Pentatonix Display Power Of The Human Voice At Amway Center Show

Pure musical perfection.

June 2, 2019

(Photo by Norrel Blair)


You could be thoroughly unfamiliar with the work of Pentatonix yet feel right at home at one of their concerts. Why? Because the majority of the tunes performed by the insanely talented a capella quintet are covers. In fact, they could very well be one of the greatest cover bands ever.

But it's not just covers. Their very original "Sing" followed their cover of Daft Punk favorites as the second song of their 90-minute-plus Amway Center show.

With simple staging, enhanced by effective lighting, the amplified voices of the group were the true stars.

"This is one of our biggest crowds for this tour. We are sold out. Orlando showed up," Scott Hoying said as he introduced "the band" which consists of Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and their newest member, Matt Sallee. 

"Can't Sleep Love," the first original number they ever released, includes an amazing solo turn by countertenor Grassi and was a definite fan favorite.

"We decided to do this thing where we do these little mini arrangements," Hoying announced before launching into a retrospective of vocal arrangements from their past nine years as a group including versions of "Telephone," "Video Killed the Radio Star," and "Someone That I Used To Know." The songs in the "PTX Throwback Medley" ranged from their origins in high school, their winning stint on the third season of NBC's The Sing-Off, a short-lived recording contract, fame as viral video stars on YouTube, and finally, their classic series of "evolution" videos.

Show opener Rachel Platten returned to the stage to join them singing lead on their winning rendition of the Dolly Parton classic "Jolene" (which incidentally won a GRAMMY in 2017 for the version they recorded with Parton herself).

A brand new song, "Happy Now," full of percussive bursts, was introduced by Sallee and a new cover, "Come Along," was a complete trip with psychedelic video accompanying the group's onstage movement.

A true musical highlight of the evening was their gorgeous and dramatic cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence." It was pure musical perfection.

Group beat boxer Olusola, who was discovered in a viral video playing cello and beat boxing at the same time, did just that to tremendous applause in a segment known as "cello boxing," seguing into his own cello accompaniment on their rendition of "Shallow."

Some first rate effects of a lightning storm, replete with torrential rain, accompanied "Cracked /Natural Disaster" courtesy of a stage scrim which was also put to great use on "Valentine."

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is the perfect song for an a capella group to cover and Pentatonix definitely did it justice with an arrangement that was at once true to the original, but also all their own, with staging reminiscent of the classic Queen video.

"Ya'll know this is a capella right? I just wanted to make sure," Olusola said before winding the night down with "On My Way Home," an intimate "Run To You," and the gorgeous "Hallelujah."

It was a throwaway question. Everyone in attendance surely knew that what they had just witnessed had all been accomplished solely by the awesome power of the human voice. When it's done well, it's an amazing thing and few can do it better than Pentatonix!