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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2001 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!
Reviews On This Page Were Last Updated on August 13, 2001
Page Twelve 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
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Go to Page 11 of Reviews!
Saturday August 11
Buffalo, NY (DCI Championship Finals)
Ah, where to start tonight. Honestly I left the stadium so pissed off, for two
1) Madison's 11th place finish. Not that I disagree with it, because I don't
(I'll get to that later). Rather, there was a former Cavaliers member next to me
who couldn't have been more thrilled that Madison had fallen so far. In his screams
of, "that's right" and "it's about time." I thought it completely classless to be
so elated when a corps doesn't do very well. That's EXACTLY how I remember the
members of the Cavaliers!
2) The fact that Blue Devils got completely robbed tonight (I'll get to that).
I'm going to start, from 1st to 12th.
CAVALIERS: Compared with last night and Thursday, I thought the level of their
entire performance was drastically off. They seemed tentative throughout the entire
performance. The brass line was not tight too much for a DCI Champion. The visual
product is fantastic, but it was not performed at the same level as semi's or
quarter's. Now way. I had them 2nd.
BLUE DEVILS: Okay- I have not, historically, been a big Blue Devils fan. Being
that I am a huge SCV fan, I usually would look for flaws in Blue Devils- reason's why
they shouldn't win. Well- the product on that field tonight was musical and visually
FLAWLESS from start to finish. I could not find one single moment where I questioned
what was going on. It was steller- to the point of being, perhaps, the most
perfectly executed and performed show I had ever witnessed. When they were done -
I thought it was impossible to beat. And it was. I'm a firm believer in slotting
now. Their score and placement did not reflect the performance those kids gave
tonight. Absolutely incredible, throughout. Absolutely not 1 second of weaknesses
in that show. A championship performance.
CADETS: Great show tonight. They performed really well. I had them in third.
There were moments in Moondance where I raised questions and they lost me. The
performance was great - best of the three days - but I am just astounded that they
SCV: Great show. Again slotting. They should have been forth, but their score
did not reflect what they did. They should have been closer to the Cadets. The
Chant was awesome- just awesome! Short Ride just lacks depth- it's too much a
surface piece. The show was great though. I ate it up.
GLASSMEN: Incredible. Beautifully clean and energetic. Soloist nailed it tonight,
guard nailed it, great show.
PHANTOM REGIMENT: Over the three days- this show has completely grown on me.
PHANTASTIC! They were on tonight and it was just awesome. That opener is just
incredible.. those runs just knock my socks off. Festive was great. I really really
like what they do there - it's really found me. Great subtilties within the brass
line. Brilliantly executed. 6th place- right on target.
CROSSMEN: Great show. Loved it. Never knew about the "Phantom Crossmen" until
tonight. VERY COOL. In all the years I've marched and followed drum corps - I never
knew they had a "phantom." Loud, powerful sound. Great horn moves in the park and
blow section. Really cool. Guard was great. It was all good.
BLUECOATS: I have come to entirely love this show. Incredible. Great brass
line- well balanced. Guard is good. Love the leg kicks in the closer. Ballad is
haunting and gorgeous. Loved it.
BOSTON CRUSADERS: Good show. Most beautiful balland of the season, IMHO. Guard
was fantastic. The fact that all those women did weapons was astounding. Awesome
show. They placed where the should have.
CAROLINA CROWN: This is one of my favorite shows of the season and they were on
tonight. Incredible in design and they really performed well- across the board. I
absolutely loved their guard. I hope we see them up and coming. A well deserved
MADISON SCOUTS: IT was awesome. The second after the announcer said "you may
take the field in competition" they hit the opening cord. It was timed perfectly.
Musically- they were great! I was higher up tonight and all the visual weaknesses
were as plain as night and day. Wow- I was quite surprised. Heel-toe is still
there and they have great feet- however - the design is sub-par (at best) and the
execution is weak. All straight lines were greatly crooked. It was a fairly easy
drill that was performed very poorly. They should have been 11th.
COLTS: Really love this show. Great all around - musically and visually. The
ballad was gorgeous... everything was good. Loved it. They were a great corps to
round out the top 12.
I was very frustrated tonight with the outcome, because what was performed was
not reflected on the judges sheets at the top. I thought BD had handedly won the
title tonight. Without a doubt! They were musically and visually flawless.
Thanx for reading.
The weather tonight was perfect. The crowd was very into the show and
seemed pretty big, although it still seems that attendance in 1990 was
larger in Buffalo than this year. There really is not all that much
to do in Buffalo. Makes for a tough vacation with family when you try
and incorporate other things into the trip. One again, my
vantagepoint was on the 45-yard line of side 1 at the bottom of the
upper deck - perfect seats to see the drill and close enough to
really hear the shows as well.
Colts - 84.9
They seemed like they were just glad to be back in finals, and were
resigned to the fact that they would finish 12th. They really just
relaxed and had a good time on the filed. The performance was very
enthusiastic and controlled. They really did a nice job. Their score
should not have dropped, but the slotting began from the start.
Carolina Crown - 86.95
They were much better tonight than last night. The guard was more
together, but they still have a lot of problems with inconsistencies
in how they use their feet and position their bodies while doing their
work. It is really distracting. Even though the show was better
tonight, there was still an awful lot of dirt in the drill. The drum
line had a great show, but the brass line still had TQ&I problems all
through the show. Their score went down, but I thought that
yesterdays score was too high anyway. They should not have beat
Madison. To the designers of Crown's show, this is DCI, not
Madison - 86.55
Madison had a great show tonight. I thought they were better tonight
than last night. Their score and placement should not have dropped.
They should have topped BAC. The recordings of their show will most
likely be ruined though. There was a small plane circling the stadium
carrying a banner which read "Best Crossmen Ever - We Love You
Melissa". This stupid F@$#*@g plane circled through out Madison,
Boston, and Bluecoats shows. The annoying drone of the engine went on
and on and on. It was very distracting. Madison seemed to just focus
on performing their show, and they did an awesome job. Apparently the
judges were distracted and thought it had something to do with
Madison. Sorry, but the judges screwed the pooch on this one.
Boston Crusaders - 88.8
I thought that Boston had a rough show tonight. There were more
problems with the drill tonight than any other night this week, and
the brass show was a bit ragged in spots. They seemed very distracted
by the plan overhead. The show on the whole was very flat. Madison
should have topped them tonight. They were also the worst offenders
in the check pattern category tonight. The drum line's dutting
was audible in the upper deck when they were behind the back hash.
They could also be heard dutting more than 16 counts before entrances.
Give it a rest guys.
Bluecoats - 90.75
They had a very strong show tonight. The soloists were on, and they
really cranked out a great show. The increase in score was deserved,
as was the closing in on Crossmen.
Crossmen - 91.15
Just before Crossmen took the field, the plane carrying the "Best
Crossmen Ever - We Love You Melissa" banner left. The corps
didn't even get to see it (unless they saw it during warm up).
There were a lot of people chanting for Melissa. "We Love You
Melissa", "Go Melissa", "You Missed Your Plane Melissa", and just plan
old "Melissa, Melissa, Melissa" were extremely loud. YES - WE WERE
PISSED! That stupid plane ruined the performance for three corps, and
will no doubt have ruined the recording. I hope to god that the
semi-finals recordings are used. More likely than not, the Crossmen
organization had absolutely nothing to do with this stupid plane;
however, it still reflected very poorly on the organization as a whole
when their name was plastered in the banner and it disrupted three
other corps performances. No doubt, Melissa was embarrassed by the
whole situation. Whoever it was that thought they would do this is an
absolute MORON! A sign in the stadium would have sufficed, and would
have cost them less I am sure. Not to mention the fact that it would
not have ruined the performance of three other corps! If you think
you have to go to those kind of lengths to tell someone you love them,
you really need a good therapist.
As for Crossmen's performance - It was a solid performance. No
better or worse than yesterday, thus no change in score. Another
score and placement that I agree with.
Phantom Regiment - 91.9
Phantom was much better tonight than yesterday. The brass sound was
much better tonight. There were fewer people sticking out of the
ensemble, and the tone quality was much better overall. Timing was
much improved, as was overall execution. They were placed correctly;
however, they should have scored MUCH closer to Glassmen.
Glassmen - 94.3
Overall, they had a strong show this evening. The fluegal horn
soloist was not as good tonight as he was in Semifinals or
Quarterfinals, and there was one contra that seemed a bit clueless
from a marching perspective. He was in and out of forms all over the
show, and intervals were all over the place. Otherwise, they had a
strong show. I really hope they program a more audience friendly show
next year. Their placement was correct, but their score was too high,
and their spread over Phantom was much too great. Phantom should have
been within .5 of Glassmen.
Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.35
SCV was on fire tonight. For a third night in a row, they put on an
incredible show, and each night was better than the previous night.
Once again, I thought they beat both Cadets and BD (not by much mind
you). Why their score went down is an absolute mystery - other
than perhaps - slotting? Thanks for an incredible perforamnce
Cadets - 97.6
Cadets were pretty much like last night. No major differences night
over night. Their show was..., well it was just a performance. The
show is very appropriately titled. It quite simply was not that
great. It was not bad - just not great. Certainly not what I think
most fans have come to expect from them. The crowd response was
nothing like the response from previous years. That in and of itself
speaks volumes as far as I am concerned. I thought they beat BD
tonight, but I thought SCV beat them. I also thought their score was
Blue Devils - 97.6
I thought that BD was flat tonight. They didn't seem to have as
much energy as they did yesterday. Their show is a tough sell - too
much like Glassmen with the dissonant brass bursts and percussive rim
shots. Yes, that type of show is very exposed and difficult to
perform cleanly when spread all over a football field; however, there
is no melodic line, nothing to reaches the audience, etc. Awayday
Snooze just doesn't cut it. I thought that Cadets beat them
tonight, as well as SCV. I also thought their score was too high.
Cavaliers - 98.35
Cavaliers were exciting tonight, but there was still a bit of dirt in
the visual program. That is to be expected given how difficult the
drill is; however, the score seemed a bit high. They deserved first
place; however, it should have been a squeaker with a lower score. To
all of you who have said that Cavies music is not melodic or
interesting or whatever, I say you are wrong. And it would seem that
I am not alone here. Each night, I heard several people
singing/humming sections of their show at various parts of the stadium
- in the drink line, on the way out into the parking lot, and even in
the men's room at the urinals for crying out loud. Plenty of
people like the music, and it was the only music memorable enough
apparently to get people singing. Keep it up Cavies, and thanks for a
great show. Congratulations on another Championship!
This year showed marked improvement overall in execution, especially
visually. However, I still think there is plenty of room for musical
programs that are more accessible, melodic, familiar, and audience
friendly. I hope the corps will continue the progress next year of
continued improvement in execution, and step it up in the
entertainment department. Obviously I don't think this is the
best year yet (like some have posted), but it's still a lot
better than a great week at work.
Well, I'm back from another fantastic DCI Finals & thought I'd share my
final thoughts, since I could only find 2 reviews for the show.
First, a little rant. To anyone ever involved with corps, please NEVER,
EVER EVER consider flying a plane with a banner around the show. I'm sure
"Melissa's" parents did not realize what affect that would have (noise,
noise, noise) on the show. It was very distracting and impacted the crowd's
enjoyment of Scouts, Boston & Bluecoats. I would also wager that "Melissa"
was quite thoroughly embarrased. Especially after the crowd finished
venting their frustration with a quite fun "Melissa, Melissa, Melissa" chant
as Crossmen came on the field.
Ok, now on to the show. It was just a great night, from top to bottom. I
really enjoyed the exhibition performances as well, although Blue Stars had
a very weak horn show. It just wasn't a good year for Division III I would
say, having been there Wednesday for II/III finals. It was a VERY good year
for Div. II, though, and Mandarins were great. The Sr. Show, and the night
exhibition by Syracuse Brigadiers was wonderful. It was pure goosebump
city, with an amazing competent visual program and color guard to go with
some great music. Wouldn't it be great if some major Div. I corps had the
kahunas to bring back some classics like Macarthur Park? Crossmen, Phantom
& Cadets all proved that you can play music the crowd loves & be
Colts -- I have to say that I'm sorry I missed these guys, as I got stuck in
an awful concession stand line until their show had started. My friends all
said that they had a MUCH better horn line performance tonight, and I'm very
glad for them. Congratulations on making it back in to Finals, Colts!
Crown -- A much, much better performance last night than in Semis. The horn
line projected much better to the upper deck, and the visual program, though
still messy, was much tighter tonight as well. The show is entertaining,
and somewhat reminiscent of their stormworks show here in 95. This is
probably the best horn line Crown has had, and the drum line just rocks. I
think the problem with this show was that there was just too much going on
to ever be crisp and clean visually. The horn line did not march very well
(feet were awful), and the guard, while fun and exciting, is just a mess in
places (particularly the wood section). I agree with another poster that
this is not WGI, and some things don't translate well from that venue to
this one. I think the scores finally caught up to that tonight, as they
guard only had (and deserved) an 8.6 for excellence., as well as the corps
only having an 8.4 for Visual Perf Excellence and 86 for Visual Ensemble
Scouts -- I know the crowd was upset with their score, but I thought that
the two were really close on Finals night, with Crown being better than they
were on Friday & Scouts staying about the same. I did think Madison should
have scored higher than Crown, and actually would have had them around an
88.0. In looking at recaps, it looks like they were underscored in GE music
( I wouldn't have placed them differently, just closer to Boston) and
Performance Visual. Otherwise, I thought the judges were right on. This
corps, while solid musically -- and especially in brass, did not have a
visual show. Worse, what they did have, they did not march exceptionally
well. For the Scouts to regain middle of the pack to 5th or 6th status is a
new direction visually, and particularly in guard, where they just don't
have a finalist-caliber program any more. I hope they accomplish that,
because they are a lot of fun to listen to. The ending tore down the house,
just as it should. Thanks for being SOOO much better than last year,
Boston -- This was a solid, but not spectacular show, from the Cru. Their
aggressiveness is a style unique to them, and very enjoyable to watch.
Design wise, this show had some great highs, but also some areas that did
not flow well or make sense. I thought the color guard was a little
underscored today (would have had them in 8th). If anything, the guard has
too much weapon work and not enough flag work. In 2 places -- the ballad
and the closing tag, the show really suffered without any flag work to
highlight the great music being played. The horn line was a step up from
last years in terms of power, which was great to hear. Thanks to a visual
design superiority to Scouts, I would have had Boston just ahead of them,
but not by the margin in score that was awarded.
Bluecoats -- This was one of my favorite shows this year. I think that
their Semis performance was just a bit better than Finals in terms of
emotion and connectivity with the audience, but then again the "Melissa
Plane" could have affected that quite a bit with all the quite & subtle
sections to their show. The show design was brilliant for Canton this year
-- by far their best since 95, and they had the performance levels to match.
They were very, very deserving of breaking 90, and I thought that they
judged right on target in most areas. The brass line was superb, with a
rich, deep sound. The visual program was not overly demanding, but it
melded seemlessly with the music to create an outstanding total package.
This is a show I could watch many, many more times (along with Phantom &
Cavaliers) & for that reason am sad that season is over...
Crossmen -- Boy, did these guys perform this week! This might have been the
best Crossmen ever, and I thought they were a little underscored today, as I
had them in the mid 92 range. To me, their guard score should have been
higher. In fact the whole cluster of SCV, Glassmen, Phantom & Crossmen's
guards seemed very equal and all scored too far behind the top 3. This was
the best hornline I've ever heard from Crossmen, and the corps marches very
well. A sqeaky clean show in all respects. The only thing seeming to lack
was much difficulty in drill. Congratulations, Crossmen, for finding a show
that remained true to the activity, entertained the crowd and was
competitive all at the same time. My only sadness here is that Crossmen
will leave those great-sounding G bugles next year for Bbs. I hope it
doesn't hurt their sound as much as it has others, most notably SCV & BD).
Phantom -- I will admit my bias here, but Oh boy! What a show Phantom put
out on Finals night. It was great to see most of the fans on their feet
well before the end of the show. That was the best they have performed the
end of Festive all year, with all the recent changes seeming to finally
"click." Even my "group" of friends that sit together every year (most of
whom haven't liked Phantom at all in recent years) were on their feet
yelling before the end of the show. Phantom was the corps that improved
their score the most from Quarters to Semis to Finals, and their performance
just kept getting better. It makes you wonder what another week of cleaning
could have done. The horn line was brilliant tonight, with impeccably
mastery of the soft sections of the show -- no one on the field came close
to Regiment this year in their ability to play softly and in control with a
fantastic symphonic tone quality. I think PR placed where they should have
overall, as the show just seemed to have too much demand to pull off
anything clean and crisp enough to move higher. No one had a more difficult
horn book (or more notes) or more spread out filed coverage than Phantom
this year, and at times the design may have gone a little too far, with some
phasing and timing problems remaining to the end (though far better on
Saturday). On the other hand, the corps was underscored big time, and I
would have had them at around a 93.5. Looking at the recaps, they were 8th
in Brass -- No way. They should have been 4th in Brass, within tenths of
Cavaliers and ahead of SCV. Also, they seemed cheated in GE music as well,
where I would have had them in 5th -- ahead of Glassmen, or at least,
certainly not in 8th. Finally, the guard was much better than their score,
though overall placement was about right. All in all, a huge
congratulations to Regiment as they made it back into top 6 as they continue
their climb back towards the upper corps. And one last thing -- TOMMY
FAEGIN, YOU WERE ROBBED. No way was he not the top Drum Major in DCI.
Thanks for 4 great years, Tommy -- and for showing loyalty to your corps in
a time when you literally carried them through some very rough years. If
only I could re-live the closing minutes of this show a few more times!
Glassmen -- To me, this year was by far the best the Glassmen have ever
been. I did think, however, that they left their best performance on the
field on Friday night when I thought they should have been 4th. Saturday
nights show was night as tight, with more noticeable visual problems, not to
mention the musical problems with the ballad and soloist. It was a shame,
because that soloist had been incredible all year. I hope that DCI uses the
Semifinals recording for Glassmen on the CDs. The drum line really, really
cooked tonight and deserved their 4th place scoring. A wonderful drill also
helped propel this package, with great "marriage" to the musical book.
There are times in this show that I swear you could trade out their uniforms
with the Cavaliers and you really wouldn't notice much difference,
particularly in the ballad section and in the closing number. I'd look out
for this corps next year if I were the top 4.
SCV -- Let me say this -- I really enjoyed SCV's show. I do think, however,
they were scored correctly (with two exceptions), and there was a
SIGNIFICANT performance gap between SCV & the top 3. I thought that their
guard was significantly underscored. At the same time, the corps got a huge
gift in their Finals Brass Score. They had not scored close to 2nd all
year, and they did not deserve it. While they did perform much better on
Saturday, their were many moments with problems with tone quality
(especially the trumpets) and intonation, as well as a lack of overall
demand in their book in comparison with the top 3 (and even Phantom).
Visually the corps was not as clean as their chief competition either. From
a programming standpoint, the drill was wonderful and their were some great
"highs" in the show -- topped of with the chant. There were also some
musical lows, and the closer was not strong musically. Wouldn't it be nice
for Vanguard to change directions again and pull out a really beautiful
crowd accessible book next year? The last 5 years for SCV are starting to
Cadets -- I think the Cadets got a gift on Saturday. There, I said it.
Don't get me wrong -- I grew to love their show this year, but I think they
performed much better on Friday night, particularly in the brass line. That
being said, they still should have had the top brass honors, as their horn
line seemed in a league of their own this year. They certainly should not
have been 3rd. Why would I have had the whole corps behind Blue Devils?
They just didn't seem as crisp. Congratulations to these kids, though, for
working with the staff to correct what was a goose egg of a show at the
beginning of the year and turning it into one of my favorite shows of the
year. They also had for me one of the drill highlights of the year with the
block that is pulled inside out towards the end, with one guard member
spinning a flag to "pull" the block inside out. I can't wait to see that on
Blue Devils -- WOW. They performed the @#$%*& out of their show on Saturday
night. I honestly thought they had a chance to win, and this was my least
favorite BD show of the past 5 years. While not overly inspiring (and thus
the deservedly lower GE scores), the execution of this corps, and
particularly the guard and corps visual program, was awe-inspiring. The
horn-line also put in a MUCH better performance on Saturday night than they
had all year, with improved tone quality in the upper voices and a sharpness
that had just been lacking. I still think they suffer from the switch to
Bb's though, as the corps just doesn't have the beautiful sound they used to
have. I had this corps in 2nd, by themselves, and with a score of around
98.0. I still had Cavaliers in front, but not by as much as the judges did.
Cavaliers -- A great show, especially visually. The music book was also
quite solid for an original composition, with many memorable musical
moments. I think I enjoyed last year's show more from a total package
perspective, but this show was more difficult, and performed very well. The
drill was awesome, particularly with the four "spinning inside the form"
file move accross the field and the "flying" backwards block at the end of
the show. A great show, just without much music that stirred the soul like
some others out there (namely Bluecoats, Cadets and Phantom).
In all, a great year for DCI, with all the top 12 being enjoyable and
entertaining. That's a great step up from last year when there were only 4
or 5 shows that I really loved. It's made me ready for next year already!
This is my take on the corps over 3 days of viewings. Scores are not
considered, as I was happy with 90% of what I saw. havnt watched the video yet.
hey DCI one gripe.........that corps you may leave at your will crap at retreat
sucks. takes forever. the proposal in Boston was cool, but it takes forever. Go
back to playing off.
Kiwanis...I missed you and I am sorry but nature called. I will probably order
a video of you out of guilt...sounded good from outside tho.
Patriots...nice show. music was a little vague bu my tastes but performed very
well. I love the guard and you had some really nice staging ideas. you guys are
on the right track.
Spartans....didn't much care for the music but you performed it well. Nice
flowing drill, made sense to the show. Guard unis added highly....intersteing
if not quite as notey drum book as i like but handled well. glad to see you
Capital Regiment......what a brass sound....absolutely appealed to the loud is
good side of me. Nice show, well done. Drumline had some moments...and
unfortunately i missed the guard....but from what my cohort in crime told me,
they were good as well....i expect a lot from you guys down the road.
Seattle Casacdes......amazing drumline...i'd stack you guys against anyone.
Well thought out show...moved well, played well...you guys are definitely ready
to move up and I wish you the best.
Mandarins........not as impressive imho as past editions, but still very well
done...loved the jam/groove in the drum solo. Year in and year out, noone in
the lower divisions does it better and kudos to your organization for yet
Troopers.......god bless you for being true to yourselves. smaller than
previous years, but great horn sound for 40ish or so. A new approach to
Copland and well done. Maybe some say you need to go d2, but this fan doesn't
Pioneer..............Nice idea for a Civil War theme. Drumline great as always
and the brass seemed to do well....guard i didnt really catch. I was wondering
how you would get the traditional Irish touch in there and you did a great job.
Southwind.......welll....I wanted to like the show Thursday but it seemed
flat...Friday it hooked me in more. Some brass issues but overall well
done....drumline played well and i enjoyed the guard. Not as in your face as
last year, but well done.
Spirit......ok, I am a mark for this corps egardless of the year. I loved Ghost
train...perfect vehicle for them......percussion did a great job, brass played
with precision and a lot of emotion Friday. The trainisms were well done
(chilling at one point). Jim Ott banner was a nice touch. All the Spirits
greatest licks thrown in here and there were great as well. I hope next year is
the year.......and kids, i know you were saddened by the loss of Jason...great
job keeping it in check and playing the show of your lives.
BK.....great idea on paper...didn't carry to the field. After all the hype
about the drum solo, i felt a little let down...performed well but the
design..eh...tho i thought it was cool to see guard ladies holding roto toms
aloft like some idol they were worshipping. The guard unis flags again were to
die for...great color schemes. But on a whole the show left me flat.
Colts...show grew on me by Saturday...the drum solo/fight was well done. Very
well done ballad....great staging and voicing. Drums performed very
well.......some interesting scoring ideas. Not my fave Colts show, but it got
you in and you deserved it.
Madison...wow, holy opening impact!!! very entertaining...i believe Thursday my
quote was "God spoke to me n said loud is good". great rifle work, cool cymbal
toss.....andgobs of old school fun in your face. I was afrid you got penalized
Saturday when Crocker was still saying you may take the field in competition.
Ok, so you were 11th. you were in. the fans loved you. you got the best
reactions of the 3 days...that is what it is all about.
Crown......well, i still dislike the show, but you performed it well. Amazing
drumline...out of this world. The guard did some nice stuff and the tires kind
of grew on me. The concept grew on me as well, but overall on the entertainment
scale of jeff, you were a 4. performed well, just boring.
Boston.......great show idea....just a lil too much for the troops to clean i
believe. Making the drum judge groove during the ballad was classic.....you
sold it well. Conquest hits diminsihed a bit...a lil downer there. Following
Scouts Saturday didnt help either. Drumline light years ahead of last year and
the pit was mesmerizing. Color guard's weapons work was superb and the color
was something unlike the drab yellow the rest of the world seems to like. Ok
you werent on tv this year...but you were in...great job.
coats.....I am biased here due to a lot of friends and extended family in the
organization, but by far your best show. ever. Horns had power, drums performed
well and guard helped show the tango concept. A great job, well performed. Pit
was a show unto themselves...good soloists...i loved it all. congrats on your
Xmen....i dunno....solists had a rough time Saturday....great show,
entertaining, clean, full of fun. seemed to lack that special something...if
anything i think the kids tried too hard. but you are top 7 now and you deserve
to be....just wasnt your time to go top6 yet.
Phantom..........Nice show. festive was what i expoected but i do miss that old
Phantom low brass sound. drumline performed well, brass did a great
job....guard didnt really stick out in my mind but they must have beeok as they
were in the top 6. Overall nice show.
gmen....flugel soloist is a god....nuff said. Drumline was great as well. show
left me flat on a whole....dunno...performed well, but bored me to tears.
SCV......this show was ahead of its time. very challenging yet accesible. Sops
on the upper register at low dynamic ranges in Short ride...wow. throwback
Lezghnkina lick in the Jug tune. pretty ballad...and New era. the corps got
into it...killer back beat, kids gettin funky and the bottle dance for a
count......outstdanding. great musical and visual ideas...proof that you can do
stuff no one has heard and be entertaining.
Cadets.....i wanted more, but I didnt get it. Young persons was good but seemed
to lack that certain something that scv had when they made it a classic.
Moondance was a gas....kids sold it well. Ballad was performed well and
Farandole left me flat. Kids performed the hell out of it I will say
that...drumline was on fire. Not their best ever but good enough for top 3.
Anxious to see where they go from here.
BD.....great show. well designed well performed...aggressive in yor face
drumming.....soloists screamed and the guard was absolutely out of this world.
when I saw you early season i thought it could be unless cavies clean....if you
guys have one flaw it is that you are too good too early an you get caught. Any
other year, this could have done it. This year, you got caught
Cavies...best total package on the field......visually eye catching musically
accesible and performed incredibly. design wins now and you had it...no one
section stood out as golike yet all were good enough to get the win and
deservedly so.....the victory run was fabulous a well and Jupiter and Rainbow
gave me gose bumps. Congrats you deserved it.
Friday August 10
Buffalo, NY (DCI Championship Semifinals)
Hi All. Just got back from Semi's. Unfortunately, I was late getting to
the stadium again. I lived in the Buffalo area until I was 13, so I spent a
large part of the day visiting some old friends, who I hadn't seen since then-
18 years. It was great. Anyways, I didn't get there until Blue Knights.
BLUE KNIGHTS! I felt bad for them when their score was announced, because
I knew at that moment that they knew it was official- their season was over.
I wasn't surprised. Hopefully next year they will return to the style they are
meant to do. It was evident that they really put there hearts into tonight- but
there was nothing they could do. It's a show that couldn't possibly be performed
COLTS! Good job tonight. Brass had some problems at some points throughout
the show. Overall, I really liked it.V
CAROLINA CROWN! I just love this show. The "wood" section is just plain
awesome. The "tire" work is really cool. I love what the guard does with the
tires. The "steel" section - I just don't care for. The design of this show is
really terrific- from start to finish. Everything is just great. Guard is
amazing. I thought they placed where they should have- but they were way too
close to Madison.
MADISON SCOUTS! They are scoring very well in everything but visual- and I
just don't understand it. I realize that a big part of their visual hit is their
guard - and rightly so, but bad guard and all they were in a different league
than BAC was. No contest. Horn line was terrific- I believe they got 6th in
horns last night. I can see why. Wonderful show. Crowd ate it up, as usual.
Guard is just a huge weakness and that does impact the visual scores- which is
their downfall. I thought they deserved 9th tonight. Easily.
BOSTON CRUSADERS! I love this show. It's so entertaining, and musically
beautiful. Visual, aside from the guard, they are not up to Madison's level.
Those black pants just hide a ton of dirt for them. Intervals were a huge
problem again tonight. In the company front spacing was all over, tight in
some places and loose in others. They really need to watch that. Guard was
great. The weapons work is excellent. If it's just their guard that's pushing
their visual scores over Madison, I won't argue. But it isn't. They are scoring
too high. I thought that they should have been closer to Crown in score and a
couple points beneath Madison.
BLUECOATS! They were fantastic tonight. Wow! This show is just incredible.
The hornline does some really great leg work and it just fits so perfectly. The
drill was very well performed and the guard really heighted the overall product.
I had them in 6th tonight.
CROSSMEN! They were good tonight- but performance wise, I did not think they
were as good as last night. The crowd loved them. Brass, percussion, and guard
were all good. Visually I thought they were quite dirty tonight....straight
lines were not straight. Good show though. I thought they should have been
PHANTOM REGIMENT! Okay- I am really starting to dig this show. Although I
thought their performance tonight was quite a bit off compared with last night -
but their score did not reflect that. The performance, tonight, as a whole was
quite a bit sloppier than last night. The music is so beautiful though- the
whole product. I'm even starting to like Festive more. One guard chic had
problems getting her top on tonight- and she did last night too. Tonight she had
to squat on the front sideline for the whole intro to Festive because she didn't
get her top on on time. Beautiful show. Performance was not good tonight. I
had them 8th.
GLASSMEN! They were good, but their score was WAY TOO HIGH. They were
visually sloppy. They should be in fifth place - but they should be scoring a
few points lower.
SANTA CLARA VANGUARD! They got jipped tonight- AND BIGTIME! Erase everything
from my review of last nights show - because tonight was a whole different story.
They were fantastic. Short Ride was EXCELLENT... the brass line nailed it. It
didn't let up for the rest of the show either. AWESOME! The Chant was incredible
tonight- the guard work during and after it is fantastic. They performed the hell
out of the show and should have been at least 4 points ahead of Glassmen, and I
thought- they should have beaten the Cadets tonight. A major injustice! They
CADETS! They were off tonight. I had them fourth. Love this show though. I
am pulling for them tomorrow.
BLUE DEVILS! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! This show is just AWESOME! The entire package
and the guard? Oh, the guard is amazing- the most theatrical in DCI! They were on
fire tonight. I had them first.
CAVALIERS! It's impossible to even review this show. I will not fully
appreciate it until I get the DVD and can watch it from high camera. They were
great though. I can see why they won, but I thought Devils had taken it
Good news is that I brought my laptop to Semifinals, so I could write
the review as I saw the show. Bad news is that I left my cell phone in
the car, so I couldn't send the review as I wrote it. :)
So, everything I wrote occured right after each corps show. If I didn't
write anything, I missed the show for various reasons (late to stadium,
eating, shopping for souvies...Stuff like that). Most of these are
immediate impressions and not always nice, so be prepared.
I'm not sure what the staff of Spirit was thinking when they designed
this show. I didn't like "Ghost Train" When Mandarins did it in 1997
and Spirit did not do anything to change my opinion this time around.
The Bb sound doesn't help their cause, either. Contras (tubas) sound
blatty when they play above MF. The throwing in of various snippets of
past Spirit standards is, to me, a way of them saying, "Hey, we know
this show needs help, that's why we're throwing in stuff you like so we
have a better chance of getting a reaction!" About the only cool things
with this show are train effect/formation in the opening of the show and
the Southern swing style section in the middle. The rest is bland and
Blue Knights: 83.9
Have you ever heard the music to a cartoon...and had no clue what was
going on cuz you never saw the cartoon before? That's the Blue Knight's
show in a nutshell. The Blue Knights tried to do a Velvet Knights show,
but in the Blue Knights style and it didn't work at all. Visual design
was terrible, with lots of cluttered transistion, straight lines that
weren't straight, and rotations that were just plain terrible. I will
say, though, that their hornline sound was better than JSU Spirit, but
Spirit has them beat overall, so BK might have a tough time finishing in
13th for the 3rd time in Buffalo.
Madison Scouts: 87.8
Something I said during Madison's show that I haven't said yet: "That's
cool". The horn sound got to the box, first hornline to do that so far.
Visual package wasn't especially difficult BUT it was cleaner than
either Spirit or BK. Horn book got my foot tapping, partly because I
recognized half the show from '85 (Four Score and Seven and Ballet in
Brass). Still can't hear contras above MF, which, to me, is a Madison
trademark since they focus more on upper brass. Anybody worried about
this corps not making Finals never had anything to worry about.
Carolina Crown: 87.6
This show was a winterguard show with hornline/drumline accompaniment.
The show went NOWHERE. The props would make no sense to anybody if they
hadn't heard the name of the show first. The forms had plenty of
spacing and covering down problems. The horns did not reach the box.
In fact, only Madison so far had the power to do that. This is not
shaping up to be a good night of entertainment.
The first half of this show lacked power, but Colts managed to dig deep
from the drum solo on and put out a good performance. I especially
enjoyed the drum solo, when the hornline essentially staged a battle in
the backfield while the drumline threw down. The ballad was especially
beautiful, complete with an ending set in a block cross. Visual still
is a problem, however, with people missing spacing, not covering down,
even having trouble staying in step. So far, Madison and Colts are the
corps I have enjoyed.
Last year was Red: a Spanish-style show. This year it's African. This
was the best hornline sound so far to me, with the low brass really
coming through in the hornline (what can I say, I'm biased?) This isn't
as good as last year's show, more abstract, more exposed, and too much
recycled drill moves! I do like this show, so that's a 50% rate tonight
up to this point. OK, break time, so I'm heading down to the souvie
Phantom Regiment: 91.55
Glassmen started out weak, with major misses in drill and a lack of
power in the hornline during the opener. Once the ballad started,
though, this was a whole different corps. Kevin Creasy's flugelhorn
solo totally amazes me (and everybody else in the stands) every time I
hear it, and he was ON tonight. I still don't like the staging of the
drums in the drum solo, too much emphasis on drill and not enough on the
small fact that this drumline is highly talented and should be showcased
right up front instead of behind the front hash. The closer was the
total opposite of the opener, high powered and clean. I expect them to
stay in 5th unless SCV lays a big egg tonight.
Santa Clara Vanguard: 95.4
They did NOT lay an egg tonight! The show was clean, both musically and
visually. This has to be one of, if not THE best designed show of the
season. Heck, their brass sounds so nice (outside of the
soprano/trumpet/whatever the Hell you call them now), I'm almost ready
to support Bb horns as a result! Looks like Glassmen will lead off the
TV broadcast tomorrow. The question, though, is how late in the show
will SCV appear.
I give them points for choosing songs that the fans want to hear. I
don't give them points for executing it. This corps CANNOT march at
high speeds and play well. This corps has also gotten away with dirty
forms because of their drill design for too long. Not to mention the
bounce in the hornline is back from years past, which makes me think
they also SOUND bad because they look bad. And don't get me started on
the Bb sound.
Blue Devils: 97.5
Awesome colorguard. Drumline much improved from last year. Brassline
pretty good. Drill holds the corps back. And, once again, the
soprano/trumpet/whatever the Hell you call them line does NOT sound
good, especially during high-speed maneuvers. The music ranges from OK
(opener) to exciting (swing section) to uninteresting (remainder of the
show). I like this show, but not enough to do more than clap nicely.
BEST drill of the night, and it's almost totally clean. Note, I said
almost. The question, though, is how much credit will they get for
their difficulty? Will it be enough to make up for any dirt in their
program? I think so. Cavies do so much more than any other corps on
the field right now, and they do it very well. In my opinion, they won
tonight and put themselves in a good position to win tomorrow night, as
One more thing: I didn't get all the scores, so you'll have to look
those up in other posts or on dci.org.
Kevin "Gadget" Gamin
A couple of years ago, I posted a review from Championships where my
wife, my daughter and I all made a couple of comments. I received a
lot of positive remarks about it, so I thought I would do it again
this year. I marched for 10 years, and aged out in 1988. Three of
those ten years were with finalists. This will be my 24th consecutive
year at Championships. This is my wife's 10 year at
Championships (91 and 93 to present). She is deaf, so her comments
focus exclusively on the visual aspects of the show. My daughter is
9, and this is the 6th year she has attended Championships.
The weather tonight was perfect for a drum corps show. It was much
cooler and less humid than yesterday. There was a gentle breeze all
day that picked up a bit as the evening went on. Attendance seemed a
bit light for semi-finals. Our seats were on the 45-yard line on side
1 in the 6th row of the upper deck, so we had an excellent
Seattle Cascades - 78.3
He Said: We were a few minutes late getting to the stadium, so I had
to watch them from the tunnel. From what I did see and hear, them
seemed to have a better show than yesterday. They declared Div I
status for next year, so I hope we will continue to see great things
from this corps.
She Said: She did not see the show because we were late.
Out of the mouths of babes: She did not see the show because we were
Mandarins - 79.3
He Said: They had a much better show tonight than yesterday. After a
second viewing, I liked their show more. They play some very
demanding runs near the end of the show, and they actually march at
the same time - unlike most of the other corps out there that
stand still when the music gets tough.
She Said: They have a nice visual program for a small corps.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were pretty good. I liked the
flags, but thought the guard was not very good at catching their
Southwind - 80.05
He said: They had a strong show today. Their performance was a step
up from yesterday, but their score dropped - can you say
She said: They have a beautiful visual program. The drill is very
nice, and the overall program has a nice flow. The colors used
(uniform, and flags) worked well.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were good. I liked the guard
uniforms, and thought the music and the guard work fit together really
Spirit - 84.05
He said: They had a strong show today. Like Southwind, their
performance was a step up from yesterday; however, unlike Southwind,
their score did not tank. They deserved to beat BK. They pulled out
a banner with the Spirit logo and Jim Ott's name and birth year
and year of his death at the end of their show. Why they did this is
beyond me. I didn't see how it tied into the show.
She said: This show does absolutely nothing for me. The drill did
not have much motion, and the guard was not all that great.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were OK. The show was kind of
Blue Knights - 83.9
He said: The show was very flat today, and there was more visual dirt
than yesterday. Spirit deserved to beat them.
She said: They did the best they could with the program. The theme
to the show was stupid.
Out of the mouths of babes: She did not watch them. She said they
were so boring yesterday that she would rather color than watch them.
Madison - 87.8
He said: They really did a great job tonight. They really performed
with a lot of emotion and energy, and got the crowd going. Awesome
She said: They were very entertaining. The corps performs with a lot
of raw energy, and there are a lot of neat visual treats. They are
not as demanding as some of the other corps, but at least they are
clean. I'd rather see something easier performed clean, than
something difficult not performed well.
Out of the mouths of babes: Outstanding! They were really loud and
the music was so exciting. The guard was good, and I liked the cymbal
tosses over the drums.
Carolina Crown - 87.6
He said: They were MUCH better than yesterday, but there was still
an awful lot of visual dirt. The guard had a really tough show
- lots of drops and work that was not together. Crown has
extended the whole percussion check pattern gig (read Dut, Dut, Dut)
to color guard check patterns. The guard check patterns were audible
in the upper deck. This is something we definitely can DO WITHOUT!
She said: The drill was too difficult for them. They move too fast,
and cannot perform the show cleanly. Madison should have beaten them
by a lot more than they did.
Out of the mouths of babes: There was too much stuff that was too
difficult for them to do. The guard was not good at catching tosses,
and the marching was messy. What's with the silver thingies?
Colts - 85.95
He said: They had a very solid show tonight. I thought it was on par
with yesterday, and it is definitely worth a 12th place spot. They
have a very good chance of breaking the record high score for a 12th
place corps this year.
She said: They were good. The show is entertaining and has a nice
theme. It's just not as clean as the past few corps.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were good. I liked when the guys
died when they were fighting.
Boston Crusaders - 89.05
He said: The show was more emotional tonight than yesterday, but
there was more visual dirt as a result. They really ran out of gas at
the end of the show. There were a lot of space outs at the end.
There were more missed entrances for the final statement than I could
count. Madison should have beaten them tonight.
She said: The weapon work was awesome! They started out great, but
faltered towards the end of their show.
Out of the mouths of babes: I liked the music. They were really
good, and they have a great guard. I liked the uniforms. They were
really good at throwing and catching things.
Bluecoats - 90.15
He said: They had a great show tonight. It was a big improvement
over last night. The only criticism was that the soloist during the
tango had a bit of trouble tonight.
She said: The tango was nice. The crowd seemed to really enjoy their
show. The overall program was well coordinated.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were good and so loud!
Crossmen - 91.15
He said: They had a great show tonight - it was much more
controlled than yesterday. They started out a bit tentative, but got
into a groove about half way through the opener. The soloists were a
bit off, but the rest of the corps was on.
She said: They really put their hearts into the performance. They
did a really great job. I say no glaring mistakes. They seemed to
really want to try and move up tonight. The guard was awesome!
Out of the mouths of babes: They were loud and really good. The
music was very exciting. The flags were SO good and the uniforms were
Phantom Regiment - 91.55
He said: They seemed a bit off tonight. There were a lot of timing
problems between brass and percussion and side to side during the
closer tonight. At the end of the show, one of the butterfly wing
flags got caught on the plume/helmet of one of the brass players, and
he/she just kept on going like it didn't happen, dragging the
flag along with them. That was one tough plume! I thought Crossmen
beat them tonight.
She said: They really looked tired today. There were a lot of
mistakes tonight that were not there yesterday. I love their program.
It's really beautiful - one of my favorite shows this
Out of the mouths of babes: I liked the music a lot and the guard
work really fit the music perfectly. I liked the butterfly flags at
the end. (she was singing Festive Overture - loves that piece).
Glassmen - 94.6
He said: I thought they were a little flat tonight. They were
cleaner, but just did not have the energy they had last night. Their
show is beginning to grow on me. The soloist in the ballad was
She said: Visually, they have a beautiful program. It really flows
well, but the show was a little bit boring. There were no big
"wow" moves or major visual spectacles.
Out of the mouths of babes: I didn't like them. They were
Santa Clara Vanguard - 95.4
He said: SCV was on fire! Absolutely awesome job tonight. They
raised the bar a notch higher. I thought they beat the Cadets and BD.
The sound of the brass line is sweet. The french horns and euphonium
line just make the sound so dark and rich.
She said: They were awesome! They march so fast and so clean. They
should be in the battle for the championship - not placed on the
bench like the judges have them.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were loud. I liked the closing
drill move with the blocks the spin around. I liked the music -
it was very exciting. When they were saying "New Era" it
was so cool.
Cadets - 97.2
He said: They had a very strong show tonight. The horn line and the
guard nailed their performances. It was a big step up from last
night. It's sad that the only exciting drill move they has is a
rip off from SCV from last summer (the star the rotates around into a
block). I thought they beat BD tonight.
She said: The opener was awesome, but then the whole show just went
down hill. The horn line lying on the field on their sides during the
ballad was just stupid. There was too much standing around.
I'd like their show a lot better if they marched the entire time
like they did in the opener.
Out of the mouth of babes: She didn't want to watch them,
because she said they were so boring yesterday.
Blue Devils - 97.5
He said: They too had a strong show tonight; however, the show itself
is just plain boring. The only part I like is the end of the opener.
What is their show called? Awayday Snooze? The different colored
backs to the guard's vests were distracting and annoying.
She said: Their color guard is their only asset. The rifle and saber
lines are fantastic, but I don't like the hats or the striped
pants. The drill is a real bore.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were BORING! Why can't they
do a show like they did two years ago? That was cool!
Cavaliers - 98.0
He said: They seemed to be really trying to turn up the energy
tonight, but lost a bit in execution. It was still a fantastic show.
If they can do both, I think they will win.
She said: 2001 Champions. There is nothing more I can say.
Out of the mouths of babes: They were great and the guard was totally
awesome. The music was fun and the marching was really cool.
2nd night in a row of great drum corps last night. Had great seats -- lower
2nd deck on the 48, a few rows behind the judges. This year has turned out
to be much stronger than last from top to bottom, as all 12 finalist shows
(and Spirit in 13th) were solid and entertaining after last year's kind of
hit-and-miss affair. Got their late due to traffic, so sorry about no
comments for Cascades, Mandarins and Southwind.
Spirit -- Great job! This show seemed to work really, really well for the
corps and they are definitely headed in the right direction. I thought that
they performed better, particularly from a hornline perspective on Thursday
than last night, however, as the horn line sounded a little ragged today
(over-hype?). That said, it is obvious that the relationship with JSU is
going to go great places. I think that Spirit will not only make finals next
year, but have a shot at top 10. If they had had as good a show last night
as they did on Thursday, they might have made finals tonight. The horn book
was excellent, and the train effects throughout were tastefully done.
Blue Knights -- There is not much positive I can say other than they
obviously had talent. The design of the show was very poor. I'm not going
to agree that the style wouldn't fit, but the visual program was extremely
poor, with drill too compact and virtually unreadable in many places. The
opening statement was solid. The show was VERY reminiscent of their last
fiasco -- the "dot" show in 95 ON THIS SAME FIELD!!!. 3 trips to Buffalo and
13, 13 and 14 for BK. Do you think they ever want to come back here again?
Colts -- This show does not project too well to the upper deck. Something
has happened to their horn line. From the deck, they were just not good (I
would have had brass in 14th). Poor intonation and tone quality. For the
most part, little volume, and when they did get loud, the sound was very
unfocused and blatty. Visually, they were solid.
Crown -- This show is a mess. It is a very likable mess, but it is a mess.
The guard is overly intrusive and ther work and the whole visual book is so
complex it could never possible be clean. Horn line had a much better
performance last night than they did at Quarters (being on time surely
helps...). I thought that the spread between them & Scouts was way too
small. Crown is getting a little more credit than they deserve for
difficulty when they are not executing it. Their position (11th), however,
is very deserved. Way ahead of anyone behind them.
Scouts -- I had them at about an 89 tonight. This is a solid and enjoyable
show. The horn line is excellent -- much better than last year, with a
terrific and very FOCUSED sound that project well. They are also much more
balanced than in the past few years. What they don't have is a visual show.
Scouts really need to assemble a new guard team. The gap between them and
Boston in quality of visual design (and guard performance) is HUGE. Boston
has more going on in 3 minutes than Scouts do in 10.5. I do love this show,
though, from a muscial standpoint and the closing minute is wonderful.
Boston -- OK! I like this show SO much better than when I saw it in Texas.
I still don't like the color scheme in the guard and silks at all, but I'm
not as offended by it. Musically, the show is inconsistent. At times great,
at others disjointed. The ending is a perfect example. The tag ending does
not develop enough of a musical thought -- it's too short. And the corps
uses the same body poses at both "ends." The balad is great and at times the
guard show is brialliant & classy. There are other times, thought that they
don't add to the show as they should (the end of the ballad should have a
great flag statement to add emotion, not an ensemble sabre feature, IMO).
They are placing where they should, I believe.
Bluecoats -- WOW. This was a fantastic show last night. More than ANYONE
else, Bluecoats create a mood with this show that leaves you almost
breathless. They create a moment in time where 10.5 minutes go by incredibly
fast. This was much more apparent last night, as their show projected and
sold much better than on Thursday. The tango section is unbelievable. The
only corps of the night that gave me chills twice. By far Canton's best show
since 1995 -- ON THIS SAME FIELD!!! The hornline was absolutely fantastic,
with an awesome, rich sound. Visually, they are not on Boston's level from a
design level (or with guard), and that is probably the only reason that they
are not fighting for 5th. Musically they are that good.
Crossmen -- This is another great show! Very classy, with a terrific and
consistent feel throughout. Drill lacks a lot of demand (especially when
viewed right before Phantom), but guard is great and this is probably their
best horn line ever. The color scheme for the guard is outstanding
throughout. Great, great silks that carry the feel of the show (take note,
Phantom -- I must have seen a different show than some tonight, because
except for a phasing tear near the end of the show, I thought their horn line
was much better tonight. What this corps does when they are playing soft and
controlled is unbelievable -- and that takes more skill than any other type
of playing. They are approaching Star's old level of ability in playing soft
and controlled with terrific tone quality and releases. The symphonic sound
of the corps is a pure joy to listen to and the show really flies throughout.
What's missing? Well, the drill for the opening to Festive is lacking
(otherwise Phantom's best drill since 94). Also, the drum line almost seems
non-existent (10th in Percussion???). One last request, Phantom -- when you
hit the impacts, unleash the horn line some more. 72 horns should blow you
over and Phantom never acheives that. Part of that is their field placement,
as they are often spread over 50 or more yards and well off the front. Kudos
for that, as NO ONE spreads the field this year like Phantom, but you need
some heavy impact points so fill out the show. I hope the find something
dark, angry and LOUD to give the Low Brass a chance to shine next year.
Glassmen -- I have to admit, this show has really grown on me. There are a
few things I don't like (the squat sections at beginning and end and the bad
music that goes with it), but the rest of the show is by far their best yet.
The ballad is fantastic. The show also has a very "Cavalier" feel to it --
Especially in the ballad and the closer.
Vanguard -- I actually think Glassmen should be beating them. I love their
show, but the horn line is not up to snuff. The trumpets really stick out
like a sore thumb in places, with an unpleasant, unsupported sound. They are
one corps that has really suffered from the switch to Bb's.
Cadets, BD & Cavalers. I'm running late, so I won't say much (besides, I
think too much focus and attention are given to the top 4 anyway.) I enjoy
their shows, and I will say this -- Kudos to Cadets, as I hated this show in
July, and I love it now. That is by far the best hornline in DCI.
Beautiful. And Cavies -- wow.
Cant' wait for tonight! This is the best 3 days of the year, every year.
Well I finally got some time to write a quick review about last night's show.
Overall, a great show filled with lots of entertainment and some surprises.
Seattle Cascades - Big corps, excellent sound and good power. I really enjoyed
their show and thought they had beat Mandarins. If this corps keeps grwing,
they will be Div I soon.
Mandarins - Visually a neat show and some nice marching, but music was weak.
Lots of people sticking out of the texture, overall balance was poor and way
too much fracking going on. Though Seattle should have beat them in perc and
brass (maybe they did, I didn't check recaps).
Southwind - Very nice brass performance of "Fanfare for a New Era" by Jack
Stamp. Good intonation for the most part and solid timing. The drill seemed too
scattered and hard to read after the opening tune, but I did enjoy this show
and look forward to their continued success.
Spirit - Let me say that I didn't know Jason Loewe (SP?), but I have read many
of his posts and can only imagine what a tremendous and wonderful person he
was. I was glad that DCI had a moment of silence for him and my condolences go
out to his family, friends, and the drum corps community at large. I am sure
Jason was there last night! And that being the case, Spirit didn't dissapoint
him. I thought there show was well done. I love "Ghost Train." A complex,
unique, and most difficult work to put on the field, and they did an excellent
job of performming, and of bringing out those unique moments which I thought
helped to make it more entertaining for the fans. Horns had some good power and
the guard was very nice last night. I most enjoyed, however, their rendition of
"Salvation is Created" for their warm up, and you can imagine how hard is must
have been for them to perform it--but it was beautiful!
Blue Knights - BK was an interesting ride for me. From the performance
perspective, they have a better horn line and drum line than a number of corps
that made finals, but their show is so disjunct and hard to follow that GE and
Visual had to be what killed them. There show sounded like a parody on
Gershwin's "American in Paris." Much in the opening strains really hinted at
that work, yet you could never really grab onto any musical line long enough to
get into it. Then they play the middle section, a ballad, and they play the
heck out of it, just beautiful. And here it is obvious that this comes from the
Gershwin. However, the last part of the show moves back to playing around with
the themes from the music, but never fully developing any of the themes. Too
bad, they had the brass and percussion, and marching execution to be top 2 in
Colts - I saw them in Erie, PA and loved them, but they were sloppy and not
quite "ON" last night. Still love the music, but their horns need a better
performance tonight. Good overall staging of the show and the ideas flow pretty
well. Horns and drums need to address timing issues tonight, and if they do it
should be an great show. Congrats on making it back into finals, Colts.
Carolina Crown - Good overall sound and blend, intonation was good, and
percussion was strong. There guard is very good and they have a physical
program. Don't care for all the equipment on the field. It looks like they are
building a house back there. The move with the tires is kind of neat, but maybe
it is just how they staged all this equipment that bothered me--don't know. The
music is very good to listen to, but marching execution was sloppy and will
hurt them tonight if they don't clean and the Colts execute better.
Madison Scouts - Love it!!! Entertainment! Madison's show this year is really
enjoyable and well worth the price of admission. Their horns and drums are
performing very demanding books and doing it quite well. I love "Ballet in
Brass" and the whole show is based on that theme, except the middle tune. There
are some nice groove moments in the show that get the crowd snapping their
finger and tapping their toes and the closer is solid Madison. Maybe not the
most exciting I have seen them, but definitely entertaining none the less. If
they were just a tad cleaner in all areas this show could contend for top 5.
The last chord of the show is held out forever and the fans go nuts. It is a
site to see! Go Scouts!
Boston Crusaders - Very nice show! The opening stuff seems too much like last
year's to have the same kind of effect that it did last year, but I still
enjoyed it and theye are performing well. Brass sounds good, balance is
excellent most of the time, percussion is solid, and their marching is very
good. They are simply more consistent at these things than are the Scouts and
that is why there was a bigger gap there over quarters (after the penalty for
the Scouts). However, if the Scouts nail their show tonight, they could sneak
up on Boston. Should be within .5 in my opinion.
Bluecoats - WOW! Blue came out to play and they sold their show big time. Huge
horn sound, lots of power--maybe more than Scouts and Boston. There was no
doubt that they beat Boston last night, but that could also change. I thought
Boston had the tougher overall show, but they lack the GE Music and GE Visual
of the Bluecoats show. Loved the ballad last night, although the soloists were
a bit off with their performances. Beautiful guard integration in the Coats
show, much better than any of the corps prior to their performance except for
maybe Crown. Best Bluecoats show since 1995! Go Canton!!!!
Crossmen - WOW - Awsome show guys! Yeah, this was one of the top two most
entertaining shows of the night (Madison and Crossmen). Great arrangements and
solid playing. Soloists were on fire last night and the crowd gets into this
show. I love the percussion feature and the overall visual package is
excellent. They need to go back to white pants, that is my only
request--PLEASE!!! Great show guys, just awesome!
Phantom Regiment - Yeah, I love it. Talk about demand and exposure to error,
the Regiment is playing the most demanding musical book on the field this year
(at least as difficult as Cadets, but I think even a tad more difficult). This
was the first horn line of the night to really WOW to crowd in terms of demand
and excellence on a higher plane. Their overall show was solid last night, but
those phasing problems that I noticed in Erie, PA are still there. However, the
individual phrasing problems that they were having in regards to dropping the
ends of phrases (and leaving others hanging out to dry) are gone! The Bartok
was a gas and Festive Overture was incredible. There was a major phasing
problem in Festive about midway through and it last for about a good 5 to 6
seconds, so everybody noticed it. Even with that problem, there is almost no
way to completely elliminate some of this, the program is just that difficult.
The visual designer has the corps spread all over the place as well, so
cleaning some of that stuff is just going to be hard. I love the ending. The
corps pushes to the front side line then expands the form to cover the entire
field (5 yard line to 5 yard line). Very nice and powerful. Personally, this is
a better brass line than SCV, Cavies and Glassmen. And I am not cutting on
those lines, but even with the phasing problems, I wish the judges would take a
closer look and listen to how Phantom is really playing--they are missing the
boat. Phantom should be in 3rd in brass performance IMO.
Glassmen - Snooze! Ok, I did enjoy some of this show, and they execute the heck
out of the visual program, but come on, try to entertain the audience a bit.
The flugel soloist in the ballad is wonderful (by far the best solo of the
night), but this show is a flop IMO. And there is no way that Glassmen should
be beating Phantom in brass (but like I said I didn't check recaps). G-men's
musical book is easy and choppy. Very effect driven with lots of power chords
in the right spots to enhance the visual, but not a lot of linear line to grab
onto, and that is where the demand issue becomes a big one for me. This is a
music activity first and foremost, is it not? Maybe I am wrong about that. It
is much more difficult to play what Phantom is (and the crowd likes it better)
than it is to play was Glassmen are. To the members of the Glassmen, Bravo on a
fine and well executed performance, but I just hate the show and its concept.
Santa Clara Vanguard - Neat show. I love "A Short Ride in a Fast Machine." Very
well done and the brass sound is big and dark--excellent tubas (contras). Upper
brass was having problems with pitch control and timing issues, and the
baritones were still fracking lots of passages. To be expected actually, the
music is very difficult and all those articulation in Short Ride make it
difficult to nail when you are marching at those tempos. The middle part of the
show kind of sits there, then the corps starts to jam and the crowd gets into
it big time. The New Era rap at the end is neat--lot's of fun. I think the
audience needs to participate in order for this to be effective. Maybe we can
do that tonight. Solid 4th place show, but no higher. Kudos, SCV!
Cadets - Awesome musical mastery of a very demanding book! And, thank you for
playing music that is easy to listen to and even, dare I say, hum. This is the
most complex musical book next to Phantom's. There were some fracks last night,
and the lead trumpet player completely biffed his high note in the first big
chord of the show after the fanfare. Having said that, I am not sure anyone
should have been close to this horn line--not even BD, and they are incredible.
There was a sophistication to their sound that nobody esle had, they were a
wind ensemble on wheels. However, in drum corps I don't think the judges always
buy into that. If they play their butts off tonight, they should win high
brass, drums, and music GE. Other parts of their show may hurt them tonight,
but overall this is a great show to watch and the crowd was very into them last
night. Go Cadets!!!
Blue Devils - Another high octane performance by BD. I like this show, but not
as much as their 80s and early 90s stuff. The music is a bit choppy, and like
the Glassmen, very effect driven. Not a lot of melodies to grab onto, but it is
more enjoyable than the G-men. Most of the people around me thought they were
in 3rd. I had them in 3rd too, thoughts Cadets took 2nd only a tenth under the
Cavies. BD's guard is amazing. They nailed everything and I love those unis.
great baritone sound from this corps. The trumpet solo towards the end of the
show was very nice, but the overall trumpet section sound was a bit forced. The
ending of the show was ok, but nothing spectacular--as with Madison, Phantom,
Cadets, and Cavies.
Cavaliers - 98.0, I don't know about that? They were a bit too sloppy to be
getting a score that high, but if the Glassmen are a 94 something, then Cavies,
BD, and Cadets are like a 105 something. I just don't get what the judges are
seeing in the Glassmen's show. But that's off the subject, I did think Cavies
deserved to win, but by only a tenth or so over Cadets. The visual and general
effect program of the Cavaliers is unmatched and incredibly fun to watch. Their
percussion did not seem to be as tight, but brass was solid. The music is fun
to listen to and at times has a 70s funk flavor to it (almost Earth Wind and
Fire like). Overall, this is the show to beat tonight, and I doubt anyone will.
They have that total show package and it is really fun to watch and listen to.
Go Cavies and Kudos to you on a great season!
Here are my opinions on some areas of performance:
5) Carolina Crown/SCV
Enjoy tonight everybody and good luck to all the corps. It has been another
good year for DCI!
Thursday August 9
Buffalo, NY (DCI Championship Quarterfinals)
The first comment I have to make is about Madison. I was so relieved to find out
they received a 3.6 penalty (after the competition was over). I admit it- I booed
(along with almost the entire crowd) when their 84.65 was announced. Most of the us
(in my section) sat their in disbelief and disgusted thinking that was their actual
score. A man in front of us kept shaking his head and making comments to his wife
like none of us knew what we were talking about. Obviously we were all right in
thinking a 84.65 was too low.
Second of all. Because it was so hot, I didnít make it until Spirit went on, so
thatís where Iíll start my review.
SPIRIT: I really liked this show. The brass line was powerful, effective, and well
balanced. The package was well designed and entertaining. I was very pleased. The
only negative- if you cannot do effective weapons work, then donít do weapons work at
all, it really created a negative effect. I thought 13th. Judges thought 14th =
BLUE KNIGHTS: It was very hard for me, being a big Blue Knights fan, to sit
through this show without feeling a loss. I want to be honest in my review and avoid
being cruel, so I will do my best... although I fear I will fail.
There was very little I liked about this show. All sections were very inconsistent,
weak, and executed their product poorly. The music and visual package were almost
completely ineffective and were very lacking in terms of entertainment. I couldnít
tell if they were trying to be amusing or be serious with an amusing theme. Again-
if you cannot do decent weapons work, then donít do it at all. Like last year, I
thought their guard work was horribly designed and the weapons distracted from their
product because I was scratching my head thinking, "they actually want to try to sell
this weapons work?"
There were a few excellent visual components in this show - but I felt their
brilliance was wasted on an overall sub-par product. I love this corps, and wish them
the best. I thought 14th. Judges thought 13th - 84.55.
COLTS: I really liked this show. It was very well designed, and they definitely
were on a different level than Spirit and BK. The drill was effective and executed
very well. I didnít care for the shields work they did during the drum solo- but that
was minor. Brass, percussion, and guard were good and they did well in selling their
product. Great show. I thought 12th. Judges thought 10th - 86.40.
CAROLINA CROWN: They also received a penalty for being late- although I donít know
what the amount was. There isnít anything I can say that is negative about this show.
I thought it was awesome. What a thrilling concept and the design was excellent. The
guard was incredible, and the brass and percussion sections played well. I thought
10th. Judges thought 11th - 84.70.
BOSTON CRUSADERS: I was disappointed here. I felt for what they did on the field
they were scored way to high. It seemed as though the performers had no concern for
intervals - they were not consistent throughout the entire performance. The drill was
very sloppy and the brass was quite weak. On the flip side - the guard was absolutely
incredible and the whole package sells. Great entertainment value here. The biggest
flaw was the color scheme of the flags in relation to the mustard uniforms. Really
created a nasty effect. They need to learn how to use flags that donít clash with
their unis. Guard was just awesome- rifle work was excellent. I thought 11th.
Judges thought 9th - 88.55.
BLUECOATS: They looked so elegant coming onto the field. I love their uniforms.
Their show was great. Very well balanced and well performed. Guard really enhanced
the product. Fantastic brass line. Loud, powerful, and very well balanced. Drill
was nice....not too difficult, but well performed. I thought 9th. Judges thought 8th
MADISON SCOUTS: I really focused on the technical side of their show. I wanted
to find what was "wrong," for lack of a better term. I had a hard time doing so. I
spent time just wactching their feet, which were great... almost flawlessly in
unison.... Heal - toe is there - everyone does it... in unison throughout the entire
show. I heard they have problems with their feet - I didnít see it. Show was
fantastic. Pure entertainment and very well designed. It was the most pleasant
surprise of the night. They did some really nice things visually. The biggest
problem was the guard. Itís very small and sometimes only a few members of the guard
are used. It was almost like they didnít have a guard at some points in the show.
Ending was fantastic- couldnít even hear it because the crowd was so loud. I had them
in a close 8th (on Phantomís heels). Judges thought 12th - 84.65. Of course the
penalty bumps their "real" score up to 88.25, which is good enough for 10th... but
is still frankly an insult.
PHANTOM REGIMENT: This is a hard one. There were things I loved about this show,
and things I didnít like. The opener was purely awesome. Great runs, fantastic
brass. However, I take issue here. Every single time their brass had any demanding
moments - throughout the entire show - they were stationary. It makes me say, "big
deal! What corps out there couldnít play those runs with brilliant clarity if they
were stationary?" Itís not difficult to learn to play killer runs in a stationary
position. Visually I thought the design was very poor. There wasnít any clarity to
their transitions from form to form. It was like nice form, blob, nice form, blob,
and so on throughout the entire show. Festive Overture had its ups and downs also.
Moments were thrilling, others seemed incoherent. Guard was great. Horns were
wonderful- but I would like to see how they are if they actually moved while playing
those insane runs. I thought 7th. Judges thought 6th - 90.55.
CROSSMEN: Great show... top to bottom. Guard was incredible. Horns and percussion
were great. Loved the horn moves. Very well done. I thought they had a solid lock
on 6th. Judges put them 7th - 90.40.
GLASSMEN: Liked this show a lot. I thought, however, that it could have been
more entertaining. It seemed the whole show, except for the ballad, consisted of
alternating brass hits and percussion features. It was still very impressive. Brass
and percussion were tight. Very loud on the impacts. Quite a great show overall. I
really appreciate their effort. Visual package was excellent. A very well deserved
5th. They got what I thought they should have, 93.80.
SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: My biggest disappointment of the night. This show seems
incomplete across the board - from start to finish. Short Ride seems like it was
hosed so much that it is just a skeleton of a piece. I didnít like the chant at all...
they stand still. Although the guard was cool during the chant. Great brass line.
Guard was very good. Show is in no way shape or form a championship caliber show.
94.90. They were put right where I thought they should be.
Side note: A man wearing an SCV Staff Shirt came up after SCV was done performing
and sat behind us. When SCVís score was announced, he chimed "bull$hit!" Then he
said, "I donít see how Cavies can win with that. I mean that was f&*(ing $hit!"
Very surprised to see someone apparently affiliated with SCV making comments like
CADETS: FANTASTIC!!!!!! This was hands down my favorite show of the night. Who
cares if the pieces donít go together? They are all entertaining and the Cadets
perform the hell out of them. They are judged on how they perform, not what they
perform. Excellent across the board. Brass was hands down the best of the night.
Guard was great. I thought 1st. Judges put them 3rd - 96.70. My money for Saturday
night is now on the Cadets. WOW!
CAVALIERS: Eh? Donít have much to say. Very well performed, but not what I was
expecting. Not nearly at the level of last years show - from a design standpoint.
Well performed. I thought 3rd. Judges put them 1st - 97.20.
BLUE DEVILS: I have said on this board that I thought their drill was easy. Well-
I was totally wrong. This drill was great and had some really tough demand within it.
They performed it very well. Excellent show- top to bottom. Liked their visual show
better than anyoneís tonight - never thought I would say that. They did some cool
things out there. Guard was wonderful. Brass didnít seem as tight as Iím used to.
Thought Cadets would have beaten them through Brass & Percussion. I thought 2nd.
Judges put them 2nd - 96.75.
This afternoon started off hot and windy. The temperature was well
into the 90s, and the winds were strong and gusty. Despite the fact
that the upper deck was open for seating and it was extremely hot, the
stadium concessions were not available on the upper deck until the
show was well under way. It's not like you can just go down a
few staircases to get to the first level either. The path down to the
first level is way off to the side and ends on the extreme end of the
stadium, and then you have to walk back to the middle of the stadium
to stairs to take you down to the level to where concessions are
served. Then the concession personnel insist on opening the bottled
drinks for you and retaining the cap. As a result, you can't
close the bottle to reduce the risk of spills, you have to wait much
longer in line, and you pay 3 times cost. What a bargain, eh? It is
almost impossible to go for a drink between corps and not miss a show.
This type of situation is something that can be addressed by DCI.
Concession availability on all decks should be mandated in the
contract with the stadium. DCI needs to flex its economic muscle.
World Championships is one of the nations top annual conventions. DCI
should be sure they are treated as such. I frequently attend
conventions all over the country for business, none of which have the
attendance the size of DCI, yet we are ALWAYS treated better by the
sponsor. Enough of the ranting, and on to the reviews.
Patriots - 72.6
This was my one and only viewing of Patriots, and I must admit that I
was disappointed. The music was very inaccessible and unmemorable,
the marching was very dirty, there were misses step offs, the tone
quality and intonation in the brass was not very good, and the guard
attempted several very high or far tosses, and I don't think any
of them were caught. I thought their score was WAY too high.
Capital Regiment - 73.45
Like the Patriots, this was my one and only viewing of Capital
Regiment; however, I was very impressed by their performance. The
musical selections were not only appropriate for the talent level of
the corps, they were very entertaining as well. The soloists were
excellent, and the drill was very well written for the musical
selections, the size of the corps, and the talent level of the kids.
There were a few intonation problems in the brass, and the guard had a
bit of difficulty with the wind (as did most of the earlier performing
corps), but the overall performance was very good. I thought their
score was about right, but I thought they had beaten the Spartans.
Nice job Capital Regiment!
Spartans - 73.8
Once again, this was my one and only viewing of the Spartans. The
Gladiator theme and musical selections were well suited for a corps
their size; however, the TQ&I of the brass line left much to be
desired. There were MANY interval problems and lots of dirt in the
drill. The guard had a lot of difficulty with the wind, but
otherwise, seemed pretty good. The percussion line was the dirtiest
of the three corps performing so far. I thought their score was too
high, and I thought that Capital Regiment beat them handily.
Seattle Cascades - 79.35
This was my first viewing of Seattle cascades, and thankfully it will
not be my last. What a wonderful show and performance! This corps
could be a Division I corps! The show is very well designed, and was
performed fantastically by these kids. I was extremely impressed.
There were a few TQ&I problems with the brass, but they were not all
that bad. The drum line was very good for a Division II corps. I
thought their score was about right, but I thought they beat the
Mandarins - 80.85
This was my first viewing of Mandarins, and I was left thinking to
myself - this is a very nice drum corps. Nothing great, nothing
terrible - just nice. The brass and percussion are both good,
but the brass had several sections that were a bit on the rough side
(TQ&I and runs). Their guard is strong once again, but they too
experienced difficulty with the gusty winds. I didn't think
they had a great show this afternoon - it just seemed kind of
flat. I thought that Seattle Cascades buried them this afternoon.
Also, they were only 1.2 behind Southwind. Whatever drugs the judges
were taking, I'd like to know what they are and where they are
getting them. There is absolutely no way that Mandarins are anywhere
near that close to Southwind I am sorry to say.
Kiwanis Kavaliers - 72.8
I am afraid that once again a great injustice has been done to the
kids in the activity due to the ridiculous way corps make it into
quarterfinals these days. Had all of the corps performed in a
preliminary round for a shot at quarterfinals, I do not think KK would
have made the cut. They were rightfully sitting in last place this
year, but received a Quarterfinals position with DCI membership and
board representation, yet there are probably several other Div II/III
corps that could beat them and deserved that spot. This is the same
thing that happened with Tarheel Sun last year, and L'Insolte
the year before.
It is obvious this corps got a late start. There were TQ&I problems
with the brass, lots of fuzz in the percussion, the guard had a tough
show (wind problems, etc.), and the drill still had a lot of dirt left
to clean. The biggest crowd reaction came when the pit started
playing New York, New York, but alas, it was just a tease. They never
actually played the tune. I think they would have had a much better
audience response had they closed with that tune, as opposed to the
collage of NY themes they used. They could have lost the props too,
and the show would have been better off. They added nothing. The
soloists were actually quite good. It's really too bad to see
this happen. KK has had some very good shows and performances these
past few years. I wish they could have gotten an earlier start and
had the chance to clean and perform the program on the level it seemed
they could have, if they had the time.
Troopers - 76.2
Troopers had the presence of a Division I corps on the field, even
though there were Div II corps on the field with greater numbers.
They just had more confidence in their performance. They are a young
corps this year, and had a few rough spots in their performance as a
result (i.e., TQ&I in brass, fuzz in the snares, etc.). They have a
very good show from a design standpoint, and they performed it well.
As much as I like Aaron Copland, I wish the Troopers would look
elsewhere for their repertoire. I thought their score was about
Pioneer - 79.3
Their show was much improved since I saw them last in Indianapolis.
Their brass line did a good job for their size, and the arrangements
were good. Their drum line was back in usual form - solid as a
rock for a corps their size. The guard seemed to either have a few
new people that had recently learned the show or they recently changed
work that a few members had trouble remembering. There were just a
few individuals that seemed to be making mistakes throughout the show.
Overall, a nice performance from Pioneer. I thought they beat the
Mandarins; however, Seattle Cascades deserved to beat them.
Southwind - 82.05
Southwind has a nice show; however, it does seem to lack impact. For
a corps their size, I expected more volume during the impact points.
Overall, the horn line has a very nice sound, the drum line plays very
well, and the guard does a pretty good job. From a design standpoint,
it's a good show - it just never really does anything. I
thought their placement was correct; however, the spreads were wrong.
They should have been closer to Spirit, and MUCH higher than
Spirit - 84.5
This show was an absolute treat. It is well designed, and was
performed exceptionally well tonight. The brass sound did get just a
bit ragged at the end of the show, but it was most likely due to the
energy in which those kids performed. They really poured it on today,
and they got a great crowd response. I thought they topped BK and
Crown today, and without their .1 penalty, they would have.
Blue Knights - 84.55
OK, I'll just come out and say it - I HATE THIS SHOW.
Whoever designed this show should be taken out back and worked over a
couple of times. I really feel sorry for the members of BK. The
product they were provided is just terrible. They changed the guard
uniforms since Indianapolis - they are now light blue with
colored spots and lines and crap all over them, rather than white with
color spots and lines and crap all over them. The ending of the show
has been changed since Indianapolis as well. The new ending is
better, and there were no train wrecks like the one in Murphreesboro,
but it is still nothing special. They also changed Black Market
Juggler even more. It now sounds absolutely nothing like the version
performed by the Bridgemen. As for the performance, it was solid.
The kids in the corps did the best they could with what they were
given. Unfortunately, they were not given much. It is highly
unlikely they will make finals, and I thought that Spirit beat them,
but I thought they beat Crown.
Colts - 86.4
Overall, the Colts have a very well balanced corps. There are no
glaring weaknesses in any section, and there is no one section that
stands out from the others. The show is designed appropriately for
the talent of the corps, and the corps performed it exceptionally well
today. Except for one missed step off in the battle sequence (and it
was one really bad missed step off), their show tonight was rock
solid. Nice job tonight Colts! I thought their score was correct;
however, I thought they beat Crown and Madison beat them.
Carolina Crown - 84.7
Crown was late getting on to the field. They did not get a warm up,
and they were still setting up after the DM saluted. I can't
remember a time when corps arrived late like this in Championships
when they didn't lay a big fat egg. Crown was no exception.
Their show was an absolute train wreck, and they received a penalty of
2.5 points for starting late. I felt sorry for them, because I had
seen them perform so much better earlier this summer and know they
have it in them. I really hate this show. The wood props are just a
ugly distracting mess, the wood pieces used by the guard are simply
not clean and are not visible because the color of the guard uniforms
and the wood are the same, rolling tires around?, sheet metal?, the
sheet metal was not even close to being together - it lust looks
like an incredibly sloppy mess. This was probably a good idea on
paper, but somewhere it went completely awry. I thought that Colts
and Madison beat them, and quite possibly BK and Spirit as well, based
on their down performance.
Boston Crusaders - 88.55
Boston nailed their performance today. It was very emotional, and
received a rousing crowd response. They have added vocalizations to
the percussion feature, and they really add nothing to the show. It
was better without them. As far as their visual performance -
have you ever had a feeling of De ja vu? Or is that de ja Cru? I
thought their score was about right; however, I thought that Madison
edged them out.
Bluecoats - 89.7
BBBBLLLLLLUUUUUEEEE! What a terrific show from them today! The tango
footwork in the brass line was excellent. Their guard is really
good, and the overall show is just down right fun to watch. I have
not been a big fan of Bluecoats shows in the past, but these past
couple of years have really made me a Canton fan. I thought their
score and placement were correct.
Madison Scouts - 84.65
Madison, like Crown, was late getting on to the field. Madison;
however, did not seem to let it affect their performance at all. They
were on fire today! There was one soprano that fell in the opener
(can't scuff your feet on turf, ya know?!), but otherwise this
was one terrific show. They had a penalty of 3.6 points for starting
late, which would have put them just under BAC. I thought they should
have beaten BAC, but it was close.
Phantom Regiment - 90.55
SUTA! Wow, what a difference a couple of weeks makes. Phantom
changed the end of the show, so now it actually ends like you expect a
drum corps show to end. They really cleaned up a ton, and put on one
helluva show tonight. I was not a big fan of their show earlier in
the year, but after the changes they made and all the cleaning they
did, I am a BIG fan of their show now. It is truly a wonderful
product that is performed incredibly well. I thought they deserved to
beat the Crossmen, but they should have scored much closer to the
Crossmen - 90.4
Crossmen really poured it on tonight - and the show suffered as
a result. It was a bit ragged at times, both musically and visually.
The show is really entertaining, and it was nice to have three corps
in a row with very audience oriented programs. Their guard is
amazing, and their drum line is much improved over last year. The
horn line was really smoking tonight. Great job Bones!
Glassmen - 93.8
I like this year's edition of the Glassmen. I don't love
it, but I don't hate it either. The musical selections could be
a bit more "fan friendly", but they are no worse than the
Blue Devils. Both shows are filled with short brass bursts, followed
by or accompanied with thundering licks, then power chords. Glassmen
DO have a visual program. The drill is very good, and has a beautiful
flow to it. It is actually interesting to watch. The fluegal horn
soloist in the ballad is absolutely amazing. I do wish the guard
would use equipment during the ballad, rather then dance; however, the
same could be said for BD (as well as others). They also had a pretty
ugly fall by one brass player in the opener. Guys - YOU
CAN"T SCUFF YOUR FEET ON TURF! Great job tonight Glassmen.
Santa Clara Vanguard - 94.9
Awesome performance tonight by SCV! This is the first time I have
seen them really fired up when they performed. They had an extremely
emotional performance. Their show is an absolute treat to watch.
They have added even more visuals along the whole time/clock/watch
theme that have added to the program. The crowd LOVED New Era -
especially the bottle dance tease. I thought they beat both the
Cadets and Blue Devils tonight.
Cadets - 96.7
The runs added to the beginning of the show (ala 1997) really add
nothing. It's like having 2 introductions. The first one is
like "hey, look at how many notes we can cram into the opening
seconds of the show", then on to the show. It just
doesn't fit well, and seems like a desperate attempt to try and
fix a flawed show design. They have added a lot of vocalizations
- A LOT of them. Again, they add nothing. I am less than
impressed by Cadets this year. They spend so much time standing still
and meandering around the field. WHY NOT MARCH for crying out loud!
The "curvy I am not a rifle thingies" still look like
rifles. Sorry George, they just do. Even my 9-year-old thought they
were bent rifles. This show simply does not do anything for me. The
performance is excellent. The brass line is amazing, and worthy of
the top brass honors. The drum line is tight, and should be in
contention for top percussion honors. The guard is good - when
they are doing work. The rest of the show just seems to sit there.
All the while, the design team has added more runs and guard
vocalizations in a vain attempt to convince us that the show is really
something. Sorry guys. Better luck next year. I thought their score
was about right, but I thought that SCV beat them.
Cavaliers - 97.2
Cavies just seemed a bit flat to me tonight. Their show is a visual
treat, even though there is still a bit of dirt and body carriage
issues. The drum line is like a machine. The guard is fantastic.
The brass is the best they have had in a long long time. They
performed well tonight, and deserved the score they got. The show
just seemed a bit flat. If they turn it on tomorrow and Saturday
night, I think they will be unstoppable.
Blue Devils - 96.75
I pretty much feel the same way about BD as I do about Glassmen. They
have a nice show that I neither love nor hate. Someone posted
recently that BD's arrangements sound so angry. I think that
pretty much sums up this year's edition. The drum line plays at
3 dynamic levels - nothing, LOUD, and F@$*%&G LOUD! I thought
they were a bit flat tonight. Technically, they perform extremely
well. It's just that their performance is like a hospital
- clean, but totally devoid of emotion. I thought that SCV
edged them out tonight.
I just returned home last night from quarterfinals. I had a great seat..5
seats off the 50 and half way up the lower deck. It was hot, but not nearly
as bad as it could've been seeing temps. elsewhere, and it was nice at night.
The stadium has an excellent sound.
Patriots: good musical quality at times in both brass and percussion, but
inconsistent in brass today. Percussion played very well at times. Guard had
a rough day...many drops. Music was a bit abstract, and lacked continuity and
emotion. I had them above Spartans and a toss-up with Capital Regiment...
Capital Regiment: a spirited performance. Had some good sounding moments, but
also lapses in tone quality/blend/intonation. Percussion had some consistency
performance problems, too. a good young corps.
Spartans: They performed with emotion. However, major problems in brass tone
quality and intonation, imo the roughest of the day brass-wise. Percussion also
had execution concerns. OK visual show. I had them last due to significant
Seattle: Great opening with big sound and energy...unfortunately had trouble
sustaining that energy level. They play very well at times, but then tended to
lapse in easier sections. Fairly large size.....if they don't rush things,
they could develop into a major division I player in the near future. I had
them neck and neck with Mandarins. Overall score, though, for both Seattle and
Mandarins WAY too high, and both should have finished below Pioneer and
significantly behind Southwind.
Mandarins: they do perform very well with a small hornline, and displayed alot
of confidence. All sections were competent, with some interesting music.
Field spreads seemed to be a bit big for such a small corps, but they did
perform well, although I do not think the effect levels were the level of the
scores given, which seemed very inflated.
Kiwanis Kavaliers: Considering they had such a rough season, they did not
perform badly. I don't think the kids were given much of a vehicle show-wise,
as the arrangements didn't sell. I felt they were better than the first 3
corps in terms of quality and maturity of performance, but they were spared no
mercy judging-wise today.
Troopers: From a quality standpoint, it was not a bad performance here. They
need better musical arrangements, and they shoot themselves in the foot by
playing charts that have already been done in the past by champion corps....you
can't help but compare.....they have talent to build on here......
Pioneer: A good performance today. This is another corps that could use more
effective arrangements....they perform well, but they need a vehicle. I still
had them in semis, and was somewhat floored that they were edged by Seattle and
Southwind: I thought they played a nice job today. The hornline has a fine
musical sound and balance most of the time. More impact could've helped sell
this show. The arrangements were interesting, but seemed to lack continuity a
bit. Proficient in all captions, I did feel there score was a bit low, and
should have been way ahead of those behind them.
Spirit: 1st surprise of the day for me. I saw them on 6/30, and they were big
but ragged. I also noticed stagnant scores in July. Somebody did homework.
They did a job today, especially brass-wise, and sold the program. They came a
long way since June, and it is a shame they came up a bit short..in many a year
this show would've been in. I had them over Blue Knights.
Blue Knights: the talent was there, but not the vehicle. If they wanted to
succeed at field humor/etc., they should have gone back and studied some old
Bridgemen and VK shows. The performance level was ok, but they did not
generate much excitement. Good percussion with a very resonant snare sound.
Hopefully will come up with better arrangements and be back strong next year.
Colts: Balanced in all sections; no huge strengths, but no big weaknesses,
either. Show has some good musical moments and a decent visual program.
Crown: When I saw this 6/30, I wasn't buying it. Whereas I still think they
had trouble selling this program, they did improve much and were performing,
and they did try something different...Especially noteworthy were solid
performances in percussion and guard. Sopranos were weak at times.
Boston: They had a fine visual program with a well-integrated guard.
Unfortunately, the music arrangements don't have the continuity or fire of last
year's. They did have some difficult sections. Brass did not reach high
performance level as others in their scoring range. Still, they have come a
long when you compare them to where they were 3 years ago.
Bluecoats: Very full brass sound, and they played a fine music job today. They
were noticeably tighter in ensemble than last week in Philly. They sold their
show pretty well and gave a solid performance.
Madison: biggest brass sound of the day, yet maintained control. Arrangements
have deceptive difficulty when you consider the dynamic range demanded of the
performers as well as the range of the horn, especially sopranos. The
arrangments were also well-written, had great continuity/emotion, and they sold
them. Percussion and ensemble were solid, too. I do agree that they need to
step up the visual program in order to contend again, although they did seem to
execute their drill well. I felt they were underscored based on strong musical
performance as well as music effect.
Phantom Regiment: Their written musical book is imo the best thing on the
field this year. Full supported sound with excellent blend and articulation in
the brass. Arrangements have continuity and emotion so lacking in many other
programs. They sold this show. I feel they are also closer visually to corps
above them than the numbers given to them, and also felt the corps was
underscored. They are taking heat percussion-wise, which leads me to believe
that the judges are not intimately familiar with the original works, as the
percussion is arranged very well, but doesn't distract from the brass line.
They have a bit of dirt there, but are not getting credit for musicality. This
is a fine corps that IMO should have been 4th and on TV....Glassmen musically
are nowhere close to this corps.
Crossmen: strong in all captions today, and they have a good musical book which
also sells. Color guard does much to sell the visual program, and percussion
is much improved over last year, fits well, and performed well. The middle is
tough this year, but I had them in 6th, behind Phantom, and just above
Madison.....below Madison in Music, perc. a toss-up, and significantly ahead of
Madison in visual/CG, and solidly above Glassmen.
Glassmen: great drill and strong percussion. Weak arrangements: overuse of
dissonance, using resolved power chords (which they play well) to try to "make
it alright". Some noticeable articulation and intonation problems. Brass and
GE Music numbers for this corps are HORRIBLY inflated. Arrangements lack
continuity and emotion. Show comes off as "drill with musical accompaniment".
Perhaps I could buy their placement with a strong brass book and performance,
but I'm sorry, it's not there. I had them in 9th overall....5th in percussion
and visual, but 10th in brass and GE Music.
SCV: They played with much emotion in the beginning and at the end of the
show. Unfortunately, there was some horrible overblowing in the baritones,
losing sound quality and intonation. They also had some very noticeable
articulation/support problems in Sopranos in the opener. Overuse of
dissonance, and not much melodic content in the musical book. Effective drill,
and strong color guard. Percussion was interesting and musical. Problems with
both brass arrangements and brass performance should have cost them, but
didn't...I had them in 5th overall, solidly behind Phantom, and battling
Cavaliers for that spot.
Cadets: I thought they really performed well today. Both brass and percussion
did fine performance jobs...they were noticeably better in visual today than at
Phily last week. Moondance had better phrasing today.....it still doesn't fit
the rest of the show, though. However, Young Person's Guide and Farandole are
both great pieces of music that they played very well. Perhaps their biggest
problem is comparison to themselves....this show is not as strong as last
years, but they still perform like a champion. I had them in 2nd, behind not
Cavaliers, but Blue Devils.
Cavaliers: best visual program on the field, and a fine drumline in a battle
for first there as well. Brass??? NO WAY. Folks, this is an 8th place
hornline. Sopranos were weak in support in many places. Lack of melodic
content. Balance problems overshadowing what melody there is at times.
Overuse of dissonance. Noticeable blend problems. How this brass book is
winning music GE is beyond comprehension. I have no problem with them winning
GE Visual, but they shouldn't even be in the game in GE Music. I had them
vying for 5th overall with SCV.
Blue Devils: There is no weakness in this corps. Superb brass sound.
Percussion is back to very high execution levels, and has a demanding program.
Visual is performed very well, and CG has impeccable timing and attention to
detail. If there is any qualm at all here, they need to try to pour more
emotion into the performance, as they have a "machine like" quality to them.
If they do that and thus sell effect, they should be the champions this year.
General observations: the top 5 corps did not receive any number lower than
6th place in QF (Glassmen 6th in Music Ensemble). I do not believe that the
top 5 drills were also the top 5 musical programs, either in brass book,
performance, or GE Music. As I have said before, if you have a great drill, in
DCI you are GUARANTEED a strong musical number regardless of actual music
book/performance. Food for thought. Enjoy the finals!!!
B.S. Music Ed.
M.M. Music Performance
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