Pentatonix, Bella Taylor Smith @ Entertainment Centre, Adelaide 18/3/2023

Part electro pop concert, part classical crossover, part barbershop quintet, and part pub choir, Pentatonix’s first show on their Australian leg of Pentatonix: The World Tour was without a doubt, all heart. Adelaide enthusiastically welcomed back the a cappella quintet returning for the first time to Australia since their last tour in February 2020.

This three-time GRAMMY Award-winning and Daytime EMMY Award-nominated vocal group are exceptional artists and performers individually and together. Just listening to Matt Sallee’s operatic introduction to Aha! was testimony enough to his resounding talents. Sending chills down spines, Scott Hoying opening stanza for Sounds of Silence also set the A Capella bar extremely high.

The well-rounded bass (Matt Sallee) and beatboxing (Kevin Olusola) complemented the soaring tones of Mitch Grassi (tenor) and Kirstin Maldonado (soprano) who came into their own in the group’s 90s dance medley, the Lucky Ones album medley, and a beautiful cover of Shallow. These two really demonstrated their vocal athleticism and the whole group settled into their set with their first medley of the night, of songs off their 2021 studio album.

But it was pre-Yale cello-beatboxer Kevin Olusola who garnered the first standing ovation for the evening with his prowess not only beat boxing by simultaneously playing the cello. Bach’s cello prelude has never sounded so modern and neither has Beethoven’s fifth symphony. This Saturday night Adelaide crowd was most appreciative that Olusola had given up a medical career for performances on the world stage.

Re-imagining classic pop hits such as Hallelujah, the joy and fun that this group has on stage was evident in the soaring harmonies and pitch perfect vocals. The group also sang songs off their previous albums including their definitive Daftpunk medley that went viral and shot them to global stardom in 2013.

The audience had plenty of opportunities to participate and sing along including a fantastic rock medley and Daft Punk round of technologic that even ended up on their TikTok account. Scott Hoying is a consummate audience ringmaster, and we’d welcome him back to lead a Pub Choir session anytime he’s free.

The Voice winner 2021 Bella Taylor Smith warmed up the crowd with a set accompanied by her newly-wed husband Josh on guitar. Clearly chosen for her vocal dexterity and beautiful tone, Bella’s rendition of Ave Maria had the audience glued to their seats in almost worshipful wonder. With her own vocals layered as backing, her version of Time after Time was performed with great emotion and beautiful expression. This was truly fitting as a song to accompany a glowing bride down the aisle, as recounted by the songstress. Ending with her single that is being released on March 22, A long time coming, Bella Taylor Smith enthusiastically demonstrated that she is a talent to watch.

Conclusively, this was an evening to witness exceptional talent, wonderful innovation, and lots of entertaining fun. It’s no wonder Pentatonix has a global following that sees any world tour voraciously anticipated, sealed with a recent star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Shows in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne to come this week, get your tickets today!

Live Review by Kim Burley

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