CENTRAL FLORIDA REVIEW
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@ HARD ROCK LIVE (ORLANDO); 3/25/14
(Orlando FL) Penatatonix performed to a sold out Hard Rock Live venue at Universal Studios' CityWalk complex on Tuesday March 25, 2014. For tonight's concert-goers,we had to wait in line before entering the venue. The line looked more like the queue from the neighboring Harry Potter ride at Islands of Adventure, being so long it didn't seem possible that the Hard Rock venue would be able to accommodate so many people. But, with aspiring singers and a cappella quartets in the line singing aloud seemingly hoping to be 'discovered', I knew that I was waiting in the right place.
Before the show began, I had an opportunity to speak to some of the people around me. I had the family of four to my left, whose parents had informed me that their children were actually the bigger Pentatonix fans than they themselves were, but that they had all been watching the group closely as it progressed through NBC's 'The Sing Off (season 3)'. I had the young psychology student from south Florida to my back right, there with her boyfriend. I had the nice lady from Tampa close by. Just a little further away was another young couple, who I believe knew more about my camera than I did. I thought, 'Hmmmm. This is a really diverse group around me. Pentatonix has certainly appealed to the masses to attract such a broad variety of attendees.
The stage was 'hidden' by
a large sheer curtain. As soon as there appeared to be movement behind
the curtain, the crowd erupted with cheers and applause. Pentatonix
took the stage just a few minutes after 7 pm. Performing below the 'PTX'
backdrop they came out singing to a Daft Punk compilation. I was pretty
impressed with how in tune they were. In one of their earlier performances
on 'The Sing Off', BoyzIIMen's Shawn Stockman had commented about Pentatonix
bassist, Avi Kaplan, and how difficult it was for a bass to sing well,
but how much more difficult it was for that bass to be on point when
tasked with choreographed stepping requirements. Avi looks like a very
'normal' guy. However, when he spoke to the crowd in between songs,
it was amazing to hear the depth of bass that his voice had. Also, during
his solo he demonstrated 'overtone singing', whereby he essentially
sang 2 separate notes at the same time (you may just want to YouTube
him doing this because it's pretty difficult to explain, but awesome
to hear!). For myself, this was the first time I'd ever heard of this
type of singing, and the audience appeared mesmerized by this sound
that apparently not many in the audience had ever heard.
'Say Something' was a great
cover in each singer had an opportunity to have a minor solo. Ultimately,
however, it was Kirstie Maldonado, who carried the majority of this
song. Maldonado's voice was hypnotic, captivating, and honest. The innocence
of Kirstie's voice evoked very powerful emotions throughout the song
as the audience became drawn into the pain she conveyed throughout this
song. The arrangement made me think a lot of a group from way back when
called 'The Cranberries'. I'm thinking if Pentatonix could cover 'Ode
to My Family' (by The Cranberries) as it could be a very powerful statement
given the apparent familial closeness of this group.
And then there was Scott.
Scott Hoying, fittingly, is the glue that held the group together tonight
-- 'fitting' in the sense that he was part of the original trio of the
group, he came up with the group's name, and he was the one to pull
Avi into the group. There were no weaknesses in tonight's performance,
but where gaps may have existed between 2 singers, Scott was the part
to connect the 2 in seamless fashion. Imagine a vocal 'lead guitar'
and you have Scott.