Think of Las Vegas residencies and your mind automatically turns to the great American performers who put Sin City on the map in the early days. Frank and the rest of the Rat Pack, with Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll close on their heels.
Yet the live music scene in Vegas is more varied than that. A Vegas residency is a sure sign you’ve made it in the music world and that is a world that has no interest in international boundaries.
Take Human Nature, for example. The boy band formed in 1989, so 34 years on, a loose interpretation of the word “boy” is required, but they have become one of Australia’s most popular exports and are the latest in a tradition of Aussie bands who take Vegas by storm through the simple expedient of singing crowd pleasers and singing them well.
The Oldest Boys in Vegas
Human Nature comprises brothers Andrew and Michael Tierney and two of their high school friends, Toby Allen and Phil Burton. They formed Human Nature as teenagers in the late 80s and at the time were the archetypal boy band, knocking out crowd-pleasing classics from Motown and Doo-wop that allowed them to show off their gift for harmonizing and their bright smiles.
It’s a simple formula, and one that typically burns bright but brief, as the members become restless and break away to prove they can make it as singer songwriters. Some, like Robbie Williams do just that, while others drift out of the limelight into obscurity.
The boys at Human Nature had no such pretentious or ambitions. They had a winning formula, they signed with Sony in 1996 following a personal endorsement from Michael Jackson, and over the ensuing decades they sold millions of records. In 2019, they set up home in Las Vegas, where their residency at the Venetian has just been extended for another year. With more than 2,000 shows already under their belt, they still manage to fill the Sands Showroom five nights a week. Long may they continue.
A Tradition of Aussie Tribute Acts at The World’s Gambling Capital
Australians and Las Vegas naturally go together. As a nation, Australia gambles more on casino games than any other – almost twice as much as the second-placed Republic of Ireland. It’s no wonder that so many aspiring Aussies have gravitated to Sin City in search of their fortunes – and not just by playing the pokies.
If it was just that, they could save themselves a flight and consult the experts at topaustraliangambling.com to find a proper Aussie casino in cyberspace. But the thing about Vegas is that anything can happen and stars are born every day.
Not every great Australian act in Sin City has been a covers band. Men at Work were one of the highlights of last year’s Fremont Street Experience, AC/DC almost took the roof off the MGM Grand last year and there are rumors afoot that Kylie Minogue is in talks with Caesar’s Palace and the Hard Rock Café over a potential 12-week residency worth a nine-figure sum.
However, these are the exceptions. The real Aussie invasion of Sin City involves acts that follow the Human Nature model. Time and tide wait for none of us, and with so many great rock acts from the 60s and 70s on “last ever” tours, expect to see more genuinely talented musicians choosing to breathe new life into classic acts, where everyone knows the words.
The Australian Bee Gees Show Has a Revolving Cast
The Bee Gees were a 1970s phenomenon. While the Gibb brothers were English by birth, they emigrated to Australia at a young age and that was where they first achieved fame in the 1960s. By the end of the 70s, they were famous worldwide and exemplified the disco style of the era.
The Bee Gees style is what Las Vegas is all about, but sadly, their 1997 one night show Las Vegas really was one night only. It was the first and last time the Bee Gees played Vegas due to Barry and Maurice Gibb’s health problems.
The Australian Bee Gees is a tribute act with a difference. With a revolving “cast” playing the different members of the band, the focus is all about recreating that Saturday Night Fever experience, and these guys pull it off to perfection every night. They treat the source material with every bit as much reverence as a modern day chamber orchestra playing the works of Haydn or Mozart – it’s what the future of live classic rock is all about.
Australian Pink Floyd Take the Virgin Theater Into Space
When they reformed in 2005 for a 40-minute set at Live 8 after more than 20 years apart, Pink Floyd were allegedly offered $150 million to tour the US. It was never going to happen. Today, the three surviving members still tour with their own projects, but Pink Floyd died with Richard Wright in 2008.
Waters is currently playing a mixture of rearranged Floyd classics on a massive stadium tour. Gilmour continues to record and play occasional live gigs in more intimate surroundings. Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets is shining a light on the band’s early material from the Syd Barrett era. All of these things have their own merits and represent a great opportunity to see these rock legends in action. But if you want to hear Pink Floyd classics played the way they were originally created, book a ticket to see Australian Pink Floyd.
There are literally dozens of Floyd tribute acts out there, but APF are critically acclaimed as being at the top of the tree, and have been for more than three decades. Lead guitarist and vocalist Steve Mac formed the band 35 years ago and has put all his energy into recreating every nuance of Floyd’s unique sound. APF’s Dark Side at 50 tour will play The Theater at Virgin Hotel Vegas this coming August.