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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2005 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine

Page Two of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to: scores@soundmachine.org
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Tuesday July 26

Broken Arrow, OK (DCI)

Well, I just got back from the "Drums of Summer" competition in Broken Arrow Oklahoma, and man am I tired...Looking at the forecast before I left, it looked as if the show would surely be rained out. Luckily, I made the trip anyway, as I would rather get to at least HEAR the drumcorps if I can't hear AND see them...We lucked out as the rains held off (kind of....see below).

Right to it, then....

First up, was SOUTHWIND(7th place-75.30).

"GOOOOOOOO GIIIRRRRLLLLL!!!! RREEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!"..this was the insane battle-cry of the mother of a guard member who sat next to my wife and I. I didn't mind so much, as she's a parent, and that's a little more understandable. Besides, she quieted down quite a bit once they had started their show. I talked with her later, and she was actually quite pleasant to talk with. She asked me if I was a director. I told her, "No, just a fan..." and told her I was going to write a review here...MOVING ALONG...

Southwind's show, "A distorted Imagination" includes music from Ben Hur, Willy Wonka, Gladiator, The Planets, Spartacus, Samson and Delilah, Van Helsing, and The wind and the Lion. Wow, that's a LOT of music to be cramming into an 11 and a half minute show....but they do, and the result is a darn good show for them, probably their best since 2000. CONTRAS! (er...tubas..) Southwind has some (we'll call them) CONTRAS that can PLAY! Wow! Nice to hear that deep, dark sound. Tonight seemed to be a "night of contras". I'll explain more on this later...Anyway, some highlights include: In one part of the show, the hornline lays their horns onto the field. At this point I thought to myself, "Hey, that looks almost exactly how Star laid their horns down, with the same kind of 'motion'"...Then, they proceeded to do some body movements that WERE exactly like Star did in '93...(okay, maybe not all of them, but a couple..). This was still a cool part of the show, because hey, it's been twelve years since I saw that Star show live, and it brought back some good memories. ONWARDS!!...Speaking of borrowing ideas, (nothing wrong with that...?) they later gather into a solid form, and the horns do the same kind of horns down/horns up visual that the Cavies did in '03, right before the "washing machine" move (listen to Fiedler's commentary...). Anyway, it was cool too, so no bigee. In another part of their show, the corps forms a solid diamond with a "slice" (horizontal line) missing from the center of it. This "slice" is to the left of the form, and as the two move towards each other, the horns in the "diamond" crouch a lot as they sort of "crab" towards the "slice". The two finally mesh, and there's a big hit. Pretty cool (Yes, I use that word a lot...). Speaking of cool, the tenor feature where the (basses?) put down their drums and step in-between the tenors to help them play their drums was awesome! My wife thought it was the best percussion feature of the night... I did notice one soprano (er...trumpet) sticking out musically at the end of the show just a little bit. I saw only two guard drops, which isn't bad considering that it was lightly sprinkling all throughout their performance. As Southwind's show came to a close, we saw a flash of lightning off on the horizon, and my anxiety started to rise. I thought, "Great, they're gonna cancel the rest of the show..." but no, I was wrong...(not the first time...) Overall, I thought the show was very enjoyable, and I'm sure they'll make semi-finals this year.

Next up were the GLASSMEN (6th place-82.00).

We had a very scary moment (other than the ever-increasing lightning) during the Glassmen's opener where a guard member dropped her sabre, and she was having a lot of trouble picking it back up as a horn member was backing quickly into her. It could have been a disaster, but thankfully, she picked it up just in the nick of time...They have a part early in their show where the guard forms a large circle around a lone guard member who is doing some nice flagwork...I liked it...There was also this one CONTRA who hit this low, full note. It was awesome, and the crowd showed their appreciation. Their last piece is by far their best piece. They start with two horn groups. One is in a solid triangle-form on the left side of the field, the other on the right. As the left group plays the "Duuuhhh Duh.." from the "Jaws" portion of Dvorak's music, they kind of squat, then this awesome timpani player goes after it. Then, the other side answers, and a guy on some (toms?) does his stuff. It really set the mood for the piece. Near the end, they form their trademark "upside-down tri-force" (for you Zelda fans..), facing backfield, they play, then they turn towards the audience to smack us in the face with sound. All in all a good show from the Glassmen, but I'm not convinced that the Glassmen will be in Finals yet. I think they still have a lot of cleaning to do...

Next were the BOSTON CRUSADERS (4th place-85.60)

The first thing that came out of my wife's mouth was, "Those guard uniforms are ugly." Okay, miss negative Nancy... Yes, the very pink guard uniforms are off-putting at first, but I think they work okay within the program...plus they have some nice colors in the actual flags they spin...Highlights: Nice sabre toss in the opening! Also, lots of good, solid rifle work (remember, it is still sprinkling at this time..). I really liked their arrangement of Candide. I had heard some negative comments about it on here, so I was a bit apprehensive, but for no reason, as it rocked the house (okay, maybe not 'rocked', but it was good!). Again, in this show, we got to hear some CONTRAS that could play with a nice, deep, dark tone... I love it! Sing Sang Sung was the highlight of the program (though Candide was a close second..) with the percussion switching out instruments and all....THIS rocked the house! (Yeah, that expression sounds lame...) Also, if you see Boston this year (the corps, not the city...), you should watch for their recurring upper-body tilt. They do it at the end of the first piece, I believe, and a few times later, to good effect. You CAN over-do something like this, but they don't...very nice! I enjoyed Boston's show quite a bit, but I don't expect them to stay ahead of SCV....just a hunch...

Next up we had the MADISON SCOUTS(2nd place-88.65)

First of all, I didn't understand WHY the Scouts were going on so early in the program, and SCV was going on next-to-last. Then again, I'm not sure how they decided to schedule these corps...oh well....Ladies and gentlemen....we have drill!! Yeah!! This show, to me, doesn't seem to really take off until after the appearance of "Carmen". The first piece is good, but nothing too spectacular, IMO...I had purchased their APD the night before (along with SCV's and Phantom's), so I knew what to expect. That being said, I was still hoping for a little bit "more"... They seem more "loose" than the previous two years, but not quite "loose" enough, if you know what I mean (no, I'm not referring to "Carmen"...heathens.. ) I just expected the sopranos (trumpets) to open-up a bit more. But, they are just playing it the way it's been arranged, and it is an exciting show, but it still doesn't hold a candle to '95 when it comes to excitement or energy. (well....maybe energy, but not excitement..) The appearance of "Carmen" was VERY well done. I did not see her. My wife did not see her. We were both looking. I am a magician, and am knowledgeable of such things, and I still did not see it. Good! I'm glad I couldn't see her till they wanted me to! Very cool. "Carmen" is a little on the "sleazy" side, if you ask me...(yes, I know it's how she is in the musical..) :rolleyes: I could sit here and re-itterate what others have said about "Carmen" needing to work with some equipment, and not just prance around the field, but I won't.... woops, I just DID.. ^0^ Wow, the scouts have a guard this year! Those guys are some great performers...They are seperated into two groups, one with green jackets, the other with blue jackets. The guys with the green jackets have a fleur-de-lis on the back of them, and the guys with the blue jackets have an "M" on the back (or maybe that's backwards?) Anyways... I think the corps uniforms look MUCH better without the red in them, and with the added citation cords....very sharp! I could make a Cesario joke right now, but I won't.....Oops, I just DID... :huh: MOVING ALONG...When Carmen first appeared, there were two guys in the audience behind us that were talking kind of loudly, saying, "Well, that's a first, it's gotta be a first for them...huh??" I was going to enlighten them, but I decided it didn't really matter...Musically, the Scouts are very good this year. The only snafu I heard was a baritone who held out a note a little too long...D'oh!! In the next-to-last piece, there's a cool moment where the corps is in a sort-of company front, sitting stationary, and the upper-brass is holding this note out, playing loudly. As they hold this note, the lower-brass drop their horns to their sides, as if to say, "Yeah, we're about to blast ya..." then they raise their horns up, and..... blast us! Cool. Nice low sound here, too (again, CONTRAS!...and baris...). Okay, so they play till the original ending, just as before, then, they start marching quickly, while playing kind-of mezzo-forte-ish, and they wind up hitting the fleur-de-lis (quickly, for just an instant...)then, they meander to their original drill set, and close on a soft note. The audience sat there........crickets "chirped"...finally, the drum major turned around for his salute, and it's as if people in the audience said, "Oh, they ARE done...." and THEN they clapped, but it was somewhat subdued. Personally, I don't really see the need for this "new" ending. Maybe a re-write is in order? As it is, I don't see the Scouts beating Phantom in the end. I just think Phantom has the better package. (more on that later...) Don't get me wrong. This is a GREAT show to watch, but Phantom is also having a great year...tough competition.

Next up we had....the intermission....yawn.

Okay, then we had BLUECOATS(3rd-87.45)

Weather update:
[By the time intermission had ended and the Bluecoats had set-up on the field, it was lightning quite a bit to the south and east of the stadium. I was really worried about the show being cancelled, and worried about the poor kids on the field. Our worries were relieved later when the announcer stated that they were keeping a very close eye on the weather, and that the storm was heading away from us, and was too far away to hit us with lightning.]

I was very excited when I heard at the beginning of the season that the Bluecoats were once again going to be playing "Caravan". Sounds and memories of 1990 hit me, and I thought, "I can't wait to see how they jam with Caravan now..." Alas, Caravan isn't really in the show, except for the very beginning intro (as far as I heard..) BUT, the music they play is very good, so it's all good...Highlights: During Incantation, they do a cool horn ripple visual that looks just about exactly like '89 or '00 Cavies...it was cool, though. They also do the same horn visual at the very end of the program. The other thing you've heard a lot about this year is the Coat's great guard. I don't think they were "on" tonight, frankly. I only saw one drop, during the ballad, but my wife counted three. Also, they (the guard) just didn't seem to be "on" (like I said before..) Anyway, still a great guard...There's this great drill move they do where the corps is in a solid form in the upper-right corner of the field, and they start to "peel" a long line from the form, stretching it all the way to the lower-left corner of the field. (This reminded me of '03 Blue Devils opener) People, you were not joking when you reported that the Bluecoats have the most field coverage...wow. Later, as I was watching the show, I thought I heard someone talking loudly somewhere, and I thought, "huh?"....then I realized it was the "drumspeak" guy doing his thing. I could barely hear him, really. I was actually glad I could barely hear him, because what I heard was just like...eh? Yeah, not really distracting or detracting from the show, but it doesn't add anything, either, IMO. I had read on here that the entire corps later joins in the "drumspeak" or "tabla" or whatever, un-amped, but I never heard it. I heard the corps say something like, "Ohhhhhh YEAH!" like they did in 2002 near the end of that show. Bottom line: Amped human voice=not necessary (this, of course, is my opinion..) The crowd really didn't react to it at all. Everyone was just like.... "Eh..." On a more positive note, there is some great drill in the end of their show. At one point, the corps forms a solid triangle and is floating this form from right to left, and as they hit another part of the corps that is in a vertical line, the line "folds" onto the triangle, becoming a part of it. There was more than that, but my notes are sort of cryptic... Overall, the (second) best Bluecoats show ever! (I would rank 1990 slightly above this one.) I hope to see great success from the Bluecoats. Of the 3, (Coats,Scouts,Phantom) the Coats have the most to clean, and therefore the most room to improve and move up, so... who knows?

Next up was the SANTA CLARA VANGUARD(5th place-83.60)

As mentioned earlier, I was a little perplexed as to why Vanguard was going on so late in the show, but in the end, it doesn't really matter...From most of the reviews I have read on here, I was expecting a train-wreck of a drill with visions of 2001 Scouts going through my head (no offense meant there...). Well, their drill is not THAT bad... The biggest problem, as others have mentioned, is in the execution of that drill. If they could clean this drill up enough, they could pass Boston (and I think they just might...). I had purchased the APD the night before the show, so I knew what to expect musically. The first thing out of my wife's mouth was, "Momma!" (That, my friends, was a lame joke...you see, when I said the "first" thing out of my wife's mouth, then I made it literal, then I made the joke even worse by attaching this stupid explanation of my lame humor...I will blame the night. Yes, the night is old, and so am I...) Seriously, the first thing she said was, "I like the colorguard's uniforms.." , and I agreed that they were nice-looking uniforms. The black and gold really go together well...(Ah, Black Gold....now THAT brings back memories...I miss them...) ONWARDS!!! Highlights: During their ballad, the hornline is in a large arc, if memory serves correct, and the horns start to drop one hand down to the side, a-la 1989's "Wishing you were somehow here again" from the left side of the arc, to the right, in a domino-fashion.... nice effect. At the same time, the guard is in front of the arc, and they have a ripple rifle toss from left to right as well, timing the last catch with the last hand drop. Saw the "1917/CCCP/USSR"-changing drill. They also make a "1991" near the end of the program, which was pretty cool. During the show, I was on the look-out for the "cool star" form that everyone had mentioned on here, and I thought it was the first star that SCV made, but this first star was a linear form on the right side of the field, and frankly, it looked less than stellar, pardon the pun...The second star form, the solid form, came later, and looked much nicer. However, I was hardly blown away by this. This is unfortunate. I really wish that Vanguard would kick some serious but with their visual. I would like to see them at the top. But, I think that the best they can hope for this year (other than all the great memories they'll have) is to beat Boston at finals. If they clean enough of their show, it could happen...

Finally, we had PHANTOM REGIMENT(1st place-88.80)

I have to tell you...When I heard Phantom was playing Gershwin music, I thought to myself, "Crap, I hate Gershwin...", "Guess it'll be a 'down' year for phantom..." Boy was I wrong!! Yeah, I know there's been a lot of people who've said this, but until you see the show yourself, it's difficult to believe (or it was for me) that Phantom could have a "winning" show with Gershwin music. I had purchased the APD the night before the show, so I knew going in that I would probably like the visual part of the show, if the audio was anything to go on. Man, Phantom REALLY has a good drill this year!! I was so happy to see this. Why? Because, that means they have a shot at the title. Yeah, I said it. I really do think Phantom has the potential to win it all with this show. But, it would take a LOT of cleaning, and they'd have to perform the heck out of it. MOVING ALONG...The guest performer in this show is pretty great. He really does a great job of putting out a certain "vibe". You can just see it in his performance. There is one part during the percussion feature, when he is "tap dancing" with sound effects provided by the pit, and then he stops and points to the quads, and they play like an "answer" to his tap dancing (kind of...it's more like a feature..memory is blurring...) it's very cool, though. He does this a couple of times, and it is very intriguing to watch. Another great visual moment comes when the CONTRAS!! are in a block (I think with the baris, too...) on the right side of the field, and they are playing "American in Paris", and as they hit the "oom-pah...loom-pah...oompah,oompah,oompah,oompah" parts, they are "tip-toeing" along as the play, sort of sliding to the left, and it is really a cool thing that made myself and the whole crowd smile. I like the guard uniforms, and so did my wife.... They change into what looks like a slip, later in the program, and this is the only uniform I wasn't sure of, as it seemed a little on the "revealing" side to me...The orange-sparkly umbrella that was opened late in the show was very nice. They had another umbrella that a guard member had stolen from the guest performer. It was blue-sparkly. It seemed as though this guard person had trouble with the wind, as it blew the umbrella inside-out... My wife speculated whether this was "planned", but I doubted it...Late in the show, there is a cool drill move where the hornline is in a solid block form at the lower-right side of the field, near the sideline. Above and to the right/left of this block, there are several vertical lines. As the corps plays, they move these lines in-alignment with the lines of the block, becoming part of the block...it was very neat to see this..CONTRAS!!! Phantom's contras were awesome! They really get after it during this show. This seemed to be a recurring theme tonight...oh well..Overall, a GREAT show, and my favorite of the night. I thought they had beaten Madison before the scores were even announced, and I knew it had to be close. The only real issue I saw (and I think it was a fluke..) was a little bit of upper-body bouncing by a bari in the opener, but it was only for the first few counts of the show. Phantom really has the show to win it all this year. They just have that certain "something" with this show, and this is destined to become a drumcorps classic. Let me go on the record right now and say this....Phantom will wind up beating the Blue Devils on finals night. No offense to the Devils, or anything...it's just that this show is so great, others are bound to fall to it (as did the Scouts tonight...) Phantom definitely deserved the win tonight. They actually have a lot of cleaning that could be done, and they would rise even higher in the ranks. Here's hoping they give it their all...

ENCORE: Only Phantom and SCV came back on the field and played America/O Canada. The announcer said to stick around for Phantom to do an encore performance!! My wife and I moved down real close to get our faces blasted off. Phantom was all lined up, ready to go, when suddenly, the heavens opened up, and niagara falls started to pour onto us. I'm talking Forrest Gump Big Ol' Fat rain...These raindrops were about the size of a small shot glass...and it was coming down HARD. Luckily, my wife and I had the foresight to bring our ponchos and jackets. We quickly put them on as the people scattered. We stayed mostly nice and dry while others ran around screaming as if they had been forced to watch "Son of the Mask" or something....You would think that people would check into the forecast, as we did, before going to an event such as this...oh well...

That's it....I hope you enjoyed my insane ramblings...

Jeff Gray


Saturday July 23

San Antonio, TX (DCI) P.M.

This was my first DCI event since 1995. I took my "what's a drum corps" wife to this event. We both had a relatively good and enjoyable time. But here are my gripes:

1) What's with the electronics? I must have missed something! I think the only band that didn't use electronics was SCV. Everyone else amped up their xylophones and triangles. Very distracting. As my musically challenged wife pointed out: "don't electronics defeat the purpose of 'marching bands'?" I couldn't disagree with her observation.

2) What's with the chanting / talking during the shows? I thought The Cadets and Blue Devils should have been ushered out of the stadium for talking during the shows. I know at a concert or movie they would have been HUSHED. Why do they ruin their show with talking? I know that isn't going to sound very good on the 2005 DCI CDs. This was the worst thing that has changed since the simple days of the mind-blowing late 80s, early-mid 90s shows.

3) What's with the dancing and choreography in the brass and percussion? Is it really necessary for Carolina Crown to make "snow angels" on the field and is it really necessary for every single corps now to copy (BADLY copy) Phantom Regiment by doing the fairy steps, sideways-leaning playing, hands on people's shoulders, playing "dead," and generally looking fairy-ish (in the literal Shakespearean "fairy / pixy" sense). What happened to marching?

4) What's with the corps doing bad remixes of beautiful songs? I remember someone telling me, "all the songs have already been played, so now we have to improvise and invent new music." I understand this, but that doesn't mean (Glassmen) Dvorak's "New World Symphony" must be rhamba'd and samba'd to make Dvorak sound like Tito Puente. I wouldn't mind hearing a classic Dvorak every single year! What happened to singable songs and memorable tunes. I wager if I listened to The Cadets', Blue Devils', or Cavaliers' shows 10 more times I wouldn't be able to hum you the tune - unless you would count humming their incoherent fast riffs, loud incongruous chords, sharp accented pops, and long dramatic pauses. On the way home from San Antonio, I tried singing ANY of the 12 songs in my head, but I ended up singing the wonderful 1992 Cadets show, "To Tame the Perilous Skies."

Observations:
12: Spirit - very nice, no complaints.

11: Glassmen - butchered Dvorak. To much choreography going on in brass and percussion.

10: Blue Knights - not very memorable. Lots of riffs and random noises for 12 minutes.

9: SCV - Absolutely wonderful. THANK YOU for not using electronics, not prancing around the field, and for playing the actual "Russian Christmas Music" instead of some music-theory nerd's version of it. Deserved 4th place (after Cadets and Blue Devils are disqualified for talking).

8: Boston Crusaders - Boring. Nothing memorable to report.

7: Carolina Crown - Nice 1st song, 2nd song got WAY too artsy, 3rd song = "Arms of the Angel"??? Seriously? We were laughing up in the stands. Though the person next to me was almost in tears, so maybe I'm not sentimental enough to appreciate a Sarah McLaughlin pop tune being marched to. (Well, this song wasn't being marched to. Most people were moping around the field aimlessly, flailing and waiving their arms to and fro so we could all understand their grief.)

6: Bluecoats - Tremendous. Perhaps my favorite. I am happy they have stuck to their roots of entertaining the crowd instead of dancing for "artistic points." They did something with their flags in the last song that was amazing. Short pause (everything quiet) and all the flags *popped* as they were tossed in the air. Something I haven't seen before - very cool. Everyone went wild.

5: Phantom Regiment - As wonderfully predictable as they always are. The flags were a little skanky, but the Gershwin show was classic Phantom. "Classic" doesn't mean old fashioned, on the contrary, if Phantom could keep playing these wonderful shows every year they will continue to amass a huge crowd of groupies (including myself).

4: Madison Scouts - I would give them 2nd place. Madison was awesome! They still play for the crowd. Was that a girl in the show? Carmen was a tremendous show, worthy to be called one of Madison's best ever. Drum Corps for the purist here (and you didn't need the electronics, did you? Then ditch it for next year!)

3: Blue Devils - the most annoying show I have ever seen. This upsets me because I was such a huge Blue Devils fan. They totally went corporate. There was some guy talking LITERALLY throughout the entire show. It wouldn't have been any more distracting had the "talking guy" read a cook book over the whole show. I have an idea - next year no one plays and everyone marches and sings into wireless mics.

2: The Cadets - only slightly less annoying, but only because the "talking guy" spoke less frequently than the Blue Devils' "talking guy." Another big gripe was that there was a 5x5 closet in the middle of the field. Yes, a closet. I'm sure this has already been discussed, but it was pretty lame. I remember when Phantom put their pit in the middle of the field in 1993, but that at least served a purpose. On top of all this, their songs were utterly forgettable. Again, a music-theory tech nerd must have arranged it after playing with a keyboard.

1: Cavaliers - Good, BUT... My favorite corps in DCI history, they did NOT need electronics. Since they had no "talking man," I can only imagine the Cavaliers wanted their triangles and rain sticks to be louder. Not necessary. As always, their show was impeccable - marching at its finest. Before the show I assured my wife, "these guys are known for never stopping, they just keep going..." And they did not disappoint. My only gripe is the forgettable music. I was sad because I heard such wonderful things about their 2004 Bond show. Their marching hasn't suffered, and many would say their playing is phenomenal - but it isn't something that will win my heart back to classic drum corps.

okydoky_20


well fine i spent 30 minutes writing the other review and then to have my computer freeze while it was about to send... i decided to limit it to just the night show...... wow been a long time since i posted here.... good to be back.

-Spirit - i dunno...just didnt dig this show... i wasnt completely sold on the music arrangements... i think the crossmen should've been over them, but only slightly from the afternoon show.

-Glassmen - remember those shirts the Glassmen made that said boring is our trademark?? well throw those away... i did not expect to be out of my seat during a Glassmen show, but i was... i loved the music... Dvorak is flipping in his grave, but it was still great none the less... i thought they were gonna beat BK in the night show.

- BK - show doesn't do it for me at all... the drill is good, and they play well... i just don't see they getting any higher than where they are now.

- SCV - so SCV is having a rough year, but they were better than both Boston and Crown..... if they had time to go back and rewrite a lot of their drill then they'd easily get into the top 6.....

- Boston - didn't like the music...its not a bad show, dont get me wrong....its just ..i dunno i gotta see it again.

- Crown - decent show, decent sound....top 8 is a lock for them.

- BLOOOO COats - a lot of people felt Bluecoats got the shaft... but i don't think you can compete when you don't play for 1/2 of your show... there was a point were they stood for about a minute playing a lick, an easy lick... they're hornline was smoking though.

- Phantom - i had a smile on my face the entire time... not because the guy in the guard is funny, but this show is just down right entertaining... there's points where you can almost visualize what Gershwin was thinking when he wrote these songs.... Phantom's hornline has a sound no other can make.

- Madison - i think Madison let the entire city of San Antonio know that they were in the building when they hit that first loud chord..... this show is great.... it got to a point where it turned kind of Cavie-ish because there was so much to look at..... if Madison did a few visual things here and there, and changed the ending.... they could really push for 1st... this show is that good... ladies and gentlemen... THEY'RE BACK.

- BD - Dance Derby... or as i like to call it Park and Blow Derby... they stop a lot..... so much it gets annoying... thats why they got beat by the cadets tonight... BD's show has the whole package, just they gotta move... i think somoene earlier said the end of BD's show left something unfinished in his mind... well im still wondering if the show is over.... the only way the crowd knew is when they started announcing at the end...

- Cadets - not a whole lot to this show... UNI's are a cool effect... they march, play, and do everything else good.... they're clean... but this show isn't a contender.

- Cavaliers - so yeah about this show.... it's Cavies at their best.... they were so scaring me with those ladders though i thought someone was gonna bust it...... the Cavies lead trumpet line is always stout... they should be comended on their performance... and i'm not saying that because one of them is in my Brass Quintet.

Show was a blast....Cavies were a lot better than everyone else at that point... i'm hoping Madison will realize that their ending just isn't that great and they do something to change it by putting a big move in there.... so that way, finals night can become interesting...... well after a weekend of fun and Drum Corp the new week brings working sectionals at a high school band camp...yay...... (sarcasm)

Shaka Hawkins


Christina and I left during the 2 hour break to go grab a bite to eat and to check into our hotel as well... trying to get back before the parking lots filled up and get to our seats in time to catch everyone. Traffic wasn't as bad this time around.. but the line to get inside was... luckily we were able to get into a line for people who had already been in before.. but you had to have a stamp to get in.. I was prepared to murderlize some people, but the lady let us in anyways with a smile! So once again without further ado... from the 40 yard line, 200 feet up and looking down... here's your review.

San Antonio Evening Review:

Spirit from JSU
"Spirit of Broadway"
DCI Rank - 12th
My Rank - 12th

I didn't really notice too much difference between the day show and the evening show... so the 2 point drop HAD to be the judges making room for the top corps.. which makes sense I suppose. We can't be having the Cavaliers busting a 94.0 2 1/2 weeks before finals. Anyways, on with the show.. I still just sort of liked it.. it had its moments, but the dryness of the music and choppiness of it sort of killed it for me. Still very clean and and definite contender for finals, but not necessarily a lock... anything can happen. Good show.. good ideas.. they just need to strengthen their weaknesses.. maybe do a bit of transitional rewriting and work on adding some more punch into the show. Good job.

Glassmen
"A New World"
DCI Rank - 11th
My Rank - 11th

I didn't care for this show as much the second time around... while it was quite good and fluid.. it just lacked the essense of an amazing show. The impacts were quite nice.. and the overall structure of the show worked.. but they just didn't sell the show as well as other corps sold their shows. Hornline was pretty good for the most part.. good variety of sound and dynamics, maybe work on overall balance a little better.. the lows a BIT too heavy, but it's Dvorak.. so I guess it works. I'd say a definite lock for finals at this point.. but only time will tell.

Blue Knights
"A Midsummer Knight's Dream"
DCI Rank - 10th
My Rank - 10th

While I felt that they had been tied with SCV earlier in the day show, tonight, however, I felt that SCV gave them the slip and began to pull away a bit. I still love this show and think it's one of the best all around shows this season. High-velocity drill... a good dabble of GE.. some high quality music and WHAM! awesome show! They simply need to maintain the pace they are currently on.. keep focusing on cleaning the drill to perfection and emphasize the selling points of the show even more. Keep up the awesome work kiddos! I will nominate this show as a guaranteed lock for finals.. and I don't think it's all that far out in left field to believe they might catch Boston at some point at the end of the season.

Santa Clara Vanguard
"Russia: Revolution-Evolution: 1917-1991"
DCI Rank - 9th
My Rank - 9th

SCV definitely stepped it up tonight... with BK nipping at their heels they sure took off with a stellar performance this evening. I love this show from start to finish.. the drill, while easier than years past, is still quite difficult and yet they are performing it quite well at this point. There are still some obvious cleansing issues that need to be handled (ie the ending moves and the drill coming out of RCM into symphony #12) but for the most part an overall great job thus far. This show has the potential to get SCV back up to the top 7... but no higher than 7 in my opinion. Carolina and SCV could be battling it out for that spot as soon as Allentown... but only time will tell. I do enjoy Russian X-mas as a closer, though I know most of you do not, it plays well into the show.. with all of the horrors going on and the revolution being portrayed by symphony #12 barging in and taking over the show.. but then at the end subtly slipping back into Russian X-mas to ease the tension and show the evolution surrounding Russia. I think that if they perfect the spell-out section that could become a highlight section for this year.. and that star at the end of the opener.. WOW.. simply beautiful! Definitely a lock for finals.. they won't be out this year... how high can they go? Only time, determination, and effort will tell.

Carolina Crown
"Angelus"
DCI Rank - 7th
My Rank - 7th

Wow, Wow, Wow. Carolina Crown is having the best year in their history, in my opinion. They have some star moments in their show.. and by star I mean the one and only Star of Indiana. The mello section that Star is known for seems to emanate from these kids during parts of the show, adding a very nice and unique blend to their already superbly beautiful show. They absolutely play with a lot of grace and rich gorgeous sounds.. but with all of that they MUST have the visual package to back it up.. which they sadly do not. If their visual were about 5 times better.. you would not be seeing them in the bottom 6, you'd be seeing them fight for top 4. Their visual isn't horrendous.. it's just extremely bland and doesn't really do much for the show. The making of snow angels thing didn't really appeal to me, but it did fit the show, so I guess it helped with GE somehow. I wasn't too anxious to hear the rendition of Sarah Mclachlan's "Angel," in fact I was worried it would sound ridiculous.. but on the contrary it was actually one of the highlights of the show for the brass... simply gorgeous sounds. Congrats Crown... you have something quite amazing this year! Definite lock for finals... might see a bit of competition from SCV and I think they are going to come out on top in this matchup unless SCV can clean clean clean... I don't foresee Crown catching the Coats.. but still only time will tell. Awesome Show, Two Thumbs up, first standing ovation of the night.

Boston Crusaders
"The Promise of Living"
DCI Rank - 8th
My Rank - 8th

Now first things first... I was 'lucky' enough to sit in front of an ex marching member of Boston.. and OBVIOUSLY one of the biggest fans ever. She screamed louder and higher than the Blue Devil's screamers... Yowza! With that aside.. I liked this show up until the little jam/groove section. I didn't quite understand why they have all of this beautiful and glorious music.. and then bam it's a rendition off of the Chips Ahoy "Sing Sing Sing" anthem. Not that they performed it bad or anything.. it just didn't fit into the show very well if at all. I enjoyed the snare drummers taking of the snares and putting what looked like snare pads or conga's or something... very cool though to see the drummers marching around with these little pads instead of the drums. The show just didn't do it for me.. the music was not very memorable and nothing really stuck out. Yes they performed well.. and yes they are pretty clean, but that's all really. I think they need to watch out for SCV.. because they're getting closer and closer as the days go by. Definite finals lock... maybe as low as 10th but no higher than 8th (imo).

Bluecoats
"Caravan"
DCI Rank - 6th
My Rank - 6th

I love this corps... absolutely love them.. they are amazing in just about every aspect and each year they seem to just get years and years better. They scored another fan last night as I taught my girlfriend how to "bloooo" for them and she definitely enjoyed them as well. Musically they are up there with the best... definitely drumline-wise... in fact they may even win overall drums come finals night. Visually one of their best years by far... still a bit of cleaning to do.. but this show is still outstanding! The one and only thing I did not like about the show... was the silly drumtalking bit. They did this for over a minute and I honestly thought it killed their show. If not for that I would have had them over the Blue Devils.. but that stuff is just ridiculous... definitely no need for that in this show. The guard stoled the show at the end with their "swishes" and "catches," wow that's something you have just got to see... it really is breathtaking to witness. The Coats are in an interesting predicament this year... for this is BY FAR their best show to date, but they've got quite a few contenders who are also having stellar years. If this had been last year.. Coats would have easily been 4th if not pushing SCV's Scheherazade, but this year with Phantom and Madison doing so well.. they may not reach up as high... though they are still most definitely right there with them. I say at this point.. between Madison and the Coats it's anyone's game right now... both have amazing books and are performing well.. so we'll have to see! Awesome job Bluecoats, keep cleaning and keep working towards 1st!

Phantom Regiment
"Rhapsody"
DCI Rank - 5th
My Rank - 3rd

Where do I begin? Well I suppose the beginning of the show would work quite nicely... as did the entire show for these kiddos. I definitely loved watching the drum major bust out the baton and hearing every say "ooooooooh," some good stuff right there. Ok so let's see... Phantom only marches women for guard right? WRONG! They've got a man.. a man by the name of... well it doesn't really matter what his name is.. it's who he portrays.. and WOW give this kid an oscar! The music was definitely some of the best of night.. not quite memorable, but played EXTREMELY well and the overall balance was outstanding. They oozed GE what with the umbrellas that my girlfriend begged me to buy for her and the rainsticks that everyone around us had... along with the amazing guard... just wow.. what an awesome show. I honestly see them contending for the title this year. They have 'it' whatever 'it' might be... but they most definitely have 'it.' This was my girlfriend's favorite show of the night.. probably more so for the color and display than the musical and visual qualities, but hey whatever works! I gave them a standing ovation.. one of only 5 that I gave out tonight (cavs, bcoats, crown, pr, and madi). They just need to keep working on cleaning their visual and adding more impacts into the show.. though I think they are being scored unfairly at this point because I would have had them OVER the Blue Devils and Madison, not under. I felt like I was watching something from the past, but with newage style and flair to it.. along with color! One of the highlights of the show (for me) was when Mr. Guard Guy came up to one of the trumpets and 'effected' his solo... wow talk about slick.. I also really dug the Chevron/Eiffel Tower creation move at the end.. wow this corps is killer this year. If it were up to me they would have been 3rd, no questions.. but it's not.. so they're not.. but I'm sure they will be there by end of the season. Keep it up... favorite show of the night, behind the cavs!

Madison Scouts
"The Carmen Project"
DCI Rank - 4th
My Rank - 4th

I tried not to look for Carmen.. I really did, but the Scouts just made it WAY too hard and suspenseful to not try to find her.. and try I did. I failed, however, to see her come out from beneath the backfield Drum Major's podium... even though I KNEW that where she came from.. and I failed to see her come out with all of the guard who clustered back there to bring her to center of the field... in fact I didn't see her until Madison wanted me to see her. Good job guys.. that was really something special! Ok so forget about Carmen now.. and focus on the Scouts. They've upped one area of their staff this year, with the addition of a good man I know named Pete Weber. I remember Pete working with us on music last year at some points, but I had no idea he had THAT much talent when it came to drill... WOW! He must have taken after Michael Gaines or something, because that was by far the biggest contributor to the Scouts' success this year. They performed that ridiculously hard drill so well.. I was absolutely in shock. The only drawback, for me, in this show is that I can't watch it all with Carmen flaunting her "beauty" around on the field and all the guard men trying their best to capture her heart... because then I'd miss the impeccable drill performed by the horn & drum lines... or if I watch that I miss Carmen... either way something would be missed.. but this will make a fun show to watch over and over on the finals dvd! This was another favorite of the night right up there with Phantom, the Cavaliers, and the Bluecoats. I was surprised to not see them over the Blue Devils, but I'm sure things we'll turn out in the end. They have an awesome sound this year, though they still have a lot of hornline jumble and muck they need to clean if they want to beat the Devils soundly. I don't see them going any higher than 4th with Phantom and then Bluecoats holding them down.. but I don't see them any lower than 6th either. Let me assure you all.. Madison is most definitely back.. this is one of their best shows ever and let's just say it's on.. like donkey kong! Definitely top 6 lock... keep working and they might just push for the title. Oh and still no fleur-de-lis in the show.. hopefully they change that blah ending and do maybe a star-esque move with the fleur-de-lis facing one way and then flipping it the other way! Great show.. keep it up! Standing Ovation from just about everyone!

Blue Devils
"Dance Derby of the Century"
DCI Rank - 3rd
My Rank - 5th

I'm not a BD hater... I'm not a BD hater... I'm not a BD hater... honestly I'm not.. I really get into their shows most years.. like last year for example, I loved the train concept.. I loved the music and really enjoyed it, but this year.. I just don't get it. I honestly think that using the "Europe" trip as an excuse is somewhat lame.. it's not that the kids aren't performing the show well.. it's just that the show is.. well.. boring. I don't know why they decided to have a narrator saying "Yowza" every other word to help explain the show. I understood the concept.. people are dancing for as long as possible.. that's kind of cool, but I'd like to hear a lot of music that flows as opposed to choppiness with clips of music here and there. They are clean as cake as usual, but the show just doesn't seem to go anywhere this year.. with lots of stopping and starting I think it really hinders their capabilities of performing the heck out of this show. The cots on the front sideline assist in their depiction of a danceathon where everyone is dead tired.. and while it's neat to see them laying down and playing their instruments, I can't help but think of how many high school bands I've seen do that. The Blue Devils almost seem like a background soundtrack to the rest of the show.. almost as if they are being played as something of secondary importance.. when in fact they should be the foremost important. I really don't think this is a bad show, just kinda like their 2001 show which seemed to go nowhere at points and with the level of excellence that is exuding from all the top 6 corps.. I could see them slipping to possibly 5th this year.

The Cadets
"The Zone [Dreamscapes in Four Parts with a Door]"
DCI Rank - 2nd
My Rank - 2nd

I get it! I actually understood the concepts that The Cadets were trying to get across this year.. it actually makes quite a bit of sense, but it's hard to take it all in with all that's going on. You don't 500 eyes to see everything at once, so you're going to miss things all over the place. I think the fact that there is sooo much action somewhat detracts from the show, but not too terribly much. The sounds from their hornline seem a bit too stagnant.. too much Double Forte.. not enough pianissimo.. they just need some diversity of sound and dynamics as well as some clearer sounds and balance to take it farther this year. Definitely one of their better shows of later, but still some major areas to clean and work on. I don't see them going lower than third.. and right now I don't see them winning it all either, but who knows. As of right now they are nipping on the Cavaliers heels and should have Phantom and Madison right behind them and with some serious effort on their part they could close the gap between themself and the Cavaliers and speed past Phantom and their would be pursuers.

The show itself is pretty neat with an asian catholic schoolgirl tumbling out of a closet like door onto the field and obviously not sure of where she is supposed to be. She then searches and searches and seems to go through the fits in which she seems to be in other places and in her mind other "zones." One point she comes out with a toolbelt on and The Cadets begin to bust out with a little jam section that goes awry at one point when they begin the girly drumtalk. It sounds very odd and lame and doesn't really make sense with the show.. I say take that out.. and use your drums.. and the girls' acting skills. Overall a pretty solid show.. will definitely have everyone talking for years.. potentially a winner, but I just don't see it without a TON of cleanup in visual and musical performance. Great job, otherwise.

The Cavaliers
"My Kind of Town"
DCI Rank - 1st
My Rank - 1st

Now being that I marched with the Cavaliers last year, I'm going to be very unbiased in this review and give you the facts as they are.. with very few opinions. They marched with more precision than anyone else.. the cleanliness is ridiculous at this point. You can actually say the same spaces between the members as they move around and the spaces do not change hardly ever. They are most definitely the kings of marching and with quite a few rookies this year, that is simply amazing. Musically, however, I didn't always get into the show. This was a bit like Spin Cycle for me, where some areas just seemed to die and have no emotion and as opposed to last year where you can go home humming memorable moments, this year you really can't do that. They still play with a quality most of the other corps don't have or just don't do and that is control. They choose not play loud, because Mr. Bertman does not allow them to without great balance and sound. If you can resonate together, then your overall loudness will increase with all of the overtones ringing, yadda yadda yadda. I definitely loved the baseball section and the ending section.. but the ballad didn't quite do it for me at parts... it just seemed to kind of hang there.. but only for about 30 seconds at a time.. and only about 2 times during the whole show. The rest of the time I was right there in the thick of it.. watching all of the amazing visual concepts being created.. what with the illustrious "circle of death" where all of the member go from huge blocky forms to being caged inside the ladders that are shaped into a circle, and the re-enactment of what can only be described as typical Chicago traffic.. eventually evolving from chaos into a perfectly ordered square, and even the long rectangle that watches the grand slam from Wrigley Field fly over their heads! Wow... these guys do not cease to amaze me.. Gaines you are a genius.. Saucedo has some nice licks written in their for Beau and the other trumpets to flair out on. Overall very groovy show.. the jazzy ending definitely gives everyone a bit of a Blue Devils style.. but all Cavaliers taste. The ending cannot be it right now.. it ends in a park & blow.. and we all know that the Cavaliers won't stand for that.. so I'm sure we'll be seeing a new ending probably around Allentown or maybe even sooner. Awesome show.. no real competition at this point... but with the other corps picking up speed fast.. the Cavaliers could find themselves in a shootout this year for number 7.

San Antonio Evening Thoughts:

Wow. This was absolutely one of the most fun years I've seen in Drum Corps thus far.. with so many corps stepping the level of competition on.. you will NOT be left disappointed! With the Cavaliers with their showing of jazz play, the Regiment showing off their depiction of sir Gershwing, the Cadets taking you to the Zone with schizophrenic asian catholic schoolgirls, the Blue Devils dancing til they pass out, and the Madison Scouts housing a girl? this is definitely a year for upsets, surprises, and lots of drama! I didn't quite agree with the placements in the top 5 this year, but everything else seemed to be right in line. I see some movement still to come with the top 6 being finalized, spots 11th - 7th becoming secured, and spot #12 finally being called out... who knows what will happen or what is left to come, but I definitely know that this is a year well worth watching!

I for one enjoyed the heck out of this competition.. thank goodness I didn't have to drive 4 hours back home like some people I know.. I got a hotel and hung out in San Antonio the next day... and just fyi.. Out of all the cities I've been to... San Antonio is one of the WORST cities to park or drive in... absolutely ridiculous.

Anyways.. enjoy.. don't take my words to heart.. it may cause problems if you do.. just watch and wait.. and see if my predictions come true!

CloudFuel


San Antonio Impressions (afternoon and evening shows)

I wonít do a full out review, but some overall impressions of the corps from San Antonio:

REVOLUTION: Nice corps with some nice visual ideas, but my main beef with them is please (!!!!) pick something more friendly to the fans. I canít remember one note they played.

KIWANIS KAVALIERS: I liked most of it, but the pick panther thing did not work for me. Small corps, but they are trying.

ESPERANZA: They seem to be pretty aggressive. The music was barely memorable, but I liked their approach to design otherwise. . .fairly in your face kind of corps.

TROOPERS: This is the best I have ever seen the Troopers live. This show in a different year would be much higher in the ranks. Congratulations to them for taking such a huge step up.

THE MAGIC: This show is not as friendly as Pirates, but it sure is a heck of a lot cleaner.

CAPITAL REGIMENT: Sorry, but after 2 viewings I dislike it even more.

SOUTHWIND: Fun show. . .still very dirty though.

SEATTLE CASCADES: Why was the voice-over necessary for this show? I enjoyed it aside from the voice over and some of the props. . .very prop heavy show.

MANDARINS: This was my first time ever seeing them live. I enjoyed the performance, but agreed with their placement.

COLTS: Itís a nice a show, but the postcards (as I stated from Dallas) do not work. They are much stronger musically as a corps than they are visually.

CROSSMEN: I think they should be scoring higher than they are. This show had a nice balance between the music and visual. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I hope they make a push to get into Finals, but its probably not gonna happen.

SPIRIT: Very nice take on Broadway. You can definitely see the Gaines influence visually. I hope they stick it out and stay top 12.

GLASSMEN: This show grows on me after 3 viewings. I like it more each time.

BLUE KNIGHTS: Solid show, but probably not as fan friendly as it could be. They have probably the best percussion feature of the summer though.

SCV: Still lots of dirt, but some changes already since Dallas are helping sell the show. I see them staying 8th or below.

BOSTON: Solid corps, but I was left feeling like I had seen it all before. Candide, while nice, is quite watered. Regardless of design though, they have a solid corps and an enjoyable show.

CAROLINA: I love love love this show from a music standpoint. The arrangements are just so full and chordal and that lush hornline sells it big time. I do see after a couple of viewings that maybe they could have pushed themselves a bit more visually though. Great show, though.

BLUECOATS: Solid from top to bottom. I had them and Phantom duking it out for 4th. Sidenote on them. . .Dan Potter interviewed a percussionist after the show and asked about Hajj. The kid basically said what they were saying was drumspeak. Why have they not received the same criticism The Cadets have? By the way, I like it from both corps.

PHANTOM: This is the best Phantom overall package since 1996. They have both the music and the visual working for them this summer, and the show is just a treat from beginning to end.

MADISON: I really enjoyed the show but in the end felt like Phantom and Bluecoats have more to offer from a design standpoint. I guess the judges disagreed hehe.

BLUE DEVILS: I feel the same way I did in Dallas. It has some amazing moments, but as a complete show it has no flow. I was glad to see them points behind the top 2 because that is the way it should be.

THE CADETS: This was the show I was most anticipating since it was my first and only live viewing of them this summer. I feel like I need to see it about 10 more times to catch everything they are doing. The music and the visual design are there, but still some dirt to overcome. There is sooooo much going on at all times that your eyes are not sure where to go. The door nor the girl (characters) were a distraction at all. They do no grandstanding showing off, no pandering to anyone. . .which is all the mess people hate from them. This is definitely a more serious offering. My pick for 2005 World Champion, which brings me to. . . .

THE CAVALIERS: This was also my first viewing of them for the summer and man, are they clean! It is a really nice show with a good flow to it, but without any of the wow moments we are used to from them, which is why I think they will be caught very soon. Unless they have a new ending planned, with as clean as they are, and with as much dirt is still in The Cadets show, that .60 difference on Saturday night said quite a bit to me.

I see it as a 2-horse race for numero uno with Cadets coming out on top in August.

TXMystreaux


San Antonio, TX (DCI) A.M.

I'm sorry.. I didn't catch all of the afternoon show, so this review will only have the corps performing after the break at 1:59pm. Also these are solely opinions.. do not bash me and do not mock me, if you disagree then that is your opinion and has just as much value as mine.. granted I might believe my opinions to be facts, but they are not... they are just thoughts, ideas, guesses, beliefs, and hopes. So with no more annoying chatter and just a bit more ado, I give you my SA afternoon review!

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My girlfriend and I arrived around 1:00pm at the Alamodome and having just driven 3 hours from The Woodlands.. we didn't really care to fight traffic and parking, but fight like #### we did. I was definitely surprised to see this many spectators at just the afternoon show, but it was packed to the brim. All parking lots were closed off and people were parking at nearby houses, patches of grass, open lots, empty alleys, and everything else imaginable. After parking in an abandoned lot that the parking person conveniently "didn't tell us about," we finally made our way through the traffic into the alamodome, past the overstocked booths for miscellaneous corps, and around, through, over and under the thousands of crazed fans.. well maybe not crazed.. but pushing it!

Our seats were sky high, section 314 (right off the 40) row 17, seats 12 & 13.. and we had just arrived after Seattle had left the field.. leaving us with about 8 corps left in competition for the afternoon prelims show.

San Antonio Afternoon Review:

Capital Regiment
"Chiaroscuro!"
DCI rank - 10
My rank - N/A

So this show is all about the Sun and the Moon.. time and all of that bizniz. While they definitely illustrated all of these concepts within the constraints of their show.. and played for the most part quite well.. I just felt a little blandness had overcome their show, leaving them with nothing really to perform and leaving nothing memorable for us fans to take home. My girlfriend pointed out that they had a ticking clock move in the show... very cool!

Crossmen
"Crossroads"
DCI rank - 5th
My rank - 5th

Wow. Bones, Xmen, whatever you wanna call 'em... they are most definitely kicking major butt this year. Very dirty at this point.. but that's the only thing holding them back... their music is killer. Very Bd-ish with their style.. or well Cavs mvmt 4 this year.. either one.. it's still slick. I was pleasantly surprised with their show and that's saying a lot for me... I'll be honest, I've never really been into Xmen before.. but this year wow.. definitely a contender for finals.

Mandarins
"Loves Me.. Loves Me Not..."
DCI rank - 7th
My rank - N/A

I really didn't get into this show very much.. it just seemed very stagnant to me and didn't progress very far. I definitely understood all of the flower concepts and hearts all over the field.. but the music didn't seem to project very much with this corps and I honestly was left with a bland taste after they had finished. Their closer seemed to need the most work out of the show.. just dirty and a bit of muck. Maybe cleanliness will help the story sell itself?

Colts
"Postcards from Home"
DCI rank - 6th
My rank - 6th (right behind xmen)

This show was the first majorly clean show I saw in the afternoon. They performed the show quite well, with the huge flags as props being wheeled from the corners of the field. I definitely understood the show.. Copland's music definitely came to life with the concepts these kids presented. Very neat show, pleasant, but not jaw-dropping. Most definitely contends for a finals spot.

Spirit from JSU
"The Spirit of Broadway"
DCI rank - 4th
My rank - 4th

I really dug this show for the fact that it was extremely fluid, very well performed, and overall extremely clean. I really liked the theatre props in the back of the field showing multiple broadways from the past, ie - cats, phantom of the opera, etc. It was kinda sad when they flipped them all over showing them as closed, except for phantom... definitely a touching moment. The only lacking parts in this show are musical performance... while it was good it could stand to be quite a bit better with some more impacts and overall diversity in the sound with contrast... dynamics... etc. Definitely deserving of the coveted 12th place position.. but they will have to fight to maintain it with the Colts prepared to steal their thunder and the Xmen trying to swing their way in as well.

Blue Knights
"A Midsummer Knight's Dream"
DCI rank - 2nd
My rank - 1st (tie)

This was easily my favorite show from the afternoon, tied with Santa Clara, and absolutely one of the best performed by far. The points between the Knights and Santa Clara keep growing smaller and smaller and that is simply because the Knights have found a method to success and are taking it all the way. They are EXTREMELY clean at this point... and have fantastic drill. Unlike the majority of the afternoon corps who decided to use Phantom and Bluecoat movements with their feet and legs or chose to dance during every percussion break.. these kids actually did something very unique. They did some bit of grooving during the break, but they formed an X looking thing that resembled the Crossmen X and did some scattered movement were it was somewhat of a follow-the-leader with visuals. They end in a very difficult stance on the ground... with somewhat of a pilate belly-up posture and their horns pushed proudly into the air. Musically they were a bit bland at points and I noticed some resemblances to past Cavaliers original music shows, with the type of rhythms and chords. Overall a very good show... contending towards BAC and Crown as well as pushing SCV.

Glassmen
"A New World"
DCI Rank - 3rd
My Rank - 3rd

These kids are for the most part VERY clean... and while the music is hauntingly dark and dreery with a creepy sound to it.. it gets a bit dull after a while. I liked them a bit in the afternoon show, but not so much later that evening.. it just grows dull after a bit. The tango section was neat, but it seems that since I've never heard these pieces before I have a different take on the way Dvorak's music is being used. I say if it sounds cool do it... The Glassmen definitely are better this year than past years, not quite up there with the Knights or SCV in my opinion.. but I would almost go so far as to say they are a definite lock for finals.. leaving only Spirit as a potential non-finalist. Good show.. just add some more punch and a stronger ending... and remember... just like your mother always said, "clean clean clean!"

Santa Clara Vanguard
"Russia: Revolution-Evolution: 1917-1991"
DCI Rank - 1st
My Rank - 1st (tie)

Now before I even begin to review this show, I just want to point out some key factors for this amazing corps.

First) They have gone through a #### of a lot of changes over the past year.. losing key staff members from colorguard, music, and visual alike.. and with a slew of drama in the midst I find it very rewarding to see that they can still pull it together and put out an awesome show.

Second) Everyone who claims they are dying or whatever, don't worry about that.. just worry about the show. These kids are kicking their butts everyday trying to bring you.. the fans.. the best show they can and I think they are doing a superb job as of right now. They definitely had the biggest reaction of the afternoon and one of the bigger ones of the evening.

Third) SantaClara shows just how resilient they are with this show.. they could have fallen apart.. tumbled out of finals... and into history.. but they are still right in the thick of things, making it work for them. They are less than 3 points away from the Bluecoats and while I don't think they'll catch them.. they could still pull a 7th place and hold true to their legacy.

Overall I loved the show from start to finish.. yes the drill is much easier than years before and yes with the stark white pants perfection is the only thing that looks good, because any dirt shows up ten-fold and yes the music doesn't always leave you screaming your head off.. but nonetheless SCV still kicks it with this show. The drill during the drumbreak is amazing with the spelling out of 1917, CCCP, and USSR... and I am a HUGE fan of Russian X-mas Music, so naturally I am going to love it. No it's not the greatest closer ever, but it works... so enjoy it. I still love SCV, they are definitely one of my favorite corps... no they won't contend for the top 6 this year.. and with a LOT of work and maybe some luck they can make it to number 7, but this year is a major rebuilding year for them.. so please help them out and make it a bit easier by supporting them for trying to get through it instead of giving up.

San Antonio Afternoon Thoughts:

I did not get to view all of the corps I would have like to have seen (i.e. - Seattle Cascades, Southwind, Troopers, etc.) but I did get to see the majority of them and one thing I definitely noticed in most of them was the "dancing" moves they did. I don't know why almost all of them had to "jam" and "dance" around.. but they did.. and most of the dancing didn't quite fit the show, nor was it clean. I say clean it up or cut it, because it's quite annoying for the 7th time in a row to see a corps do that. For the most part, though, everyone was quite good.. definitely a step up from past years.. hopefully a good indicator of what is to come in future years!

Hope you enjoy.. I'll have the Evening review up shortly.

CloudFuel


Lewisburg, PA (DCA)

Lovely evening in Lewisburg PA, on the campus of Bucknell University...Christy Mathewson stadium. if you don't know who Bucknell is, they're the school that screwed up everyone's NCAA brackets by beating Kansas. packed house...looked like down to the end zone one side 1, at least to the 10 yard line on side 2.

only one complaint about anything from the show comittee...the WORST announcer at any show i can remember in years. The guy has his own agenda and it doesnt involve keeping the show running smoothly. sad too, cause Fran Haring was in the house.

the corps:

Hurcs: 22 brass, 14 guard, 4 snare, 2 tenors, 3 bass, 6 pit...smaller than Reading, esp the battery. 2nd view

Brass intro to the Ten Commandments much improved in the last 2 weeks. Battery entrance also better balanced. the first perc break was better as well, and the horn hits came across better...some very nice use of the field w/segmented staging by voices.

Frankie Machine had a nice swing feel going tonight...the jazz interp was handled well given the visual spreads and also the number of holes still in the drill. nice staging to feature a very active rifle line. Toms nailed their break...snares had a few performance issues...also well done by the guard all on rifles.

brass re-entry had some tentativeness, and the bass drum staging caused some balance brass to perc.

the ballad..pit intro very well done. Only time all night I really noticed them. sabres are behind them doing some nice work to help set the mood, which is then enhanced by the mello soloist framed by the contras. very well done, and the soloist was good. the brass is spread out then condenses into a block for the hit...guards Carolina Blue flags looked great under the lights.

song ends w/pit and mello soloist doing a nice job. good balance musically between the two segments

the National geographic intro w/Mag 7 hits sounded rough...corps was getting tired. well stage perc break led into the Mag 7 push...visually a seriies of block forms led into a company front that the crowd liked.

big improvement in 2 weeks. My concerns are the number of holes cause a lot of form readability issues, and while i realize the show is the Music of Elmer Bernstein, I think they could do more visually to help tie it all together. Also, the pit, at least up in the stands, is a non factor unless they are the featured voice.

6th 73.675

Bush: I liked em in Reading. I liked em more tonight.
42 brass, 23 guard, 6 snares, 3 tenors, 5 bass, 8 pit.

Russlon intro was very strong. low brass especially had some power. pits 16th not runs were well done. Brass 16th note runs also much improved. Impacts came across very well. of special note were the sop trios and the tenor line...and that perc break was so tasty. not a ram, but so well done.

nice use of the backfield for the beginning of Dance of the Buffoons. the guard was very active here on guns, sabres and flags.....very nice and eye catching guard stuff here.

the Russlon restatement was well done with the famous rhythms, then the breaks for the guard to do work in silence. very cool design idea. the company front push into the condensing block with the guard framing the corps is definitely well staged.

the sop solo and vocals in the beginning of 1812 is VERY well done. trust me guys...your voices carry accoustically. pit has some very nice 4 mallet stuff going on underneath to help set the mood. love the low brass entrance while vocal continues. the guard does a lot of free form and body work here that is kind of lost to the viewer...seems like they are trying to be integrated, but the clarity isnt coming thru.

the build to the Romeo hit was very effective...here the guard shines on large yellow/orange flags...the color works well against the corps unis. brass really shined here and the battery book under it helps sell the impact. this fades out w/a sop solost facing backfield and more vocals.

March Slav started off strong and builds back into 1812..the guard and the red flags frame the corps nicely. the brass backfield w/tenors and bass writing is very nice...the corps uses the backfield well. kind of Cavies like. i loved the pit scoring leading up to the big hit...lots of 16th note runs that were well layered and voiced. when we arrive at the hit the oxygen tanks help add to the feel...not quite church bells, but nice touch. the brass here has many sets....rapidly expanding and rotating forms in small counts...lots of what looks to be 4 and 8 count moves. the sops staging for their 1812 moment on side is very cool and helps carry the sound leading to the push to the end..the low brass entrance on side 1 is very cool.

after seeing the recaps and the corps now twice, it seems to me they have two issues that need to be addressed. visual and pit volume. obviously the percussion is doing well on the field...but the pit isnt carrying like other corps upstairs...and i think the ensemble score shows it.

the feet as far as performance looks good til the end. but, the ending looks too cramped up front and while the music screams velocity, i think that being upfront for so long helps make it look like they arent doing a lot. But given the improvement in 2 weeks, i expect they have a plan. ( Jaybo told me they did but i didnt wanna say that officially). this corps is a a few things away from making a jump up in the rankings.

2nd 82.225

Cabs:
38 brass, 17 guard, 7 snares, 4 tenors, 5 bass, 10 pit.

led onto the field by Frank Ponzo and the Bull Call, this corps came out VASTLY improved over 2 weeks ago in many areas.

with some holes filled in, the opening brass move looks a lot better...nice use of backfield playing, with periodic turns to the front to accentuate certain parts of the music. percussion does a really nice job with the middle eastern feel here, and percussion to brass balance A LOT better. the soprano feature came across much better and the 2 sabres featured in front of them looked good. the mello feature is staged towards center field and didnt carry as well. the percussion was then featured...each section had their moment in the sun then a full ensemble feature. at the tempo change, to me, there seemed to be some tension musically...it felt like the ensemble was just on the edge and uneasy. in particular, the brass seemed to be struggling at the fastest tempos. the comfortable factor just hasn't se it in yet.

the pit sets the stage for the next song...brass did well facing backfield on the accellerondo, and this built into a company front push with multi foot meters done by voice and guard all on weapons. at the tempo change the percussion is again featured...the brass is behind them doing many moves based on the 50 yard that is very eye catching if you sit high enough. the perc break has several small groups of 2/3 battery players each having a moment, moving a lot and playing serious notes....this builds to a full ensemble hit as the brass charges front playing union hits to accent the drum book, ending in a company front on the sideline. tempos here felt uneasy on some of the unison hits.

from here the tempo slows...sop solo upfront on side 1, pit doing a lot of 4 mallet work undernath, and handled well. this buils to a hit that really shows off some nice sound quality and volume from the brass line.

Pit then sets the transition into the closer....if you wanted to hear a Middle eastern verion of the Rumps, this is your chance, and its written well, tho performance is still a touch shakey. the company front push leads into a block that charges front to end the show.

BIG improvement in 2 weeks. the biggest issues now are filling the last few holes, and ensemble cohesion. It seems that the brass in particular is having issues at 160 or faster. pit also seemed unsteady tempo wise tonight, and the battery loves to be faster, and feels at times if they are pushing. it's gotta be difficult to hold back.

by finals, I expect the finished product to be even more improved.

5th 77.788

Bucs:
2nd viewing 59/60 brass, 9 snares, 5 tenors, 5 bass, 6 cymbals, 11 pit, 32 guard

brass/pit intro to Farandole cut like a knife. battery entrance up front was really strong yet didnt overpower. at the tempo change, again i couldn't take my eyes off the cymbal line who sets the pulse for the entire corps.

rant on: if you see this corps, you HAVE to see this cymbal line. Steve Regner has created his masterpiece. not just a visual treat but you name a marching cymbal technique and they do it. and do it well.

rant off:

at the tempo change the percussion has a tasty break which leads into the brass trading the melody side to side. low brass is featured next, sharing time w/the snares then the basses. this leads to a silent guard moment that is well staged. the corps builds a block into a box pass thru and ends in a high mark time. corps is doing really well.

Adagio....4 mallets pit work w/laterals...so well done. this pit has floored me tonight. the depth of the scoring, and the technical proficiency is the best I have seen in a DCA pit since Bucs 98.

mellos and baris start the number off on side 1. the sops enter on side 2 facing the side 1 end zone for a nice effect. guard is well integrated here w/curved poles and the flags are many shades of purple...eye catching stuff. there are many meters going on in the feet here as well as a lot of guard body work and emoting to help add to the build. the brass slowly builds into a solid form on side 2 and the guard takes over side 1...and when the hit arrives, it arrives big! the volume keeps growing and growing and the release will echo so nicely in Scranton...i can hear it now.

the corps fades out, and the battery enters from the back of side 2, storming front to lead into the Britten piece. Here the percussion is featured as an ensemble a lot, as well as each section gets their licks in. There's a lot of movement and some cool body work by the battery. not 100% clean yet, but when it is, look out. the brass re-entry was very strong and driving.

the pit set up the intro to Young Persons. the brass especially did a nice job here with rise and falls in the dyanmics....i hope they got credit for it. the sabres were also very effective up front...kind of a show within a show. the layering of voices building to the perc break had some muddiness. the pit started the feature off strongly and the battery entrance was well staged. from here you have the sops and the snares, the mid voices and the tenors and the low brass and the basses all having their moments..well staged and seamless ensembally. However the multi meter section had some issues tonight...especially in the upper brass. pit line however cut like aknife. from here the guard is on a loud yellow flag framing the corps.

only thing I saw that really needed work was the multi meter section. it seemed the brass had difficulty recovering until right before the end. if this gets fixed( it was better at Reading) and if they add volume to this section, look out, throw the burning babies.

1st, 87.363

Brigs:
1st viewing...13 pit, 7 snares, 3 tenors, 5 basses, 58 brass, 21 guard

welcome back to Bucknell Trevor. Hope ya heard me yell "welcome home"

cool taxi like flags for the guard in Taxi Driver. Pit attired in evening wear, guard very NY themed in attire. Scott Stansfield does a great job opening the show w/a bluesy sop solo, with some really nice pit jazz vamping underneath. The big hit showcases the corps in a standstill showing some chops...very well scored and voiced. this leads to a push forward really showing off the leads who go for the stratosphere and succeeding. this corps feels the jazz well.

the tempo picks up w/orange Colored Sky, featuring the pit and a small brass ensemble gving us that jazz combo feel.the corps adds unsion hits behind them for a nice effect. the guard is well integrated for the next hit, which leads into a nice low brass feature, and this builds to a nice big jazzy ending, tho i noticed some minor tempo pulling out there.

Round Midnight starts off with the pit, with corps doing some body and drill behind them for a nice effect. The guard does some nice dance and body stuff as well helping to sell the mood. well done rife feature builds to the hit which really shows off the Brigs power. the guard here is on big lime green and blue flags which look great against the corps proper unis. as the songs fades out, a sop solost plays backfield as the corps segues into Baroque Samba, played backfield for a nice effect. here a rifle duet is featured up front.

as the corps kicks up the tempo, the pit does a nice job using latin toys to create a samba feel. as the corps goes into the drum break, a lot of guard integreation is noticed and is staged well. battery seemed to have some performance issues here, and, IMO, from here on out the show lost drive. as the brass re-enters, there was a nice move pulling away from the stands, but it didnt feel as powerful as it looked like it should. the corps charged to the end in a series of exapnding and condensing blocks.

ok, 1st view, I am sure I missed stuff. the corps interprets the jazz feels well, especially the pit. to me, the battery was a non factor all night. the ending seemed down....it's early I know, but to me they had a ton of momentum going, and after the drum break they lost it and didnt connect as well with the crowd. my only other concern is the show seemed to be pretty even pace wise...if tempo boosts are coming, this could help.

3rd, 83.05

Empire:
1st official view, did catch run thru at rehearsal.
7 snares, 2 tenors, 5 bass, 3 cymbals, 6 pit, 50 brass, 25 guard

Where in The World Statesmen style. this is the story of Carmen and Boris, a nice little spy game set in 1948. I liked the idea of the signs on the podium to help tell the story

show begins with the low brass playing backfield...upper registers enter for a nice effect as the guard does some nice body work. the battery enters as the drill begins and the Cuba backdrop helped set the mood. Kentons Artistry in Ryhthm kicks in at the tempo change and shows the power of the corps. The corps moves into Cuban Fire ( i think) with a nice brass quartet and a nicely staged guard w/yellow flags that catch the eye. from here the show stealers were Joey Pero, John Arientano and Ritchee Price just squealing away. a show within a show, yet not distracting. the percussion is then featured, and if you watch closely the snares do some really cool stuff with ghost notes...it looks really cool. this led to a charging finish with a lot of movement and some really powerful brass.

the corps goes into Got YOu Under My skin with Ritchee Price way up there, then Joey and John have a really well done lower register duet. Here the dance duet from the main guard characters helps thestory along nicely. For the hit the guard is well integrated w/purple/white flags. the tempo picks up and leads into a swing feel that is well interpreted. the corps is in a block that moves away from the crowd, yet gains power the further back it goes...nice effect. this leads to a cool park and bark and Ritchee is just going nuts up front. as the song builds to the end, some really nice bass drum work is featured off on side 2. the corps just kind of meanders up front ( think BD 96) as they just let loose, especially the sop trio.

the pit starts off the next tune as we set off to Moscow in the chase. musically you feel suspense to highlight the chase, tho visually, i lost the characters telling the story. the percussion is then featured...toms have an extended break that started good but had some issues at the end. lot of demanding stuff there. the snares are then featured leading into a full battery break that was well done( needs more paradiddles guys..inside joke not meant as an insult. Patsy will laugh i know)

Joey solos back into Atristry in Rhythm with a nice bass drum feature after it. the corps goes to a big hit and the guard has some nice orange flags that can be very attention getting. Musically we have a huge big slow push that then picks up in tempo as the corps again heads for the sideline, tho in more of an all out charge.

I really like the concept. However, in the 2nd half, i felt that the signs on the podium and the backdrops didnt always line up to help tell the story. I also felt that in the 2nd half, i lost the characters a lot. the sop squealers will draw huge cheers every week, especially Ritchee. I felt that while the battery was very strong, the pit wasn't, and, IMO, i didnt notice them much all evening. Sadly I wont see this again til prelims, and i'd love to see the further refinement. I also felt towards the end, some 'oomph" was missing that could have affected their score.

solid 2nd, 84.963

now, for the corps that owned the crowd. the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni.

I'll be honest, I didn't count bodies. Ponzo nailed the bull call, and the corps came charging out to that legendary street beat. The corps began the performance on I think the 10 and kicked off w/Espana Cani. as Jimmy led the corps across the field, the first real jumping up and down standing O lit the stadium up, and the corps fed off of it. wanna talk form readability? the whole way across the field until they broke off into squads, you had perfect 8 to 5...every foot hit every yard line at the same time. Frank, Duke and Steve hit the famous trio leading to the company front push.

up next was a well performed drum break. I know in the past i have raved about Sky Alumni's snare line, but these guys are no slouches either. very crisp and clean on plastic heads. this led into El Barrio w/a nice bari solo featured in the beginning. Jimmy conducted from the stands, and the corps powered to the end again led by a Ponzo solo.

>From here the corps set up for concert, featuring McArthur Park. Very well performed, and the flags had some cool old style guard work going on behind the corps. solos? Frank nailed his as well as Steve.

Coming out of concert, the corps again featured the percussion. This led into Flamenco Cha Cha, and man, when they hit the company front push/Color pre, did the crowd erupt. this was followed by another drum break featuring backsticking, drum to drum and a lot of singles. serious old school drumming that the crowd ate up.

The corps then headed off to the finish line playing Samba De Orpheus. Oh the memoires of listening to Dad's 8 tracks. When the corps turned around to finish up, they knew they owned the crowd. they kicked into the famous Espana Cani ending. But they werent done yet...as they trooped the stands, they stopped to play Cherry Pink, and wow....was Ponzo on.

ok, look...i drop Ponzo's name a lot. Part of it is because if you have read over the years, i owe him a brewerys worth of beer. But it's also because the man is that #### good, as well as being a great friend. Special props to him...when he pointed up to Christine and I in the stands, I felt like Courtney Cox in the Springsteen video. Christine smiled mrroe than when I proposed.

Frank you made my night...and you made her week. Now I owe ya more.

this corps owned the crowd. seriously...as good to great as all the competing corps were, Bucknell and the Cabs go way back, and the love affair has not died.

fun retreat, tho i was stunned when i saw Empire's guard run thru Bucs guard. I am sure it was a congratulations of some type, but it looked odd and many people standing around me watching were very stunned. Bucs...nice victory run....but please, find a way to get the battery more visible. pit...play the show like you did the VC. that was serious attitude.

there you have it. expect to see the censored version in DCW soon...i dont need any letters of complaint or feel the need to publish any apologies.

rumors of future DCI shows to be held there...I hope they dont jack up the prices. another rumor of returning the regional to Bucknell...that'd be cool.

Jeff


Thursday July 21

Dallas, TX (DCI)

Tonightís show was a hot one. . .and I am not only talking about the corps. We were under a heat advisory today and the entire night, all the way up close to 11 it felt like 90+ to me.

Anyway, the stadium was packed, as it always is here in Dallas. We had great seats on the 45 and up near the top.

On to the show:

SOUTHWIND: This is a much better show for them than last yearís Mummy. I did not expect so much musically. From the title, "A Distorted Imagination", I was expecting the typical Poulan kind of stuff, but this show was very melodic and provides a great vehicle for Southwind. There is still quite a bit of visual dirt for them, but not as much as last summer at this time as I remember. The kids I brought thought this one was one of the more entertaining shows of the night.

COLTS: I enjoyed the show, especially musically. I really like the "tributes" to Cadets 96 and Phantom 93. They had some really nice arrangements. The infamous postcards were finally in tonight (maybe for the first time?) Anyway, they were a major letdown for me. . .not effective at all. I wish they had designed them in a way to not reveal them until it was time for each postcard. As they are now, you can see all 4 the entire show just kind of laying on the field. Nice show, but lots of cleaning to be done.

CAPITAL REGIMENT: Sad to say that the hype machine for this corps was way off base. I am not sure what went wrong but IMO the corps, regardless of talent level has been given an inferior show to perform. It just does not work for me at all. The kids are working hard to sell it, you can tell. . .but the design of the show is really holding them back.

GLASSMEN: This is by far their most entertaining show ever, but in terms of talent you can tell this corps still has a ways to go to get back to their top 5 form. I really enjoyed the feel of the arrangements as they took New World into a. . .well. . .new world, hehe. It was nice to hear and see, but still some major dirt in spots. Though they may be a finalist corps this year, it was clear they were not in the same league as BK.

BLUE KNIGHTS: Why is this corps not given the props they deserve?!! They really blew me away tonight. I felt tonight like I did for them in 2000 (when they should have been in 5th hehe). This was a solid drum corps from top to bottom. The hornline does not open up volume wise like I would enjoy, but they are very very tight. The guard and percussion are strong, and the visual flow of the show is wonderful. I wish this corps got more respect than it does. They really deserve it, and their score being so close to SCV was no joke tonight. I am sure many of you are already crying foul about that one, but I was there and it was well deserved. Go BK!

CAROLINA CROWN: This was a great show. . .solid in all areas. This is by far their best hornline, and the guard is quite strong as well. The staff there really seems to be finding their niche in terms of design. You can tell the show was well thought out in terms of difficulty in fitting their personnel. My only complaint is the lack of color in the show. They use the same flag half the show, and during that beautiful ballad not one flag is used. They dance the entire ballad! It was nice, but I was just dying to see some color to go with that beautiful brass sound. Anyway, very nice show. . .I see it staying in the middle and not pushing beyond 6th-7th.

BLUECOATS: Believe the hype. They are solid across the board. I donít think this is their best show ever, but they have got to be loaded with talent for sure. This show has the goods to crack into the top 4. We soon shall see if they can accomplish that.

BLUE DEVILS: This one is hard to describe for me. There were several moments in the show where I was like "WOW!" But when it was done, I didnít feel like I had seen a complete package. I am not sure if it is the guy talking throughout the show or that the flow was not there with the choppy arrangements or what. They are one heck of a corps that means business the moment they step foot on the field. They took command from the first note. But, I just feel like something in the design is not there. I wish I could put my finger on it.

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: I think I was most anticipating seeing SCV tonight more than any other corps. I was interested to see if they had fixed their transitions into RCM and solidified it as a closer. I wanted to see if this really was a down year for them. I really think the music has been fixed. There were several wonderful impact points. RCM, IMO works very well now to close the show. The problem for SCV is mainly in the visual department. The drill is not the typical SCV greatness that we are used to, and the execution is way down. There was much more dirt than I am used to seeing from them in late July. Then the guard. . .I was really let down. The work is just very amateurish. I hate to sound critical, but it does. The guard was just a real visual downer for me. BK being so close to them tonight was no joke. I knew Crown had beat them easily, and wondered how close BK might be. Flat out, SCV will have to claw and scratch their way back into the thick of the middle pack. Right now, it seems the middle pack has SCV in their rear views.

Thatís it folks. Hope you enjoyed it. I will write another one after San Antonio.

TXMystreaux


Tuesday July 19

Pascagoula, MS (DCI)

It was a hot hot hot night in Pascagoula. The decent sized crowd only made it hotter in the stands, but it was hotter on the field.. more on that later!

MEMPHIS SOUND, 72.10 - I didn't get to see Memphis, sorry.

TEAL SOUND, 74.75 - I watched parts of the hornline warmup before the show, and whoa was I impressed. They have a full, and dare I say loud sound. I was not expecting that. Very well done. I didn't get to see the show but I talked to a couple members from Teal Sound afterward and they all seemed extremely happy with their show tonight.

THE MAGIC, 72.00 - I listened to their hornline warmup before the show. They have a nice sound, I just think they need more work as an ensemble. A lot of individuals sticking out.. and I even heard a couple of wrong notes. Now, it WAS only warmup, but I just think they are better than that. Maybe just a bad night in warmup but I think it reflected in their show tonight. I liked them better in Orlando.

SOUTHWIND, 73.25 - Ok, Where did you guys come from? Wow Wow. The guard is fantastic. The hornline had a great sound. I love the show. Wow all around.

SPIRIT, 77.90 - Love the concept of the show. Wicked (the closer) is my favorite, but you can definitely tell the corp was loosing steam towards the end. If they can work up some endurance they will definitely make some other corps sweat.

CAROLINA CROWN, 81.95 - LOUD. The opening statement was niiiiiiice. In the past few years... (IMO) they havent had a strong high brass section. Well this year I withdraw that opinion. They were on fire tonight. Definitely going to be a favorite show of mine. The angel wings by the guard in the closer were ok at first.. but ended up being a little overdrawn, and frankly a little overdone. Still, you sold it to me.

MADISON SCOUTS, 86.80 - Earlier I mentioned that it was hotter on the field than it was in the stands... MADISON IS HOT THIS YEAR! I haven't been a fan of Madison for the last few years, but times are changing. I absolutely love this show. The music is great, with a Madison twist. Rumor had it early on in the season that Madison had a GIRL on the field this year. As the show went on, I had yet to see her. When I least expected it, she just APPEARED in the middle of the field. Very cool!!! They do a west side story skit and kill her. The drama is there, I love it. There is a lick the hornline makes in the 2nd tune i think that slaps you in the face. Pure power.. and speaking of power, the power chord at the end of the show will either knock you back or make you jump off your seat cheering. The 16th note runs were solid. The drill moves. If they get to work.. I think they could do major damage in August.

It was a nice night for drum corps. Maybe it will be cooler in Murfreesboro. I'll be back after then.

Justin Moore


Monday July 18

Alton, IL (DCI)

Ok, I will give my quick thoughts on the show....before I do so, I MUST give a disclaimer....I have been on tour for a month and a half, this is the first show "MY" corps has not been at and as much as I TRY to be impartial, I know I am not 100% that way. I also just finished my first day with my new high school band camp and ALL the corps looked great compared to some of the new marchers I witnessed this afternoon at my high school. OK, now my thoughts!

Oregon Crusaders- I actually liked their show, I think their music book is good, I think they had moments in their show that were VERY well written (opener and final bit of the closer) At times it seemed too hard for the corps, but I was overall pleseantly suprised.

Blue Stars- The middle movement actually had me a little nervous. But in a good way! The guard is selling it well in my opinion. I think maybe they do have some genuinely scary (as in capable of hurting someone) people in the guard. All kidding aside, I DID like the second movement, everything else I was a little dissapointed in the drill. Way too dirty, did they get new re-writes? Good sound when standing still. I might have overhyped myself for their performance because they hold camps at my old high school and I know a lot of the staff.

Pioneer- Ok, I had a chance to work with them for a few months during the winter. I said it then and Ill say it now....this is a GREAT show for this corps. They are having issues visually which in part is hurting their musical scores. If they can clean it, and the judges give them the credit, I think there is an outside chance they could get REAL close or even pass up Magic (I dont mean to offend, my opinion only). You can definatley tell which section this show was written for.

Cap Reg- Nice show, need to work the transitions with the sun-dial prop, there are some sets that SHOULD be timing nightmares, but somehow they are not! Im proud of what these guys have been doing year in and year out.

Colts- OK, I have been DYING to see this show simply for the fact that they are SO close to Spirit who I have been working with. I must say, I like the show! I think the Brass is good, I think the Colorguard is good, I didnt notice the drumline much, so that means to me they werent bad, yet they didnt do anything to draw my attention to them either. I think visually they are pretty clean, but there is not a lot of demand in the package. I was coming in to the night with a negative approach to their show, and they successfully changed that for me, good job colts!

BD- Yeah, I called the score half way through the show! I called 87.5 so I was close. This is a nice show. I havent seen Phantom or Madison yet this year, but I think that Cadets and BD will be fighting for the top spot. The only way I can summerize this show is if you saw the show "point Pleasent" (which not many have since it got cancelled before the first season was over) It is a dance competition and it is very tastefully done. Every year I try to figure out whose drill I like more, BD or Cavies....this year I do not know! Well written! Nice use of the cot props on the front of the field (my band students were jealous, they wanna sit down in the show and play). I actually like the use of the voice in the show. I dont think it is overdone. Took me a bit to figure out WHO was speaking. Another GREAT BD show!

THESE VIEWS ARE MY OWN AND IF YOU DONT AGREE......WRITE YOUR OWN REVIEW!!!! I HAVENT SEEN ENOUGH REVIEWS THIS YEAR ON HERE!

I think there are a lot of great shows this year! this activity is awesome.....now I need to go to bed so I can teach my woodwinds how to slide without sacrificing upper body control!

Darren Dukart


Oxford, AL (DCI)

So, this is my first review, so bare with me. I didn't take notes as I didn't want that distracting from enjoying the experience. So, this will be general thoughts about what I remember from last night after very little sleep.

First, the stadium: It was at Oxford, HS b/c JSU stadium is under some construction I believe. It was conveniently located just off I-20 which for those of us driving the 1 1/2 hour drive from Atlanta, this was nice! It was a concrete stadium that absorbed the 95 degree heat from the afternoon and it felt like we were in an oven the entire show with NO breeze. What we'll go through to watch this activity

Overall impressions: The judges seemed very tight tonight with many corps seeing a drop in score from their previous performance.... some had a large drop (Corpsvets and Teal Sound). Crowd was large and pretty responsive, I think the heat and humidity took a lot out of some people. It was also a respectful crowd, except for one group (read below).

On to the corps....

First up, Alliance, Sr.: Wait, you ask, they weren't on the schedule, we're they? Not on the field, but I had about 10 or so members sitting behind me to provide me with my first impression of this first year senior corps out of Georgia. You would think members of a corps would know more about crowd etiquette, but not necessarily true. I found it very annoying that they talked through almost every performance. They also decided to make fun of something about every corps.... whether it be their colorguard uniforms, corps uniforms, hats, sound, lack of sound, drill moves, colorguard drops.... etc. I also found it interesting that they thought they were experts on the activity.... (Magic is Div I not Div II, the hats on Southwind's colorguard are distorted hence the Distorted Imagination theme...) Sorry... Rant over

Corpsvets, Sr.: I first saw them at Powder Springs and I must say they have shown a lot of improvement. However, they still have a lot of work to do in most aspects of their show. Colorguard still had unfinished drill and there were some timing issues. I also don't like the purple and pink cards.... I think it is going to be very tough to get everyone to be together flipping those things around. Score: 63.1, I would say about right

Before I begin on Div. II, let me first say that I haven't seen many Div. II corps before, and my expectations weren't that high....

Teal Sound, Div. II: WOW!! These guys and girls were on fire, literally!!! Their program has a fire theme and they blew me away. You can tell they have been practicing very hard. Their drill was very difficult yet very well executed. They music book sounded tough, and sounded great. I was most impressed with the colorguard. I felt they did more equipment work than some Div. I corps. There were always rifles, sabres, and flags out there. They executed very well (especially that one boy!!) They had very little dance, which I liked. Loved those unis too, they were orange and red with flames on them. Great show... watch for them at Div. II/Div. III Finals this year.... they might be up there with Spartans and ECJ...... sidenote, I don't know how they didn't get distracted by that huge military plane that was flying sooooo low off just by the stadium, I know the crowd was.
Score: 72.5, Well down from the previous score of 80ish and I felt ridiculous. These guys and girls were better than 72.5... I'm not sure what the judges were smoking.

Memphis Sound, Div II: I don't remember too much of this show. I didn't think it should have scored as close to Teal Sound as it did and the Colorguard did a lot more dancing and less equipment work than their competition. Still very impressed with the sound though!
Score: 71.85, I agree with the score, but I don't think they were that close to Teal who should have been much higher

Magic, Div I: To start, its always exciting to be sitting near family of a corps member who is performing, you can just see the pride in their eyes! I was expecting less from this corps since they are about 20th overall. They had a lot of sound, and a few big hits. Their ballad was interesting with very little drill movement and all dance from the guard.... several minutes with no equipment on the field. I wasn't a fan of the bamboo sticks. In larger stadiums, they may be hard to see.... they need something shiny IMO.
Score: 71.2, What I expected. I am surprised they are in the 19-21 placement range.... the talent level must be real high this year. This seemed like a semi-finalist corps for sure, but we'll see!

Southwind, Div I: To all the fans who got up to grab a bite to eat and beat the intermission crowd... you missed a fantastic and very entertaining show. The last time I saw Southwind was two years ago and it was very early in the season. I had read a lot of hype about them this year and they didn't disappoint. I love the chanting section and they had a lot of GE. The uniforms and hats were very effective and I like the Colorguard unis as well.
Score: 73.45, I thought it would be a little higher, but as mentioned earlier, the judges were tight. They should definitly make semis with this show.... I would be very disappointed if they didn't.

INTERMISSION: Long and hot, I give it a bad score LOL

Boston, Div I: I saw them at Powder Springs and felt a little empty after the show.... well, I didn't last night. This show rocked!! They have many impact points and great sound. The music was beautiful and the colorguard mixes well.... I love those shiny flags! I think I saw one of their members tossing 12s in the parking lot, OH MY! The one thing holding them back from mixing it up with Bluecoats and Phantom is the lack of difficulty and WOW factor with their drill... a little safe if you ask me.
Score: 83.15, about right I guess. This was my favorite of the night as I just loved the music. The home crowd in Boston is going to go wild, I can't wait!

Bluecoats, Div I: First viewing, and I was very anxious with all the hype. They have definitly stepped up their performance level this year. Great sound, great drill, harder than BAC, and a fantastic colorguard. I wasn't a huge fan of the rapping from the one guy in the pit, but I really liked it from the rest of the corps on the field..... however, I don't think it would have had the same effect if you didn't have the solo rapper in the pit answered by the full corps. Loved the silent drill w/ the colorguard and really like using the entire field. Drumline seemed to live up to their hype.
Score: 85.45, Boston might be able to close in some. Blue has a tougher drill, but Boston really sells their show.

Madison Scouts, Div I: First viewing, and same as Bluecoats, anxious from the hype! I told myself to not focus on Carmen as I have read so many people have.... and I didn't. She did look great out there, and fits so well into this show. The drill was a huge step up from Madison this year, and they executed pretty well. One member fell during a cross through, but other than that, it was a very effective move. Colorguard is great, and love the unis! The whistling fits SO well into the show, and don't thing it is distracting at all. Its loud, and has a huge impact. So.... the ending..... I keep reading that people think its lacking. Well, it is. There is a lot of sound but too much standstill. One other thing is missing in the show, traditional the fleur de le (sp?). Haven't they done this in every show of theirs in some way or another?? Well... my friend has a hunch that they are working on a new ending to the show and this is what will be added.... I think he is right, and I think it will come off huge with the crowd if they do.
Score: 86.55, I guess about right. I'm not sure if they will win it all, but I can see them placing 2nd if the rest don't watch out!

Spirit from JSU: Home crowd was pretty responsive to them. I saw them at Powder Springs, and they are much approved, love the colorguard unis! Not a fan of props, and don't like theirs. I want to see the guard constantly using equipment and wowing me.... holding a prop and not moving doesn't do it. I think this show is a little amateurish for this group..... they can do better. I'm afraid the drill design and theme may keep them from making finals in this very competitive year.... I see them finishing 13th... and hate to say it. (Please note I haven't seen Colts, Crossmen, Mandarins, or Blue Knights.... so I'm not sure how they match up). I counted 7 snares during the show, but only 6 during the encore.... I could have miss counted during the show.... but thought I'd throw that out there for those of you wondering if they really only have 6 snares this year.
Score: 78, I actually thought it should have been slightly lower compared to their competition's scores.

America/O'Canada: Spirit and Madison... sounded great. Encore: Spirit.... sorry, but had a long drive back to Atlanta, so had to leave.

WOW.... sorry this got soooo long! Thanks for reading!

chadwick


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