First off, the weather was great. It was overcast for most of the afternoon and a bit cool actually. Overall, great weather for a drum corps show. The Canadian flag was missing from the stadium today. I guess the "I" in DCI no longer stands for International? There were two corps from Canada performing after all! Stadium security was so much better than the nazi's in Orlando, but they did not do a very good job of preventing people from entering the stadium when corps were on the field. Concessions were good overall - very fast service, just a bit pricey.
Blue Stars - 70.2
The crowd seemed quite happy to see blue Stars in Quarters this year. They received quite a good audience response, which was well deserved. They put on an excellent show this afternoon. Their visual execution was most impressive. Crisp execution, and the striped pants really helped show off their marching prowess. I had them placed above Les Etoiles.
East Coast Jazz - 71.6
They have excellent music, and once again their soprano soloist was amazing. All solos were nailed. Their guard was quite good, and the overall program was written appropriately for the talent level of the members, allowing them to effectively perform and sell the show - which they did quite well. I really enjoyed their performance. Their visual program was the weakest area of their show. I thought the score and placement was dead on.
Mandarins - 73.9
All I can say is WOW! Great job today. I was not sure what to expect from them because of their repertoire - rather aggressive for a smaller corps. But did they ever prove themselves. The arrangements of both Candide and On the Waterfront were fantastic, and the corps pulled off an incredible show. Very exciting! The soprano soloist was fantastic too. Score and placement were dead on once again.
Spartans - 73.7
This was my only viewing of the Spartans this summer, and I was disappointed. They had one of the only performances today that I felt was really off, and a show that I did not particularly care for. They had almost 50 brass players on the field, but where was the sound??? They had intonation problems, sloppy visual, and several space-outs. The show was a bit abstract, and it was not sold very well. Sorry Spartans, but I was very disappointed.
Patriots - 76.5
An excellent performance by the Patriots today. They were smaller than the Spartans, but they put out so much more sound, and the tone quality was still good. Their show was very entertaining, and the guard was fantastic. The rifle line was very good, and there was a bit of humor in the second number that was well received by the crowd. I though the score and placement was too high, but considering how close I thought they were to those I thought should have beat them (i.e., Tarheel Sun, Kiwanis Kavaliers, and Troopers), this did not bother me too much.
Les Etoiles - 72.2
This was my third viewing of Les Etoiles, and I still do not like this show. It didn't do anything for me. Overall show design was poor in my opinion, and the members of this corps were sold a bill of goods. They deserved better. I thought the Blue Stars beat them.
Tarheel Sun - 73.2
Tarheel had the first "Big" sound of the day. They had a good show too. The repertoire was good - toe tapping tunes. The crowd liked Bohemian Rhapsody. The horn line had a good sound, and the entire corps put out a great excitement level. Overall and excellent job today. I thought they had just edged out Patriots, but the fact that Patriots beat them did not bother me. The spread in the score did - it should have been much closer.
Troopers - 73.8
If you could say only one thing about the Troopers it would have to be tradition - and the crowd loves them for it. Their entrance to the field - marching in a file from the end zone - was dirty. They were marching 8 to 5 straight across the field - you'd think a line would be able to do that cleanly by this time in the summer. They removed much of the really cheesy guard theatrics in the middle of the show, where the guard was shouting "murderer" and putting Billy the Kid in jail. The new version was MUCH better! The sunburst was met with the usual rousing audience response. I had them over Patriots, but not by much. Like Tarheel, the placement didn't bother me, but the point spread did.
Kiwanis Kavaliers - 76.3
This was my first viewing of KK, and all I can say is YAWN! They performed very well, and the show was pretty clean. The show itself was just plain boring. I felt like the elevator doors opened when they were done performing.
Pioneer - 77.8
I really like this show. Their visual execution is nice and crisp, and they really performed well today. The crowd seemed to like the show given the response they received. The horn line balance with the drum line is much improved over last month, and the tone quality has improved as well. Their guard still does too much individual work. The drum line is their strength - very good line indeed. Overall, a great job by Pioneer. I'm glad I will be able to see them once more tomorrow.
Southwind - 78.8
Absolutely FANTASTIC tonight! They pulled off a really exciting performance, and the crowd really got into their show - huge response after the opener and at the end of the show. The drill was executed very well, and was very exciting. This was the first show of the summer for my wife, and after viewing them today, she could not believe they were not finalists. I thought they beat Spirit be about 2 points. Welcome back Southwind and great job today!
Spirit of Atlanta - 78.8
Spirit did manage to clean a good part of their show, but there is still plenty of dirt - in the drill, in the guard, and in the horn line. Tone quality suffered when the line played loud, and intonation became a problem as a result. I thought Southwind topped them without question.
Magic of Orlando - 82.6
I really like Magic's show. They performed well today too. The horn line is amazing, and the arrangements are great. I still think they sound like BD from the early 80's - they style and flair to the arrangements and in the playing. It's a shame they won't be making an appearance in finals, because they have a hot show. I thought the score and placement were dead on.
Bluecoats - 84.5
Strong performance in all captions, and a great show to boot. I'm not normally a fan of Bluecoats shows, but I love this one. The last show of theirs that I really liked was 86 - another year they were not in finals - not a slam - just an observation. I thought the score and placement were dead on. I don't think they will be able to move up a place tomorrow evening, but anything is possible.
Colts - 85.8
Awesome job by the Colts today. I love the new closer. The show was exciting today, and I was very impressed overall with the sound of the horn line. The arrangements and the brass performance were truly amazing. My first reaction was that the sound was uncharacteristic for Colts, but then after thinking about it, they have changed styles and sound every year now for several years. So perhaps this is in fact characteristic! Whatever the case, I like it.
Boston Crusaders - 87.7
This is the first BAC show and performance that I have thought was deserving of a top 12 spot, and they will most assuredly receive one this year. Great job tonight BAC! The guard is great, and the musical is nice. The brass line sound is fantastic - just not loud enough for my tastes. Their marching execution is not as clean as some of the other corps they beat, but their overall package is excellent.
Carolina Crown - 86.5
Guard and drum line - Crown's strengths this year. This was my first viewing of Crown, and I liked their show. The music was good and the show was interesting. I liked the guard uniform changes - from the half black/half gray to the half black/half white to the red. Great job! I though the score and placement were correct.
Crossmen - 88.5
Great show, awesome guard, ugly guard uniforms. Their drum line does not have the groove from years past, but it is still quite good, and they play some exciting licks (even if one of them is just a warm up exercise heard endlessly in my years of marching). I thought their score and placement were correct.
Phantom Regiment - 91.7
This was my first viewing of Phantom, and I was pleasantly surprised. Based on everything I had heard, I was expecting a really filthy show. There was some visual dirt, but overall, the show was excellent. The opener was really exciting, and I didn't find the middle boring as I have read on RAMD. I though their score was high, but their placement was correct.
Blue Knights - 93.4
Incredible show and performance. Their arrangements are much improved over the 94 version of Trittico. The guard is terrific, and the flags are cool. The drum line was wailing tonight - one of the best on the field I gather. The horn line can really wail too. My only complaint is the shoes - why did they go to black? They look terrible! The white shoes looked 10 times better. Placing ahead of Madison I agreed with, but Glassmen? I don't know about that.
Madison Scouts - 92.1
Madison was ON FIRE tonight. They were obviously energized by the crowd, and by playing the hometown gig. If they play with that level of excitement tomorrow and can clean up just a tad here and there, they might be able to pull ahead of both BK and Glassmen.
Glassmen - 93.3
They had the unenviable task of going on after Madison, and they did a terrific job. I know their show is not for everyone, but I absolutely love it! The visual program - both marching and guard - is absolutely beautiful. This is one show I know I will be listening to again and again when the CD's are released. I thought they were 5th tonight, but they were awfully close with BK and Madison. Depending on how they perform, they could be 5th or 7th - it's up to them IMO.
Cavaliers - 95.8
Cavies had a wonderful show tonight. Lot's of oh's and ah's from the crowd. Two members of the horn line ate turn in the opener, but the recovery was almost instantaneous. A most enjoyable performance from them. They really fly at several points in the show, and they have such excellent body control, you don't see the speed in the way they carry themselves or in the music. I thought they beat Cadets tonight - or at least were within a few tenths of a point.
Santa Clara Vanguard - 97.0
SCV too was ON FIRE! The crowd really got into their show, and they got two standing ovations. A soloist in the opener cracked a few times, but the rest of the soloists nailed them all beautifully. They really fly at times, and have some very scary pass-throughs, but they execute with such precision and control. The drum line is amazing and they really show off too. You could tell they really wanted it tonight - but they were denied! My bet is they turn it up another notch tomorrow night and win it. I thought they won tonight.
Blue Devils - 97.8
BD was hot tonight, and their guard was on. They really have a fun show. I love the third number when the horn line is in 2 triangles on the front side of the field and the guard is in a triangle behind the horn line dancing in unison - it just looks cool, and it's fun. I thought SCV's marching execution was cleaner, but BD's horn line was the best tonight. I had them in second place overall.
Cadets of Bergen County -
Cadets performed well tonight, and their guard was on. They will be in the hunt for the guard title that's for sure. They added some light blue tarps around the outer edge of the field. My guess is this is suppose to be the NY skyline and the sky on the outside of the buildings, but you could not really tell. They didn't really add anything. In fact, I found them quite distracting. The taxi cab's didn't really add much to the show either - yes it worked with the whole NY theme and all, but simply walking around with pieces of taxi cabs? Sorry - it just didn't work for me. There was plenty of dirt in the marching, and you could hear the marching demand in their horn line's playing. They lose body control while marching fast, unlike SCV, BD, and Cavies. I thought Cavies beat them tonight.
Overall this was a fantastic show today! Great shows and performances top to bottom, and most of the corps really cranked out great shows. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's shows, and I really hope SCV takes the title. I simply think they are the best overall corps on the field, and they deserve recognition for it.
Sky Ryders 85-88
Various Others 78-84
Thanks to Tim Kviz on r.a.m.d this review!
CyberWebMistress Caryn Roberts