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 Post subject: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:40 pm 
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In order from bottom to top..........
But before we start, can someone tell the Georgia Dome people to TURN OFF THE A/C. We froze in the Dome. People were wrapped in blankets. At least we weren't hot but come on....we were in a climate controlled environment.

CASCADES - Beyond the Forest
It's always nice to have a corps come back from being inactive. Welcome back to the Cascades.
Good work for basically a new corps. The show concept is solid but needed a little further development (if you have to have a theme). Musically they had some very nice moments. The drill was accessible but not as clean as it should be with 2 weeks left in the season. That being said, I applaud Cascades effort this year and look forward to seeing them again in Indianapolis.

PIONEER - Celtic Trinity (Irish - What else!)
Last year Pioneer had a very entertaining program but a weak horn line. The have made a good effort with the horn line. The sounds is much better - more full. The drill is ok but not very difficult. That being said they need some work on cleaning up some obvious "bad drill execution" moments. I continue to be a strong supporter of Pioneer. They have not placed well in the last few years but continue to make the effort. Congrats to their 2009 effort.

JERSEY SURF - Mozart Effect
When I red the music for this year's edition of Surf, I thought I was seeing things! Mozart from the group that gave us Elvis just a few years ago. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with this show. The arrangements have a 2009 feel to some very classy music. I am very fond of Mozart's Lacrimosa from Requiem having sung it several times. Their 2009 version although not the original, was very good. This is one of the "entertaining" shows and is a "Don't Miss" in Indianapolis.

PACIFIC CREST - El Corazon de la Gente: Alegria, Amor, y Fuerte
I used my trusty translator to translate the title of this show. But something isn't right with the last word. This is what I got when translating it..."The Heart of People: Joy, Love, and Hard". Hard?
Anyway, I saw Pacific Crest in their first show in Walnut, California. As expected, the Atlanta version was much improved. They have infused a high level of energy into this show. I personally like this show much better than last years, but I am not sure individual judges would agree with me.

MANDARINS - Absolute
Every year I am impressed with the selections (difficulty) of music and the drill that Mandarins perform. This year is no exception. Having also seen them early in the season at Walnut, CA, I noticed there great improvement. I don't understand what it is that judges see or don't see in Mandarins show. I have a gut feeling that part of the problem is that they are not a full corps being a little smaller than other World Class corps. That should have no baring on their scores. But alas, judges are human as am I.
As for the 2009 Mandarins it is terrific. The first sound off the line is Festive Overture performed extremely well. This years production for me is much more exciting and thrilling. Make sure you get to the venue in time to see the 2009 Mandarins.

CROSSMEN - Forbidden
For me, this show misses the mark. It has some good moments connected by mediocre moments. The caps in the beginning get your attention but I found that my attention was lost 2 or 3 minutes into the show. I expect to see some minor changes between now and Indianapolis but hope it is not to late to "grab our attention". Please remember that this is my opinion and there are most likely many others who felt the opposite as I.

SPIRIT - Live....In Concert
With what I had heard about Spirit's show this year, I was expecting to be disappointed. I was not. There is a very high energy level to this show. The electronic base did not bother me. There was one narration moment that was completely lost in the Georgia Dome. This brings up the point, since finals are in another dome, GET RID OF THE NARRATION. If you can't hear it or understand it is sure isn't helping your performance. Spirit this year has a great horn line and the music has been arranged to show them off. Nice drill, well performed. This show has possibilities of moving up.

MADISON SCOUTS - El Relampago (Translation - The Lightning) :(
Madison has always been one of my favorites. Even though they were the first, and one of the few, corps to receive a standing ovation after their performance I'm not sure it was deserved. The marching is VERY messy. If you are going to use straight lines in your formations, make sure they are straight! I truly believe the standing ovation was for energy, movement, and reputation. I still like the show and wish them well, but they are in jeopardy of finding themselves done after Thursday night's quaterfinals. Crossmen, Spirit, and Pacific Crest can easily catch the Scouts if major improvement doesn't happen. Actually, Mandarins could catch them too if for no other reason than being clean!

THE ACADEMY - The Ascent
Academy is continuing their ascent into the upper levels of DCI World Class. The 2009 edition is making a big mark. Musically they are very sound, no pun intended. But I have always felt that of Academy. But they have put together a drill and concept to go with this sound. IMHO, don't be surprised to see Academy playing on finals night. The show has that much potential.

COLTS - Fathoms
I had read earlier this year that, "The Colts show for 2009 is so esoteric that it is over the head of the average fan." I don't remember who wrote that comment but I'm not sure what they were watching. I found this show to be one of the better "concept" shows. The music is well performed and the drill well executed. The Colts Color Guard is always a joy to watch not only because of design but also execution. This could very well be a solid top 12 show.

THE TROOPERS - Western Side Story
West Side Story meets Clint Eastwood!
Very enjoyable. I am glad to see The Troopers back in the hunt although I feel that they have lost some of their "Trooperness" to get there. This show is well performed, marching and playing. I am not sure there is much "cleaning" that needs to be done which worries me since the corps right below them could clean and pass.

GLASSMEN - The Journey of One
New uniforms, new TALL plumes.......but this show did not work for me. It is well done but for me I found it lacking in depth and excitement. I appreciate the hard work of the corps members but for me this "One" misses the mark.

BLUE KNIGHTS - Shiver: A winter in Colorado
The past few years, The Blue Knights have had a "dark side" to their show designs. Not this year! AA really nice show which I enjoyed very much. The "concept" of the show was well developed with regards to music, color guard equipment, color of flags and outfits....everything. I have to admit that BK has not been one of my favorites in years past. I remember many years ago, some rude people referred to BK as the "Hot Dog" corps. Most of you know what this means, if not send me a pm. But the 2009 Blue Knights are a must see.

BLUE STARS - Factory
This might very well be one of my favorite shows of the year. I usually have a problem embracing "original music" but not so with the 2009 Blue Stars. A great total show! I wish they were scoring higher but I am sure the judges know what they are doing. But for entertainment value, this is a real keeper!

BOSTON CRUSADERS - The Core of Temptation
WOW! Great show. I can see why Boston is making a mid/late season move up. This show has great impact. The Music score is very nice and the drill is of a high level. And "Eve" is a real treat for the eyes!

PHANTOM REGIMENT - The Red Violin
How do you top Spartacus? The answer is you don't - especially with this show. HOWEVER....I really liked the Red Violin. If you forget about the emotion and impact of last years show you will enjoy The Regiment much more this year. Musically......pure Phantom. Exquisite. The drill.......very good but not the caliber of the last couple of years. The overall visual is awesome. Let yourself be pulled in by the romance of this show. Don't expect high drama like last year, expect a high quality romantic musical experience. GREAT SHOW!

BLUECOATS - Imagine
Imagine flying pigs. Imagine a beautiful blue sky with white clouds. Imagine the Bluecoats. This is a very fanciful show with great visual impact. The drill is designed well and performed well. Watch for all the costume/uniform changes. Nice show. However, this show may have peeked. I see Boston and Phantom catching Bluecoats by finals night.

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD - Ballet for Martha
Oh my goodness! What a wonderful show. How can you go wrong with Aaron Copeland and the Vanguard. This is a "class" show. I saw it in the early season in Walnut, CA and knew I would like it. It has gotten even better. Look for the Vanguard to make some people nervous at the top.

HOLY NAME CADETS - West Side Story: Celebration and Conflict
Ok...let's just be frank and honest. It is assumed that George got tired of the criticism for all the narration and story telling of the last few years. George really knows how to push the limits (such as the ABC's of Modern American Music, which is still one of my favorite all time shows). I have to admit, I was one who was critical of all the narration of the last few years. So he comes the Cadets in 2009 with West Side Story, again. I think it may be time to give Maria a rest...................
However, this is an awesome show. The Cadets can always march the heck out of a field and this year is no exception. Musically - well let's just say it's The Cadets we all remember. I personally have them ahead of The Cavaliers and the Blue Devils. But alas, I am not on the judging staff! Don't miss The Cadets 2009.

CAROLINA CROWN - The Grass is Always Greener"
I heard someone refer to Carolina Crown as the new Star of Indiana. This was meant as a compliment and I might have to agree. CLASS CLASS CLASS CLASS CLASS! What a magnificent show. The musical book is incredible, as was last years. The marching is truly awesome. The total affect is a show that be the winner in Indianapolis. How can you go wrong with Aaron Copeland, Somewhere over the Rainbow, Bernstein, and Carolina Crown.

THE CAVALIERS - The Great Divide
If you have seen the Cavies in the past few years you have seen them this year. By that I mean that they are sticking to a proven concept. The show looks very similar in total effect to many of their last shows. Yes the music is different but there is just something familiar about this show. It is an excellent show and well performed but I'm ready for some Cavalier Fresh Excitement. But what do I know....the judges sure love it.

BLUE DEVILS - 1930
yada yada yada..........same old same old. Yes they are clean. Yes the drill is great. But.........I can't put my finger on it but it just doesn't "light my cigar". They have made some great improvements from the earlier this year and they work. The show is solid, but to be honest what most people remember about this show is the chairs, not the music, not the drill, not the guard.......CHAIRS! But is is working. Can't complain about being Number 1 !

It MUST be understood, that I in no way mean this statements to offend anyone. Having had a son march, I appreciate everyone one of these exceptional young people and applaud their hard work and effort. My comments should not be taken as a "slam" on anyone or any corps. They are my opinions and feelings having seen all of them perform in the frigid environment known as The Georgia Dome.

Enjoy. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Thanks BigMo. I appreciate your take on things very much. Excellent job.


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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:30 pm 
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Good review. I agree with just about all of your assessments.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:32 pm 
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Thanks for the review!

Lucas Oil has a retractable roof, so it may not be a dome on August 8th. We'll see. Chances are though the roof will be closed.

I used to live near Walnut Creek California.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Thanks for your review!

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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:05 am 
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I agree with many of your thoughts. Here is a quick review from my perspective. It was a couple days ago, so this is what I remember.


I went with a rather large group, 12 of us total, one being a DCI newbie which is always fun. He absolutely loved it and can't wait to go again next year. We missed the first several corps though...some of the crew isn't as die-hard and 4pm-1130pm is just too much.


Madison
I see why they are placing where they are. The drill is dirty and the guard is dirty. Enjoyable show, but I see this placing 17th.

Spirit
We all have a good friend that is one of their instructors so we were quite excited to see this show. In my honest opinion, I see why this isn't challenging for a spot in Finals, but I also think this is a step up from Madison and Crossmen. The sound is more pure, the drill more challenging. I agree with BigMo....cut the narration, especially in a Dome (this goes for all corps using it). In the end, I would have them 15th.

Crossmen
I liked the capes, but they do get a bit old. Very eerie show, but not as enjoyable as last year. 16th is where I see them.

The Academy
What a surprise! I found this show to be quite a step up from the previous three and definitely better than the past couple years from them. I had not really considered them to be much of a threat for Finals based solely on reviews by other posters, but I really think they are. Right now, I would have them right behind the Colts, but not by much. Great job guys...keep pushing!

Colts
Same with the Academy, I really really enjoyed this show. If they would take out the synth parts, I would like it even more...a bit distracting. Great design, great guard with beautiful flags. Definitely a strong contender for Finals.

Troopers
I was a bit disappointed actually. I liked their show, and thought they performed well, but I was really hoping that I would see something a step higher than the Colts, but I didn't. Yes, they are much, MUCH, improved from last year. And it is a great story to see their climb up in the ranks, but I just don't see them making Saturday night this year. I would have placed them just behind Academy, but a point or two above Spirit.

Glassmen
Hmmm.....to me, they are the Blue Devils of the 12th-15th placing corps. They are executing their drill well, but the show overall is quite flat IMO. Based solely on enjoyability, I would have had them behind Troopers, but they are performing better than those right behind them. It probably won't happen, but I would like to see both the Colts and Academy pass them to take the final two spots.

Blue Knights
Great show with some really cool effects. I miss the hand painted silks, but still pretty flags, and nice guard work. Quite a step up from Glassmen and you could really tell the show was picking up when they took the field. It was interesting that the crowd just wasn't that excited when they were announced, but by the end they were really into it.

Blue Stars
You could tell they were hurting, several holes (at least 8). I see why they pulled out of the show last night. I still enjoyed the show...nice music, great guard. A bit too much props for my taste. It reminds of of Cadets 1995, but with a modern touch. As with Spirit, I did not like the narration/radio annoucements...especially in the Dome. I liked last year's Le Tour show more, but this is still a great show. Better than Phantom...hmmmm...probably, but not by too much.

Boston
Oh yeah! Now that was a great show. Great sound, great drill, great guard work, a show concept that was told very well. Best show for them since 2003 IMO. I would have had them 6th, just ahead of Bluecoats.

Phantom
As I said in another thread, much better than I expected. I agree with BigMo, don't expect Spartacus...sit back, and just enjoy, and I think you will. Great music, great sound. The guard is more a part of the show than I expected, and not as bad as I expected. I see them 8th, just behind Bluecoats and Boston, but ahead of the Blue Stars.

Bluecoats
Unique show concept...very different than any other on the field this season, and I liked it. I actually liked it more than last year's show (even though that moment in last year's show where they all clump together and just nail the music was awesome). I liked the uniform change and thought it provided a cool effect.

Santa Clara Vanguard
I really liked this show, but I was also a bit disappointed...I had my hopes way up I think. The ending is very powerful, but the rest of it just kinda drags in my opinion. The drill just isn't that engaging and its almost like you want to speed it up because you know the ending is amazing.

Carolina Crown
My favorite...by far...of the night. Wow, just wow. The sound, the music, the clarity, the drill, the guard....they have it. Biggest standing O of the night, and much deserved third place finish. Heck, I would have had them ahead of the Cavies.

Cadets
I see why they are scoring well, and I think in the end this one could win. It has incredible drill, but the music just didn't catch me as I hoped. Another viewing of it, and I think I would change my mind.

Cavaliers
As BigMo kind of said, great show, performed well, but ready for something new and fresh from them next year. Something that just makes you say, whoa....is this the Cavies???? I would have had them behind Cadets and Crown.

Blue Devils
Ehh. Chairs. Great guard, almost flawless. Great execution with the drill, almost flawless. I see this one winning, but I don't agree. Last year's show had so much more. I don't know what else they can clean though and I think if they were a Boston or a Bluecoats, they would peak...but they aren't, so they will continue to climb up consistantly and will likely walk away with it this year.



A few other comments:
PLEASE, PLEASE start the show at 3pm next year if this same format will be used. I think I speak for almost the entire crowd that it just went way too late. After Crown, the crowd just started to get tired. Usually when they announce the Cavies, the place goes nuts...not this year. By time the Blue Devils took the field, you could just tell the crowd had no energy. Lots of people laying way back in their seats, lots of people yawning. I heard so many comments from people around me that they were just tired. A number of people left after Crown, more after Cadets and more after Cavies. I kinda felt bad for BD. I wonder how many people were still there for the Cavies encore b/c it was quite a mass exit after BD hit their last note.


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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:24 am 
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Great review. . .love your comment on Glassmen. Clean corps that deserves the placement, but does absolutely nothing for me (ala BD).

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 Post subject: Re: Big Mo's Review of Atlanta - Southern Championships
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:07 pm 
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Big Mo--I told you Spirit's show was fun! Glad you liked it!

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