Review by Faith Hazel
Photos supplied by Chris Zwaagdyk
Last Saturday evening Kristen Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying and Kevin Olusola all returned for another show in Auckland’s very own Spark Arena since September of 2016 and the first time for new member of the Acapella group, Pentatonix, since 2017, Matt Sallee.
Australian singer-songwriter, actress and 2012 X-factor winner, Samantha Jade, had the privilege of opening the show. After touring here last with Stan Walker she stated that it was very exciting being back in “such a beautiful country with such lovely people”earning a loud cheer from the crowd. Her voice was so strong it left the crowd speechless as she performed a cover of ‘Say my name’ by Destiny’s Child. Samantha closed the set with her latest single ‘Bounce’ that without hesitation, made the whole room bounce with happiness and joy as almost everyone was swaying and dancing on the edge of their seats.
While waiting for the band to come out, the crowd had many family feeling moments. A legion of fans of all ages took part in a Mexican wave that went around and around filling the room with bright smiles and laughter. It was clear from that moment onwards that the fans had an overwhelming amount of love for each other and the group.
After three prolonged years Pentatonix took the stage of Spark Arena once again. With no disappointment the group gained a roar from the crowd as they stepped into their set with a bang, performing a rendition of ‘High Hopes’ by Panic! At The Disco. The lights dimmed for the start of their first original single, ‘Can’t sleep love‘ but as the song progressed a beautifully coloured backdrop filled the arena with vibrant colours and a cheerful mood.
Kevin Olusola, who joined the band in his senior year studying pre-med at the American Ivy League University, Yale, gave us a delightful five minute solo on the cello with beatboxing. Delighting the crowd with the Game of Thrones theme song. As the room was dimmed once again and a spotlight was shining on Olusola, it felt as if you were entering a hectic Game of Thrones set battlefield. The performance gained a loud cheer and multiple whistles from the crowd. A little boy all the way up in the stands yelled “YOU THE BOMB!” causing everyone around him to give a happy chuckle.
Later in the set the amazing acapella group did a rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ by the legendary British group, Queen. With the involvement of everyone in the room it caused the arena to shake top to bottom and sent chills down your spine.
Coming back to the stage for the encore, Scott asks the crowd to put up a flash for their final rendition of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’. As the room lit up, Scott gracefully called the sight “a sea of stars” earning a smile from everyone. These last moments with the band on stage felt peaceful and at ease.
When exiting the arena and heading home the words and reactions of “Incredible” and “Acapella is an art” from the people around me kept repeating through my head. I can confidently say that from the concerts I’ve been to, this one has made it high in my list.