This was the first time Pentatonix have visited New Zealand, and demand for tickets was so high that the show was moved to Vector Arena to meet the demand. And so it was that nearly 5,000 people got to see the global phenomenon that is Pentatonix – the two-time-Grammy-winning-a capella phenomenon.
The audience were in fine voice, and there was a lovely atmosphere. I saw plenty of parents with children of all ages, teenagers out at their first pop concert, students and people of all ages were in attendance. I asked an elderly couple how they knew about the band, thinking they may have been enlightened by a grandchild, but they had discovered them themselves on YouTube. Hoorah for the internet!
So, to the band themselves. Its quite easy to forget just how talented they are, and how there really are no other instruments involved in their performance. Other than the excellent light show this was just 5 people on stage making amazing music with their voices alone. The band seemed as excited as the fans to be in New Zealand. Early in the set we were treated to a special (very deep) rendition of Misty Mountain as homage to the land famous for the Lord of the Rings.
New to the set was Twenty One Pilots Ride, which the band had only performed 5 times before. It sounded great and has all the makings of a Pentatonix classic. After the new came the old– a rendition of a classic Bach tune on the cello (an actual instrument!), although this gained a modern twist half way through thanks to simultaneous beat boxing. Some lucky members of the audience joined the band on stage for a rendition of Misbehavin’, but not before the whole arena sang happy birthday to one of the volunteers in beautiful harmony. That will be a birthday she’ll not forget in a hurry.
In fact, most of the evening is unlikely to be forgotten as the audience held their phones aloft throughout the concert recording the proceedings. Perhaps it is fitting for a band born of the internet age that, even when they step out of peoples’ computer screens to perform in person, they get recorded back on to them! The band joined in too, recording the audience.
Highlight of the set for many was Daft Punk, although the even more unplugged (if that were possible) version of Light In The Hallways as the first encore song was also very special featuring the five singing round a single microphone. This is as exposed as it gets and the whole arena was in quiet awe. The evening finished appropriately enough with Sing.
I started by mentioning the audience and I shall mention them again at the end too. They sang along beautifully, cheered every high note, every low note, and every note in between. During the evening the band said “You guys, we love you so much”. Judging by the reaction in the room, the feeling was entirely mutual.
Photos and words by Dave Simpson