PHOENIX — Michael and Carissa Alvarado, otherwise known as Us the Duo, were the second opening act for Pentatonix when they performed at Comerica Theatre last week. I was familiar and fell in love with this Folk-Pop couple, like many others who watched their clips on Vine. I soon became obsessed with them and a follower of the covers that they did.
One thing that we were aware of from these clips was how well they could sing, but not how well Michael could play the bass guitar and piano. We do find out during the show, especially the piano. Even though Carissa lovingly teases him about the piano, you can tell she is very proud of him. He is a true master of the keyboards as he goes through his piano ‘breaks’, reminding you of a Gospel Organist aficionado.
The stage goes black, and then the entire concert hall goes black. A silhouette of the five members of Pentatonix appear on the main stage floor, with the light only shining on the rectangular block. Fog comes from the box and they rise like an elevator to a top level, and the box that was on the bottom level now has just the pictures of each member, in different color, remaining on the main floor, as the top level has movement of the real members posing. The crowd goes wild, and it increases! Now the Pentatonix members go down on a lift to the bottom level, back into the box with their pictures, and they come out of the bottom box singing…..and the crowd is roaring with excitement….and I have joined in! It’s so cool, the way that the entire thing progressed!! WOW! It was really an interesting routine!
The group did not disappoint at all. They performed at least three songs from their newest album, and also a montage of favorites that we were all familiar with. They danced all over the stage, having such a versatile command of the way that they use the entire expanse of the stage, with the show never lacking or feeling dull for a single minute. I noticed throughout the show, that the way that the lights, the stage props, and the way the videos on screen were all used together, and/or at various times, it really allowed for the show to look very well done, classy, not over the top, or cheesy.
The show was over, the lights went off, but the fans refused to leave. Then I could hear the low chanting of, “One more song! One more song!” It got louder and louder, a few minutes passed by, and then a bunch of people that were sitting in the front area started to leave.
My heart was sinking a little, but then suddenly, a small light could be seen on the stage, and the crowd erupted in a cheer! Our ‘mantra’ had worked. Pentatonix was back on stage, but with only one microphone, and no other lights. They had what appeared to be a small lamp, and Kirstin Maldonado spoke softly into the one microphone. She told us that if we were all very quiet, she would place the microphone on the stage and they would sing a song for us. She placed the microphone onto the stage, and everyone started to ‘hush’ each another to be quiet, and it became so very quiet.
What happened next was magic, absolute beauty, and the purest form of music in it’s artistic form. As if an instinctual sense hit at the same time, a majority of the people there turned on the lights of their cell phones. The members of Pentatonix formed a semi-circle around the lamp that was held, and then you could hear the richness of their voices dance through the air like waves, as the acoustics surrounded and enveloped each of us in the arena, that at first, seemed so large, but then, at that very moment, felt like a blanket of warmth as the song they sung filled you with the peace and love, security and beauty of your youth….in the beautiful lullaby that they sung. I think I was holding my breath. I believe we all suddenly realized in that moment, in that time, that we shared right there together, that we were not only witnessing musical geniuses at work or magic happening in front of us, but just for this moment right now, in spite of all of our differences and what made us different….we…were…one.