Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2018

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The Venetian:

Review: Human Nature’s holiday show a strange yuletide brew? No!


Tom Donoghue /

Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, their four kids and Venetian headliners Human Nature celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, at the Venetian.

Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, Human Nature at Venetian

Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, their four kids and Venetian headliners Human Nature celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »

The four Australian singers who make up Human Nature have given their distinctive Motown sound to classic Christmas carols and holiday classics. Add in guest appearances by eccentric magician Piff the Magic Dragon and Headline News/CNN anchor Robin Meade, and you’d wonder if it isn’t too strange a yuletide brew.

Fear not! “The Human Nature Christmas Motown and More” show is full of tidings of great joy and songs of wondrous delight, and it’s all a truly beautiful and entertaining musical night.

It’s the first time the Down Under quartet has produced a holiday show here in their Venetian showroom, although they’ve previously performed back home and on tour. They shouldn’t have waited so long in their 25 years together.

Piff opens the fast-moving program with his unique brand of nonsensical magic before Phil Burton, Toby Allen and brothers Andrew and Mike Tierney launch into the songs of the holiday season.

Four of the Bella Strings beauties join them onstage with violins and cello pulsing away with the hard-driving, throbbing, seven-piece Funk Foundation band. Each member of the band has a solo to showcase his talent. They can sure play the power.

Then the surprise of HLN Morning Express star Robin Meade. Who knew the pretty lady, a one-time Miss Ohio and at Headline News since 2001, was such a talented singer? She looks sensational in a colorful Christmas wardrobe, and after belting out several favorites in perfect pitch, I had to wonder if she’d ever swap the TelePrompTer for onstage music sheets.

“I’m so fortunate to be at a point in my life where I can pursue both of my passions: television and music,” she told me. “I’m grateful I work for bosses who understand both sides of my personality in terms of news and music. Bottom line: I’d love to come back and be on the stage more, especially with Human Nature. They are outstanding musicians and people.

“After 20 years of helming the morning news, it still comes as a surprise to many people that I’ve been a vocalist longer than that. The energy with our audiences has been combustible. I’m honored and pumped to be part of it.”

The four guys became the No. 1 pop vocal group ever in Australia with 24 platinum albums, 18 Top 40 hits and five Top 10 hits. Legendary Motown star Smokey Robinson heard their million-selling “Reach Out” tribute and helped them launch their Motown show in Las Vegas more than five years ago.

They have a multiyear residency deal at the Venetian and were formerly headliners at what is now the Linq Hotel. Robin and the foursome recorded a holiday duet, “Sleigh Ride,” which last week climbed to No. 16 on the Holiday Radio Chart and No. 25 on Billboard’s AC Radio Chart.

Said Andrew: “The holidays are a special time of the year for us, and we wanted to share that feeling. We had so much fun recording our Christmas album, we wanted the spirit of the season to be reflected in the new show.”

Andrew and Robin spoof each other with a “Breaking News” segment that snow is about to fall in Las Vegas, and he gets his wish of an onstage snowstorm. It’s the perfect ending to a super show.

“The Human Nature Christmas Motown and More” show is being performed for 11 days — 7 p.m. daily and ending with a special 1 p.m. matinee on Christmas Eve at the Venetian.

Hopefully next year Christmas will come a little earlier. It’s so good and as delicious as the treats of Christmas Day, you’ll leave the theater wishing that it could be Christmas all year long.

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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