“Everything’s good in the world tonight, when Smokey sings…”
Las Vegas has had more than its fair share of lounge acts. Some good, some well… However, being an old soul I do love a good show: Men in tuxedos accompanied by a live band and plenty of singing and synchronized dancing. So when I heard Human Nature was planning a media shindig to celebrate their new home at the Venetian I decided to crash the party.
And by crash I mean wasn’t exactly invited but I was feeling entitled so I went anyway. I mean who doesn’t invite a writer for the only Black newspaper in Nevada and the first Black/Urban radio station to “a soulful event full of Motown sounds”? Not uncommon here but, that’s another post.
Anyhoo, back to the point.
Human Nature is a group of four 30 something guys from Australia singing and dancing to some of the best soul classics form the 1960’s like The Temptations ‘Get Ready’, The Four-Tops ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’, and Martha and the Vandellas ‘Dancing In The Streets’. The rumor has it they started off as a doo-wop group back in Sydney and later fell in love with the Motown sound. They sang for Smokey Robinson one day and the rest is well you know…
Now being bred just a few miles from Hitsville, USA myself, I give everyone who claims to have ‘Motown soul’ the side eye. I will be the judge of that, thank you very much.
They’ve been in Vegas for a bit but their official opening at the Venetian was late last month. Moving from the Imperial Palace (now ‘The Quad’) to a 5 star resort like the Venetian is no small feat. Something I’m sure wouldn’t be possible without the name and endorsement of Smokey Robinson.
The 700+ seat theater was packed (with mostly media) and everyone danced and sang along like these songs were still in heavy rotation on the radio. That’s the beauty of the Motown sound, its classic and crosses all cultures and political lines. I’m pretty sure there were quite a few republicans singing along side some hard core democrats.
The group did remind me how much I love ‘Tracks of My Tears’. There is just something about that song–the heartfelt but quiet sadness he feels as he tries to hide his heartbreak…
“My smile is my makeup; I wear since my breakup with yoooou. Baby take a gooood look at may face, you’ll see my smile seems out of place….” C’mon people, sing along.
Although not a Motown song, I’m wondering why the group doesn’t do a version of ABC’s “When Smokey Sings”.
The great vibe and fantastic pianist almost made me forget how much I paid for my beer at the theater bar…almost.
Mr. Green Eyes himself stopped chatted with me for a moment just before the official opening night at the Venetian. He is such a gentleman and a bit of a flirt…I’m not complaining. (Insert where I got my hug and kiss)
“Being on stage for me is like therapy and it’s one of my favorite things in life…I get so much joy from it. But I love these guys and I’m really proud of them.”
Smokey hopes this show will have a great influence on what other shows can be brought to the strip. He could be on to something. Boyz II Men is now headlining at the Mirage and they are the only Black group to do that…ever.
True to his word, he watched and danced with the crowd about three rows ahead of me but of course graced us with a song as well. And to quote that 80’s song again: “When Smokey sings, I forget everything…”
A special surprise moment came when Denise Williams (“Let’s Hear It for the Boy“) also joined the guys up on stage.
It was a great night and I would love to go back with some of my girls after a few martinis.