If there was any holiday gloom, it vanished somewhere between “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Hallelujah” in a sold-out arena for the only Wisconsin stop of the 22-city “Pentatonix: A Christmas Spectacular.”
The Grammy Award-winning Acappella quintet delivered on its eighth tour stop with a packed sack of Christmas goodies. It included sibling trio Girl Named Tom, dance duo Cost n’ Mayor, a Wheel of Christmas, an arena-wide TikTok video effort. Also, it included a couple of rounds of “Go Pack Go” that managed to lift spirits despite the Green Bay Packers’ 4-8 record.
Everything was so festive that Santa Claus visited the town twice. Pentatonix and openers Girl Named Tom both performed “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” Nobody objected. That would’ve been like grumbling because there were too many presents under the tree.
After all, it was billed as “A Christmas Spectacular,” so fans were expecting more than just a towering stage backdrop that looked like the fanciest snowflake ornament you’ve ever seen, though Pentatonix had that as well. Scott Hoying, Kirstin Maldonado, Matt Sallee, Kevin Olusola, and Mitch Grassi shone brightest as the stage changed colors, glistened, and glowed.
The “multi-platinum-selling choir nerds,” as they call themselves on social media, put on a show of vocal gymnastics. Sallee’s voice began “Amazing Grace (My Chains Have Been Set Free),”. It was followed by Hoying’s and then Maldonado’s, each more impressive than the last. Their arrangement of the “12 Days of Christmas” spanned at least as many musical genres.
“Sing along if you know any of these songs,” Hoying instructed the audience. It was simple for him to say. Singing along to a Pentatonix concert can be intimidating.
The best Christmas tours have heart, and Girl Named Tom made sure the night started off warm and personal. Bekah, Joshua, and Caleb Liechty, who won Season 21 of “The Voice,” performed a sweet 40-minute set of holiday tunes. The set was interspersed with stories of Christmas at grandma’s house and their father’s death in January.
Their rendition of “O Holy Night” was beautiful, as was their rendition of “Silent Night,” in which Pentatonix performed “old school a cappella” without mics to a hushed Resch Center, where not a creature, not even a mouse, was stirring.