BWW Review: PENTATONIX WORLD TOUR at American Airlines Center
In August 2015, the a cappella group Pentatonix visited Dallas as an opening act for superstar Kelly Clarkson, although which act received more vocal support is certainly up for discussion. Fast-forward a year later, and the popular group just made a return stop in town - only this time, they were the headliner of an epic evening at the massive American Airlines Center.
If you're unfamiliar with the genre (and somehow missed the kick-ass Pitch Perfect flicks), a cappella is the act of singing without any instruments. Most often, a cappella groups are singers who not only stylistically cover the lyrics of a song, but also use their voices to fill the full accompaniment. Tight harmonies and skilled beat boxing are what makes or breaks the quality of a band, and Pentatonix has all of these details down to a science.
The group consists of five members: Avi Kaplan (bass, percussion), Scott Hoying (baritone), Kristin Maldonado (mezzo-soprano), Kevin Olusola (beatbox) and Mitch Grassi (tenor). Kirstin, Mitch and Scott actually came together locally in Arlington, Texas while they were in high school, and have been singing together ever since. If you could have bottled the energy created by their fans, friends, and family filling the American Airlines Center, you could easily heat all of Texas on a cold winter night.
Before they took the stage, 19-year-old pop singer Abi Ann and her band kicked off the evening with a lively mix of original songs and upbeat covers. She was followed by husband and wife team Us the Duo, who are best known for their viral video, "2015 Top Hits in 3.5 Minutes," which reached nearly 1 million YouTube views, and even more social media shares. During their intimate act, which included only the pair of singers, a keyboard and an occasion guitar, the crowd was on the edge of their seats, seemingly forgetting that the headliner was yet to come. Had Pentatonix missed their flight, Us the Duo had all the skills to keep the crowd in the palms of their hands for at least another hour.
But, luckily, the headliners did catch their flight and soon took the stage, to the wild roar of a crowd excited to see them. They kicked off their set with their original song "Cracked," as they slowly rose atop a series of shadow boxes. With a young and enthusiastic crowd cheering and singing along, they continued to wow with a mix of original songs and covers, like "Cheerleader," "Gold," Meghan Trainor's "No," and a medley of famous Michael Jackson hits. Although members Scott, Kristin, and androgynous vocalist Mitch confidently take the lead on most of the well-known songs, the highlight of the evening came when Kevin Olusola broke the a cappella mold and introduced a solo electric cello to his beatbox routine. Just when it seemed that the troop had revealed all of the tricks up their sleeves, they kicked off their encore without microphones, singing "Light in the Hallway" with a singular light bulb onstage providing the only electricity.
It's easy to fall for a group of attractive singers whose skills best shine without any technological enhancement, and with a few thousand steadfast fans showing their support and love. Although the concert hit town for a one-night-only gig, several upcoming performances will be televised this holiday season, including performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, America's Got Talent, and even their own NBC Special, A Pentatonic Christmas. For details, visit www.ptxofficial.com.
The full American Airlines Center concert set list:
Na Na Na
Cheerleader (OMI cover)
Can't Sleep Love
Evolution of Michael Jackson
Love Yourself/Where Are U Now
Jolene (with Us the Duo)
Bach Cello Suite no. 1 Prelude
Medley: Radioactive/Say Something/Papaoutai
NO (Meghan Trainor cover)
Gold (Kiiara cover)
Christus Factus Est
Aha! (Imogen Heap cover)
Light in the Hallway