A capella superstars Pentatonix treated a sold out crowd at Ravinia to everything from a Michael Jackson tribute to a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene together with openers Us the Duo.
Lifelong friends Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi and Kirstin Maldonado together with beat boxer extraordinaire Kevin Olusola and bass vocalist Avi Kaplan together are Pentatonix. They rose to fame after winning NBC’s “The Sing Off” in 2011 and have been on a whirlwind of touring and treating fans to their gorgeous harmonies ever since, adding three Grammys along the way.
Though a capella choirs have been popular on college campuses for years (think Straight No Chaser), movies like Pitch Perfect as well as the proliferation of shows like America’s Got Talent, American Idol and the like, a capella for a night of entertainment has never been hotter. This was never more evident than on a summer night in Highland Park at Ravinia, when there was nary a spot of grass to be found and every single pavilion seat was full.
Pentatonix generally don’t engage in a lot of chitchat with the crowd, instead preferring to let their musicality carry the day. Fans definitely don’t seem to mind! Opening with Cracked and Na Na Na to warm everyone up, they got the crowd on their feet for their cover of Cheerleader.
Intermixing their own original compositions like Can’t Sleep Love with covers of Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself and reaching all the way back to the 1940’s to interpret the Andrews Sisters Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Pentatonix truly offered something for everyone on a beautiful late summer night in Highland Park.
Kevin’s Celloboxing solo in the middle of the set with a mix of Bach and beats was unexpected and simply fabulous. Later on, you could hear a pin drop all across the grounds on one of the last nights of summer as fans were treated to Pentatonix stunning vocals paying homage to John Lennon’s ode to peace, Imagine.
Turning up the heat for their version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, they had heads bobbing a la Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey’s Wayne’s World style all across the lawn.
Pentatonix has long been known for being generous with fans (all their music available for free, anyone?) Continuing in that vein, they offered lucky fans a once-in-a-lifetime thrill when they brought them on stage to lounge in bean bag chairs while belting out Misbehavin’ with the band.
As they closed out the night with Light in the Hallway (with no microphones!) fans were treated to possibly one of the last times the group will perform together, since Kaplan will be leaving at the end of the tour.
Three band members will be releasing solo efforts soon, as well. For those fans who can’t quite get enough, don’t despair. Pentatonix will be sharing musical cheer in concert over the Christmas holidays still this year.