Mark McGowan get out your pen and paper. Human Nature’s Andrew Tierney has a few special requests for when he quarantines for two weeks in a Perth hotel before the ARIA Hall of Famers play a Christmas concert to around 5000 fans at Kings Park on December 12.
“Just a window that you can open,” he said yesterday from Las Vegas, where the vocal quartet has lived and worked for the past 11 years.
“A personal trainer and a chef. And a keyboard,” Tierney added. “And a time machine so I can fast forward (the 14 days).”
Human Nature will permanently move home to Sydney after the Perth performance. While Phil Burton is already in NSW, the other three members — Tierney, his younger brother Michael and Toby Allen — will fly back to WA via Singapore in mid-November before starting quarantine.
Tierney said the “Naitch” jumped at the chance to play their first show since March 14, when they wrapped a seven-year residency at The Venetian.
But, of course, it wasn’t that simple. The 46-year-old singer revealed that flights out of the US were only confirmed on Monday and any more delays would have meant they had to pass on the concert, which is billed as Christmas in the Park.
The show will feature Human Nature’s hit Motown covers and songs from The Christmas Album, which has climbed back into the ARIA Top 10 every year since being released in 2013, plus latest pop single Nobody Just Like You.
“To come back to Perth, and Kings Park is just this beautiful venue, we’re thrilled that we could do that and make a start to the return of live entertainment in Australia,” Tierney said.
“Christmas is a joyful time but I think this year, more than ever, people are going to want to enjoy it and forget what’s been a fairly dark year. I heard a bit of Sinatra the other day, I can’t wait (for Christmas) this year. We can focus on something else, rather than what’s been such a struggle this year.”
The family-friendly singing sensations are now family men with six kids between them. Tierney said that spending every day for the past seven months with his wife Heather and daughter Violette, who turns four next month, had been the silver lining for a performer used to working five nights a week.
Tierney says this has been their longest break from the stage since they formed as the 4 Trax in Sydney more than 30 years ago.
“It’s been really bizarre, just crazy,” he said of Sin City’s shutdown. “The entertainment capital of the world just came to a complete standstill. The show we’ve been performing for 11 years ended. We’ve been holding our breath, really, trying to survive with our families and plan for what’s been an uncertain time and will be for a long time.
“Coming back to Australia to live permanently was not something we were thinking of as a group.”
Tierney doesn’t think they’re leaving Las Vegas forever. In Australia, acts have to travel long distances between capital city shows, while in the Nevada gambling and entertainment mecca, crowds come to you.
“Vegas has given us this amazing ability to perform as much as we did, and we still had the opportunity to come back and tour in Australia,” he said.
“As performers, it’s allowed us to become better at our craft every night. It’s almost like we’re trained athletes that could keep at our peak because we were doing it so often. There was no down season.”
Tierney points out that Human Nature arrived in Neon Capital during another societal rupture — the Global Financial Crisis.
“We got an opportunity because a lot of the shows moved out and there was an empty theatre in one of the casinos in the middle of the strip,” he explained, “and someone said ‘We’ll take a chance on these Aussies’.”
As Human Nature carved a career in the US, landing their residency at the Venetian in 2013, Las Vegas also became a destination for big-name residencies starring everyone from Britney Spears, Celine Dion and Elton John to Drake, Cardi B and Calvin Harris.
“Vegas has grown so much over the past 10 years,” Tierney reflected. “It’s changed from somewhere entertainers go to die to a place where you’d see J. Lo one week, then Sting and Backstreet Boys the next.
“It’s become this huge mecca of headliners. It’s been fun to be part of that.”
Currently, indoor venues in Nevada can host a maximum audiences of 250 people, socially distanced and 25m from the stage. With those restrictions, the show won’t go on and coming home to Oz seems the logical decision.
Even so, getting Human Nature to Kings Park has been a logistical nightmare for promoter Brad Mellen, who said organising the gig had taken him six months.
“In 30 years in the business, I’ve never experienced a process like it,” he said this week.
Mellen had to gain approvals from the Department of Home Affairs, WA Police and WA’s Chief Health Officer, plus a final sign-off from WA Health on the show and venue. Finding flights to Perth was even more tricky.
“The lengths that everyone has gone to, including and most importantly the act, who are prepared to fly here, quarantine for 14 days to play a show in Kings Park for their fans is enormous,” the promoter said.
“It’s a positive step for everyone here in WA,” Mellen added. “Let’s hope we can do many more.”
Nature is healing, it seems, and Tierney is happy to do “cold turkey” away from his family in a Perth hotel room — even if he does have a few special requests for the Premier.
“Maybe in this article you can say ‘Andrew is hoping the WA Government will really take care of the boys in quarantine’,” he laughed.
“That can be the headline maybe: Human Nature’s Christmas wishes are for a wonderful quarantine and concert at Kings Park.”
Human Nature play Kings Park on December 12, supported by 1927. Tickets go on sale on Monday October 26 from Ticketmaster.