Denver, CO (DCI World Championships)
Division I Quarterfinals
Quarters are over, and here are my thoughts. My vantage point was the lower
part of the middle deck on the 40 yard line on side 1.
Ezperenza - 76.325 - What a wonderful way to open the show! They did a great
job today, despite the weather. When the show began, there were some ugly
clouds overhead. There was a little bit of spitting from the clouds, which was
no big deal - but the wind caused some trouble for the guard and the corps.
They have a very nice program, and all section performed very well. I wish I
could have seen their show again.
Pacific Crest - 77.850 - Another fantastic show from another California corps.
They too experienced some difficulty with the wind, but otherwise did an
outstanding job. The horn line has some power, the guard is excellent (except
for the trouble with the wind), and the drum line is entertaining. The overall
package is written well and at the right talent level for the members. This is
another show that I would love to see again.
Pioneer - 71.600 - The strength of this corps is their drum line. The book has
some tasty licks, and the line eats them up. I only wish they had the horn
line to match. The guard experienced significant difficulty with the wind,
which was probably blowing hardest while they were on.
Troopers - 74.925 - They too experienced difficulty with the wind this
afternoon, but overall had a very good show. They have a very entertaining
show that received a nice response from the crowd. The brass book was
excellent, and was played well. I hope they can hold on to these kids and
continue to build. There is a good foundation there that could help propel
them back into the hunt for a finalist spot.
Kiwanis Kavaliers - 75.350 - They did a nice job with yet another version of
West Side Story. They didn't attempt to reinvent familiar tunes with quirky
arrangements, but rather did a very nice job just playing them - and very
effectively. Nice job.
Southwind - 78.050 - They had a very impressive show, but they just didn't have
enough time to clean this show. They were definitely hurt by the short season
this year. Have they had another week, they just might have made semi-finals
again. The drill in the opener was very much the same as some of the exciting
drill moments from their 1999 show, but was not quite as clean. Overall, a
nice show and nice job.
Mandarins - 77.750 - They have improved a great deal in the past few weeks.
Once again, they have a well designed, challenging show. The music is
accessible and very entertaining. They just had a lot left to clean. They
were also a victim of the shortened season. Great job.
Magic of Orlando - 78.500 - They gave it their all today, and it paid off in
spades. They have made significant strides in improving their show and
cleaning. They have a very entertaining program and great musical selections.
The lack of a sash on the uniform hurts them visually, as they look incredibly
drab. The spread to Colts is real. They will be 17th tomorrow, so they need
to just go out there and have fun.
Seattle Cascades - 82.825 - Fantastic performance today! They have really
cleaned up, and really nailed their show. If they had another week, the fight
for finals would be really interesting. The musical selections flow together
very well, and the drill is outstanding. Performance in all captions is
strong. I really love this show, and look forward to seeing them perform again
tomorrow. If they really crank out a good show tomorrow, they could move up a
Colts - 82.375 - This has to be one of my favourite shows from the Colts. An
outstanding product top to bottom. The show is very entertaining, and the
crowd responded accordingly. The brass arrangements are excellent, and are
performed well. This is another corps that could use another week to clean,
and would make the fight for finals very interesting.
Capital Regiment - 83.800 - These kids just keep getting better year after
year, and they played their hearts out today. Fantastic show - very
impressive. The Cascades, Colts, Cap Reg threesome is really amazing - all
three are so close and so good.
Spirit from JSU - 85.875 - I am not a fan of this show - I just do not think it
flows well. It seems to be just a bunch of tunes thrown together. The kids
are really doing a good job with the product that has been provided to them.
They did not deserve to place any higher.
Blue Knights - 87.225 - The home town corps came to play - and play they did.
A super charged performance tonight. That drum line is amazing, and what a
mellophone line! Their unique marching style is very effective, especially
when consistently executed (which it was tonight). If they take it up a notch
tomorrow or Saturday, they could move up a place.
Glassmen - 86.550 - Their show is so much better this year, as is their
performance in all captions. The musical selections really work, and have been
integrated very effectively. They are strong in all captions. They received
quite a loud crowd response when the first strains of Medea were heard -
imagine that? Seems the activity is ready for that piece now. I think they
will make finals.
Crossmen - 88.000 - After a really shaky start, the kids in this corps have
done a great job of busting their tails to make this show work (after all the
changes). The show flows well, and they really performed well. However, they
need to take it to the next level to maintain 10th place (as I stated earlier,
BK could pass them with an emotional performance).
Carolina Crown - 90.525 - HOLY COW! What a performance. They were awesome
tonight. That horn line is absolutely wonderful, and the guard really had a
great show. I'd rather they lose the singing and talking, and just let that
horn line give me some more goose bumps. The spread over Bones was correct, as
was their placement tonight. If they crank out a good show tomorrow, they
could bump off Bluecoats too.
Boston Crusaders - 90.4475 - They cut quite a bit of the voice over - but not
all of it. And what's left simple doesn't make any sense any longer. They
should cut it all together, as it adds nothing. Once the voice over started,
the audience response took a nose dive. The soprano soloist didn't have the
best show, and their soprano line seems to be their achiles heel (again). The
voice over seems to be strategically placed at times when the sopranos are
playing too. Their guard is fantastic, and the show is actually quite good -
once you get past the annoying voice over.
Bluecoats - 90.575 - After several viewings, I still don't think this show
lives up to the hype. Overall design has taken a step down from the past few
years. The performance is still at the level the corps has been reaching the
past few years - the design just holds them back. Their horn line is their
strength. If they do not really sell their show tomorrow and Saturday, they
could drop a few places.
Madison Scouts - 90.475 - Except for the end of Malaga, this show is a major
snooze fest. Audience response is tepid at best during the first two numbers.
The arrangement of Malaga pales in comparison to 94 and 95. This year's
edition seems to be the anti 95 arrangement - like they did everything possible
to not be like that arrangement. The result? A choppy mess that in the end
delivers some excitement - but leaves you les than satisfied. Scouts on b-flat
horns, amplified, and performing this show - very disappointing.
Phantom Regiment - 93.200 - They were on fire tonight. This is the only
placement that I disagreed with tonight. I thought they beat Cadets. The horn
line is the most powerful on the field, and is playing incredibly well once
again. The drum line has taken it up a notch this year, and the guard had a
great show tonight. The drill is very clean, and fits the music for most of
the show. The icing on the cake was the passion of the performance - pure
excitement start to finish. Thank you Phantom!
Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.750 - SCV was on tonight. Their drum line is an
absolute machine. While they took drums tonight, their score was simply too
low - they are amazing. The horn line is very powerful - especially the low
brass. Myron Rosander's drill this year is absolutely fantastic, and was very
clean. Very little visual dirt was noticeable from this very demanding drill.
They put in a new ending tonight, and what an ending it is. They reintroduce
the themes from Scheherazade into a down ending (much like the original), while
the guard is covered by a large flag - as it passes over them, they disappear,
until all the guard is gone, the flag falls to the turf, and Scheherazade is
the only one left standing with a scimitar in hand. A perfect ending to a
perfect show. They were clearly third tonight - but the spread was far too
wide. If they put on a really emotional performance on Saturday (ala 99), they
could move up a spot.
Cadets - 94.600 - I will make no bones about it - I hate this show. I think
this is one of the worst designed shows from the Cadets since I can't remember
when. The guard work and drill do not coordinate with the music well
throughout many points of the show. The guard's white jackets at the beginning
of the show are simply hideous. The Baton twirler is pure cheese. It's really
a shame that these kids have such a poor product to perform. They perform very
well. Visual is the cleanest it's been in quite some time, the guard is
excellent yet again; brass and percussion are strong (though not quite as
strong as recent years only by a little). The show simply lacks the goods.
Hoppy - please leave the cheese in the refrigerator, hire a program
coordinator, and give these kids a show worthy of their talents (and give us
fans something to get up out of our seats and scream over). Audience response
to the show was mediocre.
Cavaliers - 97.750 - They were the clear champion tonight. Simply awesome in
every respect. The horn line sound is incredible, and they play so well. How
BD beat them in brass is a mystery to my ears. The drum line is fantastic, but
I do not think they will beat SCV in drums. The drill is insane, and the
closing drill sequence is simply wicked. I think they will take home another
trophy on Saturday night.
Blue Devils - 97.225 - They had a terrific performance tonight. They are no
cleaner visually than Cavies, and their drill is much easier. Their guard is
fantastic, and is integrated so well into the entire show. Their horn line is
fantastic as usual, but much of the show is typical BD - staccato notes,
followed by power chords. The soloists can wail. The show is nice, but grows
tiresome after only a few listenings. Their spread over SCV was far too great.
I think they will have to crank out a hot show to hold back SCV and maintain
This was a really great show overall. The quality of the corps was very high,
despite the season being a week shorter (and earlier) than prior years. I
found most of the corps very entertaining, and would rank this year as one of
the better years in recent memory. I can't wait for tomorrow night. With many
corps as close as they are, there could easily be a lot of movement in places.
Well, just got back from the Regal Cinemas here in Oklahoma City...This will be
more of a highlights review than a full-blown review. My head is killing me, so this
will be short...
Where to begin? Well, first of all, I was a bit surprised by how much GE Magic of
Orlando was able to squeeze out of their performance. The whole bit with the snare
drummer and the contra (tuba) was pretty funny, I thought...
I predicted Blue Knights beating Glassmen before the score was announced for
them... they were just cleaner, and Glassmen seemed kind of off...
I was hoping that Spirit of JSU would beat Glassmen, because I just enjoyed
Spirit's show much more than Glassmen's...
I thought Madison's show was a big disappointment. It just didn't get me excited,
and was rather boring. Just MHO...
I no longer hate Boston Crusader's show... They took out all the narration except
for a little at the end (vocals were stupid still...) Carolina Crown, on the other
hand, has the most awful use of voice in their show. It was just terrible. As soon as
they started singing with the microphones, everyone in the theater let out a huge,
"Groan...." The beatnik poetry was even worse. How stupid and trite can you get,
anyway? I'm sorry, but I am angry about this. I am, in fact, probably being too harsh,
but my experience in the theater was plagued by some freaking idiot behind me who had
to talk (loudly!) during EVERY SINGLE PERFORMANCE!! I talked to the managers during
intermission, but they didn't care.... nice service, guys...
I did not think that Crown deserved to beat Boston. This is not because of the
amps, but because I thought that Boston's drill was cleaner, and their ensemble seemed
a little tighter to me.
Another disappointment to me was the Cadet's show. This music is just terrible,
IMHO... Boring, boring, boring. I kept waiting for it to be over with... I was hoping
they would turn me around during finals week, but I still think the show is just flat,
and their placement reflects that...
Santa Clara Vanguard is so awesome!! I LOVE this show! It is some of the best music
on the field this year, and the visuals are great, including some vintage drill moves
(even though they did the 99 folding box move twice in the opener..) Their vibe is
strong, and is just marvelous to behold. Wait, did I actually just use the word,
"behold"? .... it must be late...
Cavaliers came out and showed the other corps how to peform a great musical program
with difficult drill. They executed well enough tonight to top the Blue Devils
(Whoo-hoo!! I predicted this one as well...) but it was dang close.... I was a little
worried there for a while. I have to agree that the Blue Devil's ending is lacking...
this is kind of funny, because before the Cavaliers had tweaked their ending, it was
lacking, but now it's pretty sweet, and more complete. If the Cavaliers pull out cleaner
performances tomorrow and Saturday, the championship is theirs... I will mention that one
of the Blue Devil's soloists had a frack tonight, but the Blue Devils somehow managed to
score a perfect brass score of 20.... how's that?? (Oh yeah, it's because they're the
Overall, I was glad that the Cavies came out on top, but a little sad that Vanguard
was so far behind the Devils. If I were to have it my way, the top three, in order,
would be: Cavies, Vanguard, Devils.... we shall see what will transpire....(shall???....
transpire???.... I have GOT to go to bed!!) Sorry if this review seems negative... I
love all the corps! Good night!!
Got back from the theater in Portland...
You gotta love what that Cavalier drum guy said to Jessica Allen!
She asked him, "How does one become a bond girl?"
His response was something like "I don't know, but I could show you later"
This had our theater dyin of laughter! It was a classic moment.
Anyway, yes, the BD train was shaken, not stirred tonight. Well done fellas!
I enjoyed the broadcast. Our theater here was sold out, which surprised me a little.
Only 11% was sold a few weeks ago. Lots of late comers I guess.
Steve & Dennis were great with the corps trivia between corps, and of course Jessica
and some other guy - can't recall his name - did the pre/post corps interviews.
Quality of sound for the broadcast - excellent. Could have been louder though.
Quality of video - also excellent, but there were a few strange moments when the
image would glitch a little. Not like digital cable... it's like the tint color went
off for a split second every once in a while. I don't know how else to describe it.
WHY CAN'T DCI GET AN AIRPLANE FREE ZONE DURING THESE SHOWS?!?!?! ARGH! I heard some
prop plane during at least two different corps shows.
Phantom Regiment has the hottest colorguard. SCV a close 2nd.
BD perfect 20 in brass? Hmm. I wouldn't have given them that. The show left me flat,
but it was my first full viewing. Maybe with the dvd later I will grow to like it.
Magic sure does throw & spit a ton of water on the field. I didn't see anyone fall
later because of it. Hope there aren't problems tomorrow in semis. I liked their show.
REALLY dislike the talking/singing in Boston & Crown. Hope this doesn't become a
pattern for next year with more corps doing it. I LOVED Crown's show - you could sing
to Bohemian Rhapsody right along with the corps playing it without any choppyness to
it's arrangement. But the stupid talking and singing. Argh. Boston's has to be worse
though. At least Crown's talking guy is saying complete sentences. All Boston's guy
does is say things like "honor", "trust", "love"... blah blah blah. If I wanted to see
a WGI show I'd buy a ticket to one.
Madison's show was flat until Malaga which is a shame, because Malaga rocked.
Loved Spirit's show. Hope they make finals, but it looks slim.
Thought Phantom's brass section was 2nd best behind Cavaliers in terms of quality
and difficulty. Judges didn't think so.
Cadets guard was on fire but the show didn't do much for me... not their best drill.
I liked BD's train sounds from the pit. The rest of the pit amplification was
unnoticeable from all corps. Why use it then?
Lots of cool interviews with corps members from many corps, and features on
colorguard, percussion and brass. A newbie viewer would learn quite a bit from watching
this broadcast tonight.
I still think PR can catch Cadets, and SCV can catch BD. Guess we'll have to wait
Hope DCI does this again next year! I'll definitely go again if I'm not in Boston.
One more thing - great feature on the Cavalier old drumline reunion.
Just got home from watching the DCI Div. 1 Quarterfinals at the Regal
Cinemas in Columbia, Maryland..... while I wind down from a long day, some
thoughts if I may:
Pretty good-sized crowd at this movieplex...... 2 auditoriums basically sold
out, a third one maybe half-full. Not bad!!!!
Random impressions of some the corps:
1) Cavaliers were rockin'!!!!! This was my first (and only) viewing of them
this season, and I was highly impressed. Nice to hear the Cavies' brass
actually play some extended melody lines, compared to the all-original,
"visual package-is-the-star" shows of the past few years.
2) I love the Blue Devils' show this season. (Then again, I've been a BD fan
since the early 1970's, so I love 'em most seasons!!!) But who knows if they
can put together a performance to pass the Cavies Friday and/or Saturday
3) I think the average car alarm has more melody in it than does the Boston
Crusaders' show this season. But that being said, I found myself being drawn
into the Crusaders' show and pretty much enjoying it, simply by focusing on
their visual effects. Boston's overall performance seemed very energized.
4)Carolina Crown lit the place up! What a hornline. Cool show overall!!
5) Colts have a very entertaining show, with lots of built-in audience
appeal. I kept thinking to myself, "this show would work VERY well in DCA."
Colts, IMO, have one of the best marching styles I've ever seen... very
precise from an individual standpoint.
6) SC Vanguard!!!!!! Enough said. GREAT show this season!!!!!! I'm not sure
that their quarterfinals job was even close to their best performance,
7) I had Spirit of JSU over Glassmen for the 12th spot. No offense to the
Glassmen, who have a great organization, but I just don't "get" them at all.
8) I liked the Cadets' show more than I thought I might, not being a big
Jethro Tull fan (this show was my first look at Cadets this season). But
there were a couple of spots when watching the militaristic Cadets trying to
"rock out"..... it just seemed like it didn't fit.
OK... gotta go and get some sleep. I hope DCI does this "Quarterfinals at
the Movies" thing again next year.
Short comments from last night viewing from Regal in Chamblee, GA....
First let me say that the movie thing really worked. Glad I got there early
since it was soldout. They could have sold another theater out as well,
surprising that for the entire Atlanta area they had ONE theater showing only.
The sound was better than I was expecting and the video wasn't bad either.
Interesting, when they would show shots of the corps further away there would
be a black outline around each member... it was kind of a cool affect. Although
not like really being there in Denver I would definitely do this again.
To the shows..just my opinions only...
(1) Magic - Very entertaining show... one of the more entertaining of the night.
Definitely had allot of GE. Nice complete theme package. Hopefully they build on
this for next year.
(2) Colts - This reminded me of shows long ago. Very accessible musically.
Love their uni's on the field. Another corps I hope improves for next season...
miss them in Finals.
(3) Cascades & Capital - These were both solid shows. Wow... it's nice to see
these newer corps to Div 1 with such quality!! I liked the Doxology theme
throughout Capital show.
(4) Spirit & Glassmen & Knights - Oh how I want Spirit to do well. IMHO... I
felt they should have scored better than Glassmen. Also felt that there show is
definitely more difficult to march than both Glassmen and Knights. Knights have
a great sound with solid drumline but wish they would move..there was allot of
standing around. Glassmen show just left me flat. There is still a chance for
these 3 to move around in the order in Semi's but Knights do have the home crowd.
(5) Crossmen - LOVE the new uni's... one of my favs.... please keep these next
year... much better than the gray. These guys are the solid 10th spot. The ballad
is absolutely beautiful.... highlight of show.
(6) Crusaders & Scouts - Liked the visual pieces of Crusaders show.... not
too much on it musically. Did not like the narration at all... they guy next to
me was yelling at the screen for the guy to shut up. Now for the Scouts... probably
most people agree Malaga to the end is vintage Scouts... the previous 2/3 of show
is lacking in GE. Did love the company front.
(7) Crown & Bluecoats - Crown.... WOW... were did this sound come from???... one
of the best balanced sounds of the night. Great arrangement of Bohemian. I guess
it's too late to drop the singing and the voice over but the show didn't need it.
Great job..thought they placed correctly... they really have a chance even for 6th.
Bluecoats perform so well... thought their guard was "awesome" (the word of the
night from corps interviews) but all parts solid. Coats just need a little more GE.
(8) Regiment & Cadets - Phantom... I really liked this show. The hornline.... very
difficult book... this was probably my fav of the night. Cadets... to be honest I
didn't get into their show... performed well but musically Jethro left me flat. Can
PR catch them?
(9) Vanguard & Devils & Cavies - Opinions here. Vanguard... YES... this show fits
them so well. I could see that they just a smidgen under in performing it so there
is room there to the improve next 2 nights. Devils... another show that left me a tad
flat... of course executed extremely well like always but it just seemed to lacking
in GE. Did not understand the 20 score for brass... in Quarters?? Brass was good but
that good? Pit/train stuff was cool. Cavies... basically got it again with great
theme... can you say "difficult"... man these guys are amazing movers. On top of that
the 007 themes were arranged well. Great to see them wail in the hornline too. The
exposed technical runs...nice job.
Overall... there sooo much quality in these 17 performances!!!! Kids putting it all
out there... aint that what it's about? Thanks so much!!
Saw the show via Regal Cinema's live broadcast last night in Las Vegas. It's a great
way to bring drum corps "live" to a big city that never gets a show. I'm not sure how
other reviewers can say that one horn line was better than another. The quality of the
sound in the theater is good but it's impossible to say who was hot. Everybody sounded
BOSTON: Corps members are some of the best.
Memo to corps designers: this is the furthest west that the corps has been and
I paid $18 to watch the corps stand still way too much. Also, take that amp and
microphone and toss it into the Boston Harbor. Your corps has an opportunity to make a
legacy, similar to the Madison Scouts and Cavaliers. Stick to your traditions and
signature moves, al a "Conquest" and in-your-face brass. Next year finals is in Rhode
Island, be sure that you make finals because you will never be any closer to home.
MADISON SCOUTS: This is drum corps tradition and excellence on the rise again.
You totally got the shaft on the scores tonight. When I saw that company front set-up
and move slowly, I seriously got the chills... seriously. That was awesome. Great solos
PHANTOM REGIMENT: Always impressive and clean.
Memo to corps designers: I used to be excited to see this corps. The past several
years have been repeats of the same performance, which means you will always get 4th or
5th place. I respect the classical music tradition, however, it is way too classical. I
don't know, maybe I need one of those "Classical Music For Dummies" books.
CADETS: Corps members are the fastest moving and hardest working in the world,
by far. However, please actually warm-up during the warm-up rather than having a pep talk
on the field. We only get 11 minutes and the warm-up is always bonus material for the
audience. Finally, the color guard looked like they came off of the same busses as the
horn line and drum line. In the past several years, it was like... "Hey there's the Cadets
and an aerobics squad from the fitness club". The pit is way too loud, too busy, and too
crowded. Perhaps the pit should be on the "back" side line because it is way too much.
Memo to corps designers: For the first time in DCI history, you just won the
"Elevator Music" and "Musac" categories. That was horrible and an embarrassment to your
corps' legacy. Jethro Tull goes to drum corps via the Cadets. Now that sounds like a joke,
which it was. Re-group for next year, as 4th place was a courtesy.
SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: This is one of the finest drum corps' in the history of
the world. Drum line was awesome. Always a class act. When my son becomes of age, I want
him to be in the Vanguard.
CAVALIERS: Now I am fan. A familiar theme that was very aggressive. I especially
like how the color guard compliments the rest of corps, rather than being a clump of people
in front of the corps. Nice job. Being a live-long Blue Devils fan, you deserve to be
Champions this year.
BLUE DEVILS: A great performance. Very clean and aggressive. However, not the
best of the best in terms of design.
I didn't think to take anything for writing anything down, so I'll just kinda
wing it...amd remember, I'm a drummer!
Magic of Orlando - Fun, fun show. It was nice to hear something that I
recognized, and to hear melody lines that resolved into something sensible.
Nice wet snare sound. Color guard that sold the visual aspect of the theme.
Overall, nice job.
Seattle Cascades - We had a special reason to see this show. One of our local
guard people was a rookie in Cascades this year, and a soloist to boot. Jan and
I have been sending CARE packages and talking to her on the phone every couple
of days. It was almost like being a proud extra Mom and Dad, and we had her
brother sitting with us. The show itself was entertaining. The brass was more
powerful than Magic, percussion was pretty clean and effective, and color
guard...well, I wish I had paid more attention to the whole guard, instead of
always looking to see where our friend was!
Colts - My only problem with Colts is the "Variation on a Theme by Michael
Cesario in Red" uniform. Other than that, a very entertaining show. Nice to see
a little Americana from Colts. Nice departure from some of the artsy-fartsy
stuff they've done recently.
Capital Regiment - This was my first-ever viewing of this corps, so it was
refreshing to see something new to me. They had a nice stylistic variations,
but my favorite part was when they got untracked late in the show and started
Sidenote - Ca we do something about getting rid of Jessica, the sideline
"reporter"? The only good things about her tonight were when she asked that
loaded question to the Cavalier, and got the appropriate response, and when her
mike wouldn't work at all. Ahhhh....amps!!! The rest was mindless, styless pap.
Glassmen - IMO, the boring Glassmen took a year off. These guys were wired to
score as well as possible to set themselves up for Friday night. Nice field
coverage. Feet were OK. Drumline sounded like they wanted to take a good score
from the judges. Brass was nice. A slightly different take on "Simple Gifts",
and that was OK with me.
Crossmen - Dark...really dark uniforms. I liked them! A real "drum corps"
opener, and DeLucia was right about the ballad, "Both Sides Now", being the
highlight of the show. Kinda tear-jerky. Brass and percussion solid, and nice
guard work. And they did all the right button-pushing for regular and new corps
fans. The Maltese Cross drill worked again!
Spirit - Different kind of show for Spirit. Not the "Southern" style that has
marked their history. But well played and performed. Somehow I think they had a
little angel watching over them...OK, an angel with a dirty face and an orange
Sidenote - How many times can we talk about how sweaty the members are after a
Blue Knights - Their guard is pretty darn good, but do they always have to wear
white? Even with the pastel panels last year (year before?), they still wear
predominantly white. Something new would be appreciated. Rock solid percussion,
in the drumline and the brass! The arrangements are rather "percussive", which
is understandable as a percussionist wrote their brass book this year. Nice
touches of "Trittico" throughout the show. This has become their trademark, not
unlike "Conquest", "Danny Boy", etc. Have to admit, that knee-kick prep step is
Carolina Crown - The accolades are deserved...this is their best brassline
EVER! Too bad they had to ruin a good brass quintet moment by singing it, and
overshadow great work by all sections with some guy babbling about what I could
figure out for myself. This ain't Mayberry, and I ain't Barney. Percussion was
good, too, and ably supported that great brass line. Did I mention their brass?
Good! IMO, the best arrangment/performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody", ever. Better
than Scouts, better than Renegades.
Break time - Just as the break started, some guy yelled out asking of there was
anyone from Anaheim Kingsmen there. I went over to talk to him, but was
interrupted by some guy who marched Sky Ryders. I wanted to share some memories
with a former foe, and never got the chance. Though I did overhear something
about the Kingsmen having a new set of uniforms and instruments ready to go.
Some people just buy Rocco's crap, hook, line and sinker.
Also ran into a couple who hung out with Dream when we first started the corps.
They used to drive down from the Lake Arrowhead area, but had since moved to
Kingman, AZ. Las Vegas was closer than Scottsdale, so they came up here.
Boston Crusaders - Well, might as well get all the babbling out of the way in a
short time. I'm sorry, but the narration added NOTHING to either show. Why
cover up a couple of damn good drum corps moments with vocal rubbish? The brass
and percussion for Boston (and Carolina) are oustanding and are quite capable
of telling the story the way we've been doing it for decades...with drums and
brass. Kinda old school entrance and exit, even if it did mean coming out of
boxes. Was it Boston that did the silent guard work for about 16 counts? Better
than Cadets similar guard moment.
Bluecoats - Wow! Where did they get this guard? They've always been pretty
decent, but this group rocks! Add to that a solid brass and percussion section
and Bluecoats are the real deal! They had some of the most entertaining moments
of the night, the kind of stuff that just makes you laugh our loud. And nice
use of "I'll Fly Away" as the ballad. I knew someone would do it well one day,
and Bluecoats did it nicely.
Sidenote - There seemed to be some corps-savvy people at this theatre,
including quite a few from my era and a little more recent, plus a decent
number of band kids checking out the corps. They weren't very demonstrative. In
fact, it was usually me, Jan, Ron and Nanci that started the applause for the
first half of the show. But that all changed with...
Madison Scouts - Now, here's a corps that everyone knows. The opener was good,
and a little different for the Scouts, but Scouts sold it well, But all bets
are off when they start the opening strains of "Malaga". As has been reported
all season, this is where Madison reassumes it's former image, and lays down
in-your-face drum corps. Percussion and guard are much improved from last year,
and expecially over '02. Brass...well, brass just wails. Must be nice to be
Scott Boerma and have these guys lining up to play your charts!
Sidenote - Is it me, or are cymbal lines that actually march making a
Phantom Regiment - Well, I was wondering how our soon-to-arive baby would
respond to the adrenaline rush from her Mom when Regiment appeared on the
screen. But the wee one took it in stride and danced happily as Regiment
charged out on the field. I know Jim Wren never watered anything. He usually
added more beef as the season went on. But JD Shaw has got it figured out, too.
Where did they find that soprano line?!?!? These people are articulation
junkies, and JD gave them all they wanted. With middle horn runs and beefy low
brass, the tango never sounded so good! I wish Piazzola could hear this! This
was Appassionata 854! Percussion still hangs tough and embraces the style. And
guard work and costuming were awesome. I don't know if Regiment can repeat
their rise of 96, but if they can sell it any better than tonight, they still
have room to move up. (Ron commented, "Turn down the amps!" when Regiment
started. I had to remind him that they were unplugged! :>) )
Sidenote - Who else yelled out all the trivia answers? And how about the clips
for the answers? Cool, eh?
Santa Clara Vanguard - Well, I've been waiting to see this all year, and I
wasn't disappointed. Top to bottom, this show has the most musical continuity
of anything on the field in any division. Complete musical thoughts and
concepts, incredible percussion book from Murray Gusseck, great style and
finesse (again, with the soprano articulation!), followed by power from hell,
both musically and visually. My favorite show of the night. It's no wonder they
passed Cadets. Who'd want to follow this? Regarding the guard uniforms...it
worked. It absolutely sold the story, and it wasn't X-rated and all that other
hubbub I read here a couple of weeks ago.
Cadets - Hey, if you're going to use a baton twirler, get one of those
thunder-thigh Big-12 chicks with the flaming baton. How does this fit in with
Jethro Tull? Yeah, me, too. Now, on the drum corps side of
things, I liked the Tull tunes. I know the drumline can play better than they
did tonight. All the features were a little "fuzzy", but maybe it was the
miking. No, that wasn't it. Other lines sounded fine. Tighten it up, guys. You
know you can. Brass looked like they were having fun, and I think it helped.
Guard was pretty typical Cadets, but since I'm a drummer... (Hey, April? It
wasn't SCV's boom box that was the problem.) Could have done the pep-talk in
the tunnel. Or was that the warm-up replacement? Yeah, that saved time.
Cavaliers - Cavies have some screamers! Gaines strikes again with great drill
writing. We were whispering, "Where does he even get these ideas, let alone put
them on paper, and THEN get these guys to march it?" I want some of what he's
got. In addition to the Bond Theme, which was performed well, it was nice to
hear some different Bond music from that I might have expected. Since it was
originally written for an everyday-person as film scores, the music was
accessible, and again it looked like a corps having a good time performing. Was
it that much better than SCV? Not in my opinion. But it was definitely better
Blue Devils - The train effects work. The brass book doesn't. I caught most of
the gist of "Summertime", and a little of "A Train." ("A Train" competely
missed Jan.) Other than that, this was a conglomeration of Wayne Downey
Signature Horn Riffs. Musically, as far as from a melodic standpoint, it did
nothing for me. Maybe because I've been hearing these riffs for about 30 years.
Percussion rocked. Probably that's because Scott Johnson still has some
original ideas. And a perfect score in brass? Well, I guess so, when you play
stuff as simple as this. Trade books with any of the other top-8 cops and get a
perfect score. I dare you. No, I triple-dog-dare you. Speaking of simple, did
you see that drill?
If I had to rate it from my comfy theatre seat, I'd put it like this...
1. Santa Clara Vanguard
3. Phantom Regiment
5. Blue Devils
6. Carolina Crown (even better without singing and talking)
8. Madison Scouts
9. Boston Crusaders (see note with Crown)
11. Blue Knights
14. Seattle Cascades
15. Capital Regiment
16. Magic of Orlando
(From the clips)
22. Kiwanis Kavaliers
Pacific Crest, since they don't want to tour.
Just my opinions. Friendly discussion welcome, but if you just want to tell me
I'm crazy, get in line. The line now starts in Pacoima. Wear a flak-jacket.
The following comes from somewhere in theatre 7, about the ninth row up, three
Audience behavior was pretty reserved - except for big reactions whenever
Crossmen and Crown showed up on the screen. Crowd was a pretty even mix of
corps people and band kids. Sound was cool, although as someone said about
another venue, there may have been a limiter on the broadcast from the
stadium. One camera seemed to have some focus issues as medium range shots got
a little fuzzy from time to time. Enough set up, the following is a first read
for me on the corps as presented in the broadcast - unfortunately I didn't get
to Hershey or the Virginia shows this year.
Magic: good narrative structure, brass projection seemed to be a problem. There
seemed to be some clarity of form/visual issues in the overhead shots they
used. Had a real DCA feel to the shows construction.
Colts: nice show. Old Man River arrangement was nice and the American Overture
opener was a nice intro to the show. It seems like they are headed back up the
ranks if they can retain the membership.
Cascades: from the ballad on, I was impressed by the show. The opening two
segments didn't seem to match the conception/execution of the rest of the
Cap Regiment: Nice ensemble sound, definately on the way up. Marching issues -
individual/enesemble seemed to be the big issue. It will be interesting to see
where their evolution takes them next.
Spirit: Ok. The concept was intriguing and I'm sure that on multiple
reads/views it will probably grow on me. Someone in the audience said that it
reminded them of Crowns show from a few years back with the tires., etc. I can
agree with that and see this as a cult show.
Glassmen: honestly, this is the first G-men show not to connect with me in some
way. I liked the concept, the musical choices made sense but something was
Crossmen: It was nice to see them let the horses out. The drumline was on and
the hornline was solid. As much as I love the last tune, I think it needs a
hiatus from the activity for awhile. Very good shot at surging up a little
Blue Knights: Drill demand ? I love park and bark sections but there just
wasn't anything drillwise. The percussion section and guard were very effective
with the brass just a shade behind. The emotion from performing in front of the
'home crowd' should lock up a finals slot.
Crown: Love th show. Love the concept. Musical/Visual choices on the money.
Strongest corps from them to date. Then there were the voices. The quintet
would have been a little more effective if they could have entered a little
more surreptitiously. The beat poetry segment? Ok, a little overboard maybe,
but I had no problem with it. One of the stronger crowd reactions in theatre 7
Boston: new drill writer please. As an avowed Boston fan, this one doesn't
/didn't work for me. Original music was ok. The guard did a great job
interpreting the music. The narration left in could have been taken out
although I'm not convinced it would affect the scores that much. The talent was
there and they are working hard but...
Bluecoats: Hunting Wabbits is a smoker as big band chart and the arrangements
that Blooo did were effective. The ending was ok if, perhaps a little bit drawn
out. If we were still in the era of retaining parts of shows for the next
season, I would tell their design team to keep Hunting Wabbits and surround it
with other pieces from the Big Phat Band songbook. A legitimate 6th place is in
Madison:Started to get that old Scouts feeling back. The theatre response was
pretty high. The uniforms are really bugging me, but I guess it's called
progress. Drill and guard demand seem to be inching up again towards the
old-school Scouts standards.
Phantom: Nice. Music was okay, although at the beginning I was having Florida
Wave flashbacks. I found the overall effect a little bit beneath some of the
other corps. The castanets line was very nicely done.
Vanguard: Ok. I heard all of the hype before the cinecast that this is the show
that should be at the top of the rankings. And for once the hype was justified.
Drill demand was high and executed very nicely - although the triangle
rotate/shrink is starting to lose some of its effectiveness. Brass book was
tastefully done. The new ending brought back old SCV memories - I'm just glad
they didn't try to do the flying carpet thing that would have been overkill. If
the season went another week, definately this would surge towards the top. As
things stand now ? Second, if the judges are honest.
Cadets: another Cadets show. The music was a change of pace. The drill was the
drill. The guard was the guard. The overall effect was nice. Just didn't do it
for me. The Cadets crew in the audience went nuts. It would be nice for them to
go in another direction next year. Push the envelope please. [The pep talk from
Hoppy about the Cadets having something the other corps don't have,
personality, really went over like a lead balloon to those around me]
Cavaliers: Solid show. Some innovative drill moves. Deserved to be on top.
Maybe I'm getting jaded, but I was expecting more.
Blue Devils: Can't argue with the power of the brass line. The percussion was
solid. The guard was impressive as always. The drill...uhm, yeah. Kind of
reminded me of the BD drills from the 88 - 91 timeframe. Clean, written to max
out the judges sheets but compared to other corps, they seemed a little
wanting. The audience agreed with the Cavies being on top last night.
My opinions. Fire away at your discretion.
This is part one of my review of the Quarterfinals broadcast. Not a corps by
corps review but more like a collection of notes.
It was different from watching a show in the stadium, but still very enjoyable.
Similar to watching Finals live on PBS without the incessant begging for money.
In it's place DCI inserted a variety of live interviews and special features. The
crowd's reaction to this portion of the show were some of the more enjoyable parts
of the night, other than the competition of course! I will cover that in a Part
First, I thought DCI (and Regal) did a pretty good job overall with this grand
experiment. Other than Rondo and Dennis rambling incoherently at times, the show
moved along pretty well. A few technical difficulties but nothing really drastic.
It's a live show, things happen.
There was a good deal of distortion in the sound, which IMO was overly compressed.
The result was the upper brass sounded muffled most of the time. It lacked that
crispness we all love. I'm not sure if the distortion I was hearing was in the
satellite signal or the theatre's sound system. My first impression was the theatre
has some blown speakers. Also, I was sitting about the middle of the theatre but the
sound didn't seem balanced properly from side to side. Again, it was hard to tell if
it was the signal or the speakers.
Great acoustics in Invesco Field! Wow! There were times the natural reverb of the
stadium was coming through loud and clean. Great backfield sound. It also seemed like
the acoustics got more lively as the night progressed. Was there much of a temperature
OK...on to some thoughts about the corps. We saw some fantastic performances
tonight. Semis and Finals should be a blast. This is not a corps by corps review but
I was taking notes throughout the show. Some random thoughts......(trying to decifer
the things I wrote in the dark)
Magic of Orlando - pretty good show for them. Much better than a couple weeks ago
in Orlando. There has been lots of internet chatter about the water and the possible
danger of people slipping on wet grass. IMO it was a major non-issue. The water effect
happens just past the mid point of the show. If anybody is going to be affected by wet
grass it would be Magic! I saw no slips at all. In fact the only fall I saw all night
happened at the end of the Blue Knights show. Reliable Rondo with a little slip of the
tongue during Magic's pre-show warm-up, saying the corps was already "preparing for
tomorrow night." Did Steve know something we didn't?
Seattle Cascades - What is the name of that ballad? The melody was somewhat familiar
but I just could not place it. Anybody know?
Colts - Absolutely loved the 'American Overture'. Memories of the Yankee Rebels way
back in the mid-70's. The guard outfits were very popular with the crowd.
Blue Knights - a good show. The first corps I saw tonight with good feet. The odd
snare angle was unusual to watch as the snare line crab-walked.
Glassmen - seemed like a rough show for them. Just not quite in sync and generally
flat. Hope they have better shows Friday and Saturday. One of the bone-headed comments
of the night came from Dennis Delucia as he gave away the guard's visual effect in the
opener. We didn't need a full explanation of how they do it.
Capital Regiment - Really enjoyed the strong hornline, especially the really exposed
unison soprano parts. Very nicely done. However, the crowd just didn't seem to get much
out of their show.
Carolina Crown - Wow! This is probably their strongest show yet. But IMHO the vocals
are a total distraction and are not necessary. Funny moment when the crowd in the
theatre started singing along with 'Bohemian Rhapsody'! Some pretty good "Wayne's
World-style head bobs too!
Boston Crusaders - Love this show! But again, IMHO the vocal is not necessary and
actually detracts from an otherwise beautiful show. There is some really nice stuff
going on behind the narration, both musically and visually, but the vocal distracts you.
The show could stand very well on it's own without the vocal. IMO, the visual effect of
the corps disappearing into the boxes at the end of the show would have a greater impact
if they simply picked up the boxes and marched off the field instead of coming back out
Bluecoats - lots of Blooooooo calls in the theatre! Here is one corps I thought the
pit was way too loud, occasionally overpowering the horns. This show is really growing
on me. I thought the drumline and color guard had an outstanding show!
Phantom Regiment - playing latin music!! Can you believe it? And that is one heck of
a mellophone line! One of the best I've heard in years. IMO, and it seemed like many
others, Phantom should have placed above the Cadets tonight.
Cadets - I like Jethro Tull music but this show does absolutely nothing for me. Also,
the Cadets performance seemed lacking. Not like we are used to seeing from them. If
Phantom can put out a couple more great shows like tonight, it would not surprise me to
see them pass the Cadets at Finals.
Santa Clara Vanguard - one of crowd favorites! An incredible show! Many thought SCV
should have been in second place.
Blue Devils - another great show but as is sometimes typical of BD it leaves you
wanting or expecting more. Have to say though, I think BD makes the most creative and
effective use of amps. Each mallet in the pit is amped separately, allowing for better
overall control and mixing. I thought the numerous sound effects added quite a bit to
the show's theme. Very well done.
Cavaliers - easily this crowd's favorite tonight! What more can be said about their
drill design? It is simply mind boggling! I still don't know how the hornline can play
the stuff they do moving at those speeds! And speaking of horns, what's up with the
Cavies having screaming sopranos!? You could close your eyes and swear you were
listening to the Devils. IMHO, Finals will belong to the Cavies...but only if they can
deliver the performance. There isn't much room to falter.
Overall, I thought the amping of the pits was done rather well. A little too loud at
times. However it was difficult to determine if that was due to the amps being too loud
or the placement of the mics for the broadcast, which appeared to be pointing right into
the pit. I still personally do not like the vocals, though. I think amping will continue
next year and get more refined. Maybe with the amplification corps will see they don't
need such a large pit and put a few more horns on the field. Hmmm...that's a different
A quick word about color guards and flags. This year there are a lot of beautiful
flag designs and guard costumes. Far better than the over-abundance of mustard yellow
that was common a few years ago! I was really struck by how well the color selections
used by most corps really complimented the corps uniforms. Refreshing! And those guard
costumes are outstanding. Wow!
Question.....did the stadium crowd see any of the interviews and special features in
between corps that were shown in the broadcast? There were a LOT of funny things going on,
especially the Jessica Allen interviews. Part II of my review will deal with that side of
the show. Coming soon...