Motown legend Smokey Robinson had two huge reasons to smile last night: 1) He’s returning to the Strip for a series of live shows, and 2) his new discovery Human Nature from Down Under premiered at the Imperial Palace, and there wasn’t one person in the showroom not up on the floor singing and dancing along. Even Smokey and former Supremes singer Mary Wilson were jumping and jiving to the re-created Motown sounds.
I joined them for dinner before the show and asked both of them to recall their first day working at Motown all those years ago. We’ll have their fascinating stories next week along with our interview with the four mates of Human Nature. They were once Australia’s most popular boy band, touring with Michael Jackson and Celine Dion, but reinvented themselves to sing Motown hits in their search for U.S. fame.
Smokey told me: “They were bigger than The Beatles in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. I’ve never met four harder working, finely tuned singers. They are set to become major stars here now, and I’m proud to present them in Vegas.”
It’s been years since an entire Las Vegas audience was on its feet at such a high-energy, nonstop hits show and reacted with cheering, shouting, clapping and dancing. Smokey told me that he’d been blown away the first five minutes he first met the Australian foursome and they did an a capella version of one of his hits.
“I knew that very moment they would be sensational onstage in Vegas -- and look at this!” he told me in his VIP booth. “It’s incredible. We haven’t seen anything like this in more than a decade. True talent wins every time. I feel as if I’m right back at Motown!”
Harrah’s President Don Marrandino, who also runs the Flamingo and Imperial Palace, revealed that Smokey and he are close to finalizing a deal that would call for the singer to appear there, too, on Human Nature’s night off each Friday and also when they take a hiatus during their initial one-year-contract run! We tweeted that news and photo just seconds after it was revealed, so always stay linked to my Twitter at Twitter.com/robin_leach for breaking news as it happens.
There was a full turnout of local headliners on the red carpet, including comedian George Wallace, magician Nathan Burton, and, on their night off, the cast of Jersey Boys. Deven May, Erich Bergen, Travis Cloer and Jeff Leibow were on their feet joining in the showroom sing-alongs!
The standing ovations were long and the applause thunderous. Everybody agreed that they’d just watched amazing, extraordinary entertainment. I’m no critic, but this is the most memorable musical night I’ve reveled in for a long, long time. Their singing is superb. Their dance moves are terrific. The backup band is a knockout!
Race to get your tickets before it’s sellout and standing room only. We’ll be back next week with our Smokey Robinson, Mary Wilson and Human Nature interviews; meantime, enjoy our ginormous photo gallery.
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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