Live at Margret Court Arena 26/3/23
On the final night of their Australian Tour, Pentatonix performed with a bang to a packed Margaret Court Arena. A 5-piece A Capella act needs lights, pizazz and a show to fill a venue of this size, and the group had carefully crafted an experience that would take their audience on a journey of the senses.
Appearing before a dramatic backdrop, the group commanded the stage immediately with ‘Sing’, and kept the energy high and beaty, with the inclusion of both drum and vocal tracks to intensify and fill out their sound, and the arena, for their first 4 tracks.
Then into Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of silence’, this is where the group relaxed into the sound the audience were expecting: one of pure 5-part vocal genius.
The introduction of some original tunes, ‘Love you when I don’t’ and a medley from their album ‘Lucky ones’ was well received and cleverly executed.
Scott Hoying then assumed an MC role, inviting the crowd to join in creating a Tiktok of a snippet of Beyonce’s ‘Ave Maria’, with guest Bella Taylor Smith, who had opened the show earlier with her divinely delectable vocals.
The crowd were delighted to be a part of this recording, and sang on cue as instructed. The interaction with the crowd in this instance was followed up later in the show with a ‘singalong’ (as the group called it) of both dance and rock medleys, in which the audience were all too willing to participate.
A surprise in the show was the addition of 3 tunes played by Kevin Olusola on his electric Cello. The twist was that Kevin, the beat-boxer of the group, not only played his cello, but beat-boxed simultaneously. He completely changed the feel and experience of Bach’s ‘Cello Suite No 1. In G Major Prelude’, then delighted with a modern play on ‘Beethoven’s 5th Symphony’ (with tracks). Kevin managed a standing ovation mid-concert for his performance alone. This portion of the show was unexpected brilliance.
After a wardrobe change, the group re-emerged with an A Capella version of ‘Shallow’, followed by ‘White winter hymnal’ which featured well-choreographed slap/clap/click movements by the group to distract the audience from the use of a clap track.
All in all, Pentatonix entertained from beginning to end.
The crowd were only too pleased to demand an encore, and I’m so glad they did, as the very best tune of the show gave this vocal purist what I had been waiting for the entire evening: pure, unadulterated A Capella.
No gimmicks, no tricks, no tracks, no ‘in-your-face’ vocals… just a hauntingly soft and emotive rendition of ‘My heart with you’, in which the 5 singers stood around one microphone and interacted with each other’s volume, tone and pitch.
This was Pentatonix at their best… pure and unadulterated 5-part A Capella vocal perfection. I held my breath in wonder for this moment only, during their almost 2 hours on stage. More of this style of performance would add so much depth and authenticity to their show.
Finally to close off the Australian Tour, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ thrilled the crowd who leapt to their feet in applause.
Pentatonix certainly know how to entertain, and have created a style and brand that will bring the crowds back for years to come.