Thirty years on and boy-band (now very much man-band) Human Nature has still got it! On stage for more than two hours, performing a set of 30 plus numbers, these guys –
brothers Andrew and Michael Tierney, together with high school friends Toby Allen and Phil Burton – are energetic and reverential. They love their Aussie roots, even though they have now been artists in residence in Las Vegas for 10 years and counting … and the audience loved them.
Their vocals remain strong and vital – they harmonise magnificently, performing a mixed repertoire of their hits, others’ hits, jukebox classics, ballads, love songs and Motown numbers.
Aiding their cause is Australian singer-songwriter Dami Im, who won the fifth season of X Factor – mainly flying solo but also involved in a duet. She’s a terrific talent – dynamic with a big, big voice. Among the songs she performed were “Sound of Silence”, which placed second at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest; and the pivotal number she sang on the X Factor, “Purple Rain”. Im appears on stage first and after a short break, it’s Human Nature’s turn.
While their stagecraft is polished, it still appears natural and friendly. Through a series of outfit changes – from all black ensembles to more colourful and sparkling suit jackets and ties – they belt out the up-tempo numbers … and croon. Each song sees rapidly changing video representation across two proscenium arches, which works most effectively and, on occasions, there is further video at the back of the stage. That, along with the lighting and the favourable acoustics give the crowd a night to remember.
Human Nature is accompanied by a gifted six-piece band. There’s also the appearance of a professional couple from Dancing with the Stars during a few of the songs. A lucky (and, at times, rather embarrassed) fan gets a bit of personal love and attention during the show. In fact, the vibe of the whole night is upbeat and wholesome.
The songs are punctuated, on a couple of occasions, by reflections from the lads of their 30 years together – their memorable moments, achievements and noteworthy songs. Along the way they give due deference to their life partners and children … and to the other artists that have influenced them and believed in them (Smokey Robinson among them). They’re also not afraid to poke fun at themselves and the looks they had – through head to toe vinyl, sleeveless shirts and bottle bleached hair. They seem to be having fun.
They’re supreme entertainers, who – even after all these years (with 13 studio albums and 14 Australian tours behind them) – have a freshness and vitality. I dare say every member of the audience would have walked away satisfied that they’d had a great night out in the company of Human Nature.
They’re on tour at RAC Arena in Perth on 4 May, AIS Arena in Canberra on 6 May, WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong on 7 May, the Entertainment Centre in Newcastle on 9 May and at ICC Sydney Theatre on 10 – 11 May 2019.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Just a Couple of Song & Dance Men (Chapel off Chapel) – theatre review
- Adele Live 2017 – music review
- At Last: The Etta James Story (Brisbane Powerhouse) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre