Arena-sized a capella from Pentatonix stretches from Bieber to Bach, Dolly to Daft Punk

Pentatonix Photos by Andy Argyrakis

Not since The Manhattan Transfer, Take 6 and Bobby McFerrin’s days of choosing happiness over worry has an entirely a cappella act been as popular as Pentatonix. Sure, there’s Straight No Chaser and a whole slew of offshoots from “The Sing-Off,” but in this particular instance, we’re talking about touring at an arena level, alongside 1.6 billion YouTube views, two Grammy Awards and multi-platinum album sales (likely to continue with the brand new “A Pentatonix Christmas.”)

Pentatonix also went as wide as the Gregorian chant “Christus Factus Est” and a Daft Punk medley where members managed to replicate all the surging synthesizers with only their voices.

Now if only the troupe had swung by the Allstate Arena on a weekend (as opposed to way too late for a school night), it would’ve probably neared capacity, but the group comprised of baritone Scott Hoying, tenor Mitch Grassi, mezzo-soprano Kirstin Maldonado, bass Avi Kaplan and beatboxer Kevin Olusola still managed to reel in pretty respectable numbers. Though the singers usually don’t have any instruments behind them aside from self-created percussion sounds, the screams from a mostly teenage crowd up (often accompanied by their parents) was absolutely deafening and mirrored boy band or girl group hysteria.

PentatonixBut once the noise simmered a few seconds into each song, Pentatonix ran like a tight knit harmony-producing machine that bounced between original material, Top 40 pop covers (perhaps a few too many) and periodic sidesteps into more adventurous territory. While the audience sang almost as loud as the group come OMI’s “Cheerleader” and a Justin Bieber segment, neither could hold a candle to much more artistically satisfying moments such as a Michael Jackson tribute and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (also featuring openers Us The Duo).

Olusola also unloaded his cello to give attendees a brief classical lesson via Bach, then brought the tone back up to present tense with a skillful segue into Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” A little later, Pentatonix also went as wide as the Gregorian chant “Christus Factus Est” and a Daft Punk medley where members managed to replicate all the surging synthesizers with only their voices.

In terms of their own material, “Misbehavin’” called several fans on stage for a bean bag chair-centered sing-a-long, while “Light In The Hallway” found the fivesome abandoning their individual microphones in favor of an old-fashioned, semi-circle configuration that cast such a hush even the slightest creak of a bleacher stair could be heard. As the smash hit “Sing” wrapped up the set with another splash of energy, Pentatonix appeared humble and thankful for the immense support over the past five years, which along with everyone’s talents, were surely additional factors in helping take them this far.


Click here for more Pentatonix photos from the Allstate Arena.

For additional information on Pentatonix, visit PTXOfficial.com.

For a list of upcoming shows at Allstate Arena, visit Rosemont.com/Allstate/.

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