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Pentatonix enthralls in sold-out Anaheim show

March 2, 2015 Updated 10:43 a.m.


The meteoric rise of Pentatonix as a commercial juggernaut over the past three years was clearly illustrated long before the a cappella group took the stage at the City National Grove of Anaheim on Sunday night.

Thirty minutes before the doors opened a long line of fans – mostly teens and twentysomethings but with a number of Baby Boomers on hand, too – lined through the parking lot, a sight I had never seen in my many years of covering events at the concert venue.

Inside the excitement was palpable with a loud cheer erupting through the Grove when PTX took the stage at 8:15. Those who had only seen the Arlington, Texas, export during the third season of the NBC-TV show “The Sing-Off,” on “The Today Show,” or as a member of the army of 7.6 million YouTube subscribers, were rewarded with a concert experience that fully showcased the group's talents.

Over the course of 75 minutes, PTX delivered professional versions of hits by the likes of Daft Punk, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga built primarily with their voices. Scott Hoying, Kirstin Maldonado and Mitch Grassi would typically take the lead on a particular song, with the others offering elaborate harmonies. Bass singer Avi Kaplan and beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola provided a rhythmic dynamic and percussion to propel the selections forward.

The stage design being used on their current On My Way Home tour was effective as well; simple bleachers on which they could position themselves in front and back of each other, while a gigantic rear projection screen was used to enhance the mood with videos and artful photos.

Fans of the concert likely found their highlights during versions of their favorite reworkings.

Olusola earned the biggest cheers of the night for a standout solo section where he played a cello and provided perfect beatboxing accompaniment during the piece.

Even more impressive later in the night was the “Evolution of Music,” a medley that found the five singers moving rapidly from 11th century monophonic Gregorian Chant to the baroque and classical music eras eventually moving rapidly through the 20th and 21st centuries. Piecing together small bits of the Beach Boys, Beatles and others in such rapid succession was impressive.

The night ended with the upbeat “On My Way Home,” and an impressive encore of “That's Christmas to Me” (the title track off the group's recent platinum-selling holiday collection which was the fourth best-selling album in the U.S. last year) and party-minded “Daft Punk.”