn, talks to the Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes about his soon-to-open Rick’s Collection retail outlet of mostly mid-century masterworks at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa - VIDEO
Because of popular request, the 1-year-old Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa, with shrimp, ground pork, neither or both. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trial by Fire cocktail at the Golden Tiki in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Adam Rains, head bartender (also Grand Poobah and a few other things) at The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, makes one of the bar’s tiki drinks, (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gordon Ramsay renovating Las Vegas steakhouse - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is preparing to re-launch his Paris Las Vegas restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cats owners compete for top show awards
The annual Jazzy Cats event is taking place at the Rio Convention Center this weekend attracting cats owners from around the country and the world to compete for the top show awards. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas serves blackened Cajun catfish - VIDEO
Troy Remer, sous chef at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, blackens Cajun catfish on the grill before serving it with mashed potatoes and collard greens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon at Mr. Chow - VIDEO
This just may be the gold standard for the filet mignon. Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has introduced The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon, which is coated with real 24-karat gold. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working as a mermaid in Las Vegas - VIDEO
McKenzie Kawano works as a mermaid at the aquarium at the Silverton in Las Vegas. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinkbox Doughnuts opens third store in Las Vegas area
Las Vegas-based Pinkbox Doughnuts, which opened its third store at 9435 W. Tropicana Ave., specializes in doughnuts such as the new Station Wagon, with Butterfinger; pink-velvet Pretty in Pink; and hybrid Glazed DoughCro Bites. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal, with image courtesy of Pinkbox Doughnuts
Starbucks brings back Pumpkin Spice early
Starbucks declares Aug. 27 the first day of fall as they make their pumpkin spice items available a full month early. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo at Carmine’s in Las Vegas
Roberto Leon, a line cook at Carmine’s at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, makes Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo with eight pounds of lobster, a pound each of mussels, clams and shrimp, two pounds of pasta and two gallons of sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'American Idol' auditions in Las Vegas
“American Idol” was in Las Vegas Monday looking for singers to compete in its upcoming 2020 season. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan part of the Harlem Globetrotters
Scooter Christensen, who grew up in Las Vegas, will play with the Harlem Globetrotters at The Orleans in Las Vegas Sunday, Aug. 25. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST