Scott, Kirstin, Mitch, Kevin, and Matt!
Wow! It has been a while since we last attended a live gig! And the Sydney leg of the Pentatonix world tour was a perfect gig to break that long 5+ year drought!
When the old Sydney Entertainment Centre at Darling Harbour was torn down, we were bummed as we thought that was the last of the large venues in the heart of the city for live gigs. However, the Aware Super theatre inside the International Convention Centre (ICC), was not a bad replacement with seating capacity for 9000, and with a macaroni shaped theatre lay-out there honestly was not a bad seat in the house!
And as we traipsed out of our apartment after dinner at an hour usually reserved for winddown activities in readiness for bed (7.45pm), we instead followed the crowd of people making their way to the ICC. Before we headed out, we were chatting about “what type of audience would the Pentatonix draw in?” I had presumed an audience made-up of heaps of Asians, and university aged kids. But boy was I wrong! The people we passed to get to our seats were middle aged and not what I had expected as fans of a Youtube famous musical group! But this only highlights the universal appeal of music! But as we settled into our seats at the Aware Super theatre (the furthest most right hand seats – halfway up), we were giddy with excitement as it had been such a long time since we got out and did something fun! I blame it on 3+ years of COVID!
The opening act was Bella Taylor Smith, the winner of the 2021 ‘The Voice’ Australia competition- a season which we had not followed. So, we were pleasantly surprised by her performance as we came in with next to no expectations. Her amazing voice vibrated through my bones, thanks to the huge overhead speakers, and after her act my hands were smarting from all the loud applause I was giving her and her husband (her guitarist). And after her 25-30 minute performance, it was the act we had all been waiting for! As the theatre lights dimmed, the 5 members of the Pentatonix stepped onto the stage and the crowd went wild! Scott, Kirstin, Mitch, Kevin, and Matt! And for those who are less familiar with the Pentatonix, they are an American 5 person acapella vocal group, who first came to prominence after winning a reality TV competition in the States and then gained a cult following on Youtube, as they harmonised their way through all the popular hits of the day. And for those who get into the Christmas spirit and play Christmas playlists throughout the month of December, I am sure you have heard a few of their renditions of Christmas classics on Spotify.
And what stands them out from all other acapella groups, is their diversity and each of their diverse talents which they bring to the fold! Case in point, having a beatboxer celloist? And their ability to elevate any song even beyond the original that they’re covering? I think this is why they have become a worldwide phenomenon that appeals to an extremely wide audience.
And as they performed their 2 hour set, it was nudging 10pm, the usual time that I am already in bed and I had to admit I was starting to feel sleepy, but I was jolted back to complete wakefulness when they worked in some crowd participation! Usually I hate this sh*t, but I honestly got right into it and reckon it was the best part of the whole experience! As we (as in the 9000 of us), all participated in the Pentatonix’s next 30 sec TikTok video post, and then we were up on our feet swaying to their 8+ song dance mash-up!
Although they say that all we were going to hear that night were all sounds produced purely from their mouths, however at times there were some backing effects, which added to the grandeur of the moment. And when Kevin came back out with his cello and played classical music all the while beatboxing, also broke the rules, however we can all forgive them for “the false advertising,” as the entire experience was so memorable!
With live gigs, you always run the risk of experiencing an in-person show which is not as good as their recorded performances. But Pentatonix? They are impressive as an edited Youtube package, but even better in person!
So, if you did not catch the Pentatonix this time round in Sydney, I am sure they will be back again in a few years’ time. But in the meantime, you can enjoy all of their musical creations either on Youtube, Spotify and all the usual socials!