Atlanta Reflections

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Atlanta Reflections

Post by BigMo2 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:34 pm

Mrs. Big Mo and I just returned from Atlanta where we attended the DCI Southeastern Championships at the Georgia Dome. Here are my thoughts on the corps.....these are my opinions and not intended to offend anyone.

FIRST......I really appreciate the hard work and fine musical effort put forth by all corps members GREAT JOB!
SECOND.....I am not a fan of the prerecorded music, talking, or sounds. Let's keep it live!
THIRD.....I really feel that many of the corps took to heart the concerns by many fans that the shows have been "unattainable" to the average fan in the past several years. It appeared to me that this situation had been addressed with show designs and musical selections.

I have included the score and I gave each corps when they had finished their performance and also the score the judges gave them.

In Order of Performance:

Very good marching. Good design which was challenging for the performers but not over their head. Good musical selections. However, more sound is badly needed. I realize this is the smallest World Class Corps, but if you are going to complete with the big boys, you need some power.
My Score: 67.000 - 22nd place
Judges Score: 68.550 - 23rd place

Jersey Surf

Nice show concept. Very good guard work. Good design and nice sound. I like the use of the fences.
My Score: 66.750 - 23rd place (I gave a slight edge to Pioneer because I felt they out-marched Surf)
Judges Score: 71.650 - 21st place

Teal Sound
I wanted to like this corps more than I did! The electric base was OVER-POWERING! BACK OFF! It ruined the show for me. Maybe it is better outdoors, but Finals will be indoors. Gt a handle on that.
What was with the pit uniforms? It gave the appearance of guard want-to-be uniforms. It wasn't terrible, but a little distracting from their good work. I'm not a fan of the brown and teal/light blue together - Personal Preference
The show concept/design did not hit the mark for me but was enjoyable.
My Score: 72.650 - 20th place
Judges Score: 73.000 - 20th place
(I got one right!)

As usual, and well design and executed performance by the Mandarins. Excellent drill!
My score: 72.900 - 19th place
Judges Score: 73.300 - 19th place

Great sound...first really full sound of the evening. I am not usually one for gimmicks or major props, but I really liked Pandora's Box and the way they used it. Nice effect.
My Score: 70.250 - 21st place
Judges Score: 71.200 - 22nd place

First WOW moment of the night. It was my first of very few standing ovations. I wasn't sure I was going to like the show when I saw the list of music. However, they sold it! One phrase came to mind when they finished - "Old School". I mean this as a compliment. This show is reminiscent of drum corps shows of the past. Well designed, played to the max, and very well performed. The corps members sold us on their show. GREAT JOB!
My Score: 77.900 - 16th place
Judges Score: 78.350 - 16th place

Pacific Crest
Although the corps members played well, marched well, this show left me flat. I can't really put my finger on it, but it missed the mark. There was some very good drill moves in this show and the group did it well. but.........
My Score: 75.300 - 18th place
Judges Score: 75.850 - 18th place

I have to be fair and admit that I have been a big fan of The Colts the past several years, going back to their performance in Pasadena. But this year I was disappointed. The mood of the show was "dark" which is not something we expect from The Colts. Therefore, I am not sure the performers really knew how to portray this show concept. Nice musical selections and adequate drill, but I left wanting more.
My Score: 77.60 - 17th place
Judges Score: 78.350 - 16th place

The Academy
Being honest - the past few years this corps has not impressed me. Not so this year. First I really like the black uniforms with the tails. It fit the music and show design extremely well. Excellent music and arranged nicely. The corps members played the music well. The drill was difficult but attainable for the members. Good Job!
My Score - 78.350 - 15th place
Judges Score: 79.400 - 15th place

Probably my biggest disappointment of the evening. Seeing what music they had selected and knowing how well Glassmen in the past have performed, I was ready. But the air came out of the balloon quickly as this show progressed. I understand the "dark" theme of the show, but it seemed that it was terrible dark and unforgiving. This is disappointing when you are playing Prokofiev, Verdi, Beethoven......and have a reputation for playing very well. By the way - did the guard designer get a grant from Reynolds Aluminum?
My Score: 79.350 - 13th place
Judges Score: 80.950 - 14th place

The Troopers
Well designed, well executed. I had seen pictures of the new guard uniforms and was prepared to "not like" them. WRONG! They fit perfectly with the show design and concept.
I feel that The Troopers stepped it up a notch with their musical selections this year and carried it well. I wasn't ready for the old Trooper flag to appear at the very end and was pleased. A very enjoyable show.
My Score: 79.000 - 14th place
Judges Score: 81.100 - 13th place

Blue Knights
Being honest, this has not been one of my favorite corps for several years....maybe even going back to Finals in Orlando. But this year they won me over. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this performance. The only thing missing was someone in a British Military Suite or a Kilt! How can you go wrong with music by Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Percy Grainger. The answer is you can only go wrong if the arrangements are weak or the execution si poor. Neither of which happened to the Blue Knights. I would watch this show over and over again.
Well designed, well performed...........excellent drill and arrangements.
My Score: 84.160 - 10th place
Judges Score: 84.750 - 10th place
Don't be surprised to see this corps put some heat on the corps just ahead of them.

Blue Stars
Oh my....not what I expect from the Blue Stars. As I stated earlier (see Cascades) I am not a fan of gimmicks. The scaffolding idea was interesting but HIGHLY predictable with how it was going to be used. However, I was not prepared for the poor horn player who from the very beginning of the show could not get up on the walkway. He finally stopped playing, laid his horn on the walkway, and crawled up onto it.....and not in a graceful manner. POOR DESIGN. Don't ask horn players to do something that is difficult for them to do - especially right from the very beginning!
After about 2 minutes of the drill it was obvious that everyone was going to take their turn running over and under the set.......again highly predictable. Everyone in the Georgia Dome was waiting for someone from the color guard to throw a rifle or flag from the scaffolding to someone below. Even the fall back to the ground and being caught by corps members was expected. Although the music came from two different composers, they were of the same genre. Therefore, for me the music of the show lacked variety. It all began to sound the same.

All of this is not to say that this is a terrible show that should be avoided at all cost. It was not something I enjoyed but I am sure others would disagree with me. It just left me feeling like they missed an opportunity to "WOW" me.
My Score: 83.700 - 11th place
Judges Score: 84.350 - 11th place

Spirit of Atlanta
No apologies here............I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A HUGE SPIRIT FAN! The man child marched with them for 3 years so it is difficult to be unbiased. But I gave it a good try.

OMG! Spirit is back! What a great crowd pleasing show. The average person in the stands can really connect with this show. I was really hoping they would find a way to work "Georgia On My Mind" into the show, but alas it did not come from a movie. Actually, Hoagy Carmichael wrote it about a woman named Georgia! Oh well..back to this year's show.
Powerful. Well designed. Well executed.....and a wonderful hornline! It's hard to beat the movie music of Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann. Spirit did a great job with this music. The drill was wonderful, complete with the "A" for Spirit of ATLANTA! This is the type of show that could cause a few surprises in Indianapolis. It would not surprise me to find Spirit ahead of the Blue Stars come Finals night!
My Score: 80.625 - 12th place
Judges Score: 82.450 - 12th place

Santa Clara Vanguard
One of my favorite corps almost every year. But this year, they missed the mark for me. The corps and guard did their best to sell this show but I'm not sure it can be done. The marching was magnificent. Good design and very well executed. But it wasn't enough to capture my attention. Those who know me, will know what I mean when I say that this is 2011's Hot Dog show. Enough said.
On a positive note: The corp members play the music extremely well and march the heck out of this show design. My problem, I guess, is with the design and concept. It is definitely NOT an attainable show by the average fan. But because it is technically well done they will continue to be in the upper group come finals night.
My Score: 86.000 - 7th place
Judges Score: 88.250 - 7th place

Boston Crusaders
The last several years I have become more and more impressed with the show designs and music that this staff has put forth. I expected to be let down this year with a one dimensional music book, but I was not. This is another great design and performance by a group that I feel keeps getting over-looked year after year. Outstanding drill design and execution. The music book was ok, but lacked a little something for me. But sill, a great performance.
My Score: 85.850 - 8th place
Judges Score: 87.550 - 8th place

Madison Scouts
The Men from Madison are continuing to be "The Comeback Corps". This show has a ton of energy without being out of control. The musical selections are well placed, well arranged, and performed to perfection. The drill is very good. The guard is.............well the typical Madison Guard which is Outstanding. This is another example of a show that pleases the judges and is attainable by the average fan. Way to go Madison!
My Score: 84.900 - 9th place
Judges Score: 86.200 - 9th place

Well performed by the corps members. However, it was not one of my favorite shows of the evening. I am still trying to get the connection with the title, Brave New Work, and the show concept. There were a few moments I "got it" but not enough for me. However, that is a personal opinion. Technically, it is very good and should do them well the remainder of the season.
My Score: 86.100 - 6th place
Judges Score: 88.650 - 6th place

Phantom Regiment
Hold on to your musical will be musically blown away by this show design and performance. With out a doubt, this is my favorite show of the year. That is not to say I think they should be #1, I am simply saying that for me THIS IS DRUM CORPS AT IT'S FINEST!
What a fabulous musical book. What a great drill. Ho9w can you go wrong with Verdi, Rota, Mozart, Prokofiev, and Wagner if it is well played......WHICH IT WAS! Of course some of us remember an August night in Birmingham, Alabama when Phantom Regiment "wowed" us with Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin. THANK YOU, THANK, YOU, THANK YOU for bringing it back. If someone told me I could go to finals in Indianapolis this year but I could only watch one corp....IT WOULD BE PHANTOM REGIMENT! What class!
My Score: 89.100 - 5th place
Judges Score: 90.500 - 5th place

Carolina Crown
DANG......what an amazing musical book. Does the word genius come to mind?
I have really appreciated Crown's shows the past several years. I was thinking I might not like this one as much. (I have to admit, "Finis" is still one of my all time favorite drum corps shows.) And can you say, "Energy". What a great show with great crowd appeal. Well designed, well executed!
My Score: 91.600 - 4th place
Judges Score: 92.600 - 4th place

The Cavaliers
The Cavaliers and the Blue Devils have found a formula that works. My only problem is that I am tired of both of their formulas. This show by The Cavaliers is like so many other Cavaliers Shows (Frame Works, Spin Cycle, etc) that have original music or music with which most people are not familiar. The marching is excellent, something we expect from The Cavaliers. But the music was..........somewhat uninteresting for me. To gimmicky and the stilts were over used. Have the guy come in in the beginning and then "let it go"! It appears that there was a lot of running around mixed in with an occasional moment when every blew their brains out on a loud cord. I know - there were some impressive licks in there but not enough for me to "catch my attention". I actually got tired of people being turned upside down. Once is impressive, twice is over done, more is redundant. I am sure there are tons of people who disagree with me, including most judges. And after all, it's the judges they need to impress and please, not the average fan. I have to share an interesting comment made by a woman sitting in front of me in Atlanta. This was her first DCI show and to her credit she was there from Pioneer on............CONGRATS. But when The Cavaliers finished she said it was like trying to watch a three ringed circus which meant there was a lot going on that wasn't always related to anything else in the performance.
My Score: 92.700 - 3rd place (execution)
Judges Score: 93.450 - 3rd place

The Cadets
I have not always enjoyed how George has pushed the envelope the past several years. This year, I think he just filled the envelope a little fuller with a very good show. This show uses difficult music (which will please the judges), well executed (again, for the judges), but is very easy to understand in concept and theme (which is pleasing to the average fan). George, you have showed again that you are a very smart man..........well done. Corps members, well done. We expect a dynamite drill performed to perfection. No disappointment here. We expect a well written music book performed to perfection. No disappointment here. Whether I "like" the show or not is not important. It was OUTSTANDING....and in my opinion should have been the First Place performance of the evening.
My Score: 94.175 - 1st place
Judges Score: 94.100 - 2nd place

The Blue Devils
There has long been a feeling, for a lack of a better term, that many people have had for The Blue Devils for many, MANY years. "Once you have seen a Blue Devils show, you have seen every Blue Devils show." When I saw the music that The Blue Devils were using this year I hoped that feeling would be put to rest. I am sad to say it wasn't. I referred to a "formula" earlier (see Cavaliers) and the Blue Devils have their formula. And I guess if you keep winning, why change. But this year they took music by Burt Bacharach and made it sound as if it had been written by Stan Kenton. And even worse, it sounded like any other former Blue Devils Show. I guess I should have expected it.
And get ride of the props. They get in the way of the Blue Devils great marching, playing and performing. For me this was a very well executed show but not one I will be upset if I never see or hear again.
My Score: 94.100 - 2nd place
Judges Score: 94.800 - 1st place
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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by buckofan » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:38 am

Nice review. Only wish I could see all the corps live this year. Check your scores though. Your score has BD first not second.

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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by BigMo2 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:53 pm


My score for Blue Devils should have been 94.100

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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by Marianne » Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:34 pm

BigMo2 wrote:CORRECTION!!!!!

My score for Blue Devils should have been 94.100


Fixed it for ya!
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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by rysa4 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:21 pm

thanks for a great review and thanks for taking the time to write it all down/up! sounds like you had a great time.

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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by BigMo2 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:14 pm

rysa4 wrote:thanks for a great review and thanks for taking the time to write it all down/up! sounds like you had a great time.
Had a very good time. I did not attend any shows live last year. The corps shows had become so "Judge Friendly" and not "Fan Friendly" that I just couldn't see spending the money. The Man Child gave us the tickets for Atlanta as my Fathers Day gift. Now I wish I had tickets for Indy!
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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by Rlee » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:54 pm

Scores and opinions I agree with. I was there also (first live show in ten years). While I agree and understand your points, I have to say that the comments on the BD's are right on. Just the sound of the disappointed grunt that went up from my side of the dome when it was announced that Cadets were still in second place was unanimous. I have always admired the Devils and anyone who can't say that doesn't have a full understanding of drum corp. On the OLD other hand, not only would new fans appreciate a different approach by the Blue Devils, but so many of us who have been watching for years would like to be renewed by a more popular or accessible approach by one of the biggest names in DCI. We are always impressed by the talent, difficulty, and technical aspects, but if you want in to the hearts of the fans that will bring a smile for years to come, entertain us as well. If not, we'll keep watching the high tech chess game you give us and expect the same from now on. Probably a little too much opinion I know. Forgive me if that's the case.

In any event, best wishes to all corps this and next week. See you on the screen for Big, Loud, and Live!

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Re: Atlanta Reflections

Post by Mark » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:37 am

Thanks for the great review. A few thoughts based on the corps I've been lucky enough to see this summer:

BigMo2 wrote:I am not usually one for gimmicks or major props, but I really liked Pandora's Box and the way they used it.
I completely agree. They had some very unique visuals with the large orange box. I loved the horn trio where two of the players were playing through the box wall. (Basically, three horns but only one person visible.)

Santa Clara Vanguard
BigMo2 wrote:Those who know me, will know what I mean when I say that this is 2011's Hot Dog show.
I respect your opinon on this show. However, I also disagree. I loved this show. I urge those that haven't seen it yet to give it a shot. It is definitely a diferent show that may not sit well with some viewers, but it is high energy, unique, and well performed. This is one show I am looking forward to seeing again later this week. (If you have seen it already and don't care for it, I completely understand. I truely hope your hot dog is delicious. :lol:)

Phantom Regiment
BigMo2 wrote:Hold on to your musical will be musically blown away by this show design and performance.
I couldn't agree more! This is definitely a "must see show" in Indianapolis. Just spectacular.:clap2: :towel: :shock: (The hot dog vendors will wonder where everyone went during this show. )

The Cadets / Blue Devils
BigMo2 wrote:Whether I "like" the show or not is not important. It was OUTSTANDING....
BigMo2 wrote:And get ride of the props. They get in the way of the Blue Devils great marching, playing and performing. For me this was a very well executed show but not one I will be upset if I never see or hear again.
My thoughts exactly. The Cadets show is unique and entirely engaging. I was riveted throughout.

The Blue Devils, however, have very strong performance of a moderatly approachable show hidden behind a sea of props. I mean no disrepect to the performers. The do, as always, a phenomenal job. This show just didn't click with me.

Anyway, thanks for the review and the continued support of this disussion board.


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