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Here is a quick blog style account of my annual Kingston visit.  I hope more reviews will be added.

Easy drive north for me <2 hrs, and then direct to Fusion rehearsal at the rural Lake Katrine schools area.  Beautiful blue skies afternoon, not too hot, strong breeze.  Core hard at work.  Quite a chunk of time was given to the sound levels adjustment, from a tablet (wireless obviously).  Now that I got into this discussion on amplification I pay close attention to the tech (and stay away from any comment!), and watch the process – it is awesome, risky, required, and controversial, I guess it’s where it’s at.  Note the prior BigW comment:

>>>top end DCI corps are spending literally hundreds of hours of time and serious in getting their set-up and volume levels right.

Parking

I had time to go for dinner in town, like a Fran Haring tour right, but no hot dogs!  LOL (Dinner at Boitson’s will be another post!)  But I knew I needed to get a spot early so plan was park and walk.   Here’s the trick - as you pull up to Dietz stadium, and it looks like a blockade, you smile and say “what organization sponsors this event?”  They answer about the Children’s committee, and you say OH, can I can contribute?  You give a nice contribution and then you can park.   In past if I said, truthfully, I am with the corps – boom off to around the block for a mile.  These folks run a great show but I like parking in the main lot so I’ll work it. 

Walk to the Show - Warmups

Walking in from Front Street I was drawn to the warmup sounds and wouldn’t you know it right there first meet is White Sabers in horn arc.  Beautiful focused, dee-ah-dat-dat-doo-yah-dut-dut and down the chromatic valve series.  This horn warmup has energy!  I had not met Donny Allen prior but was in close proximity with his mini corps, and his visit to Fusion in Rochester a few years ago.  Friendly and smiling we had a nice hello.  He is proud to point to many Ghostriders alum teaching White Sabers.  Btw, staff looks really sharp with baseball pinstripe shirts with name on back – steal that idea!

Around the lot to the pit and percussion.  Again high energy, focus and confidence.  Showdown night it is.  I have a few cool pics if I can figure how to post with a link or whatever.

The Show

Good seat high up, left side 30yd line facing field.  It was best reserved seat when I got there at about 7 PM.  All seats are reserved – the sponsors do a great job with those sheets of graph paper.  Amazing process:  select your seat, they grey out the box, then checking available tickets for that section tickets here take this one!  (lol, minor mismatches over time).  Now go toward your seat and have no clue of row markings, grab a seat, pull your friends with corps badge over – everyone is happy!

Just a few show comments, I’ll add more as we go.  Sorry when so brief – all I have.  (sorry missed Erie and Hurcs due to warmups visit)

White Sabers

2 mics on stands at sideline just facing the field, not for soloists.  Maybe a soloist used them - not sure, but it is certainly there for general bleed.  Is there any rule against it?   So there is the #1 corps of the night with a balance of electronic/amp’s sound and acoustic sound.

The show seemed quite flat to me – they were on real early (so look out as they will turn it up even more!).  I loved the off field warmup and victory concert so I need to listen more to the competition version.  A lot of it is move and park – not sure this year how common that is, but has been a peeve in previous years.  Maybe 30 yard line seat made me miss a lot of impact.  The props, beautiful blue spheres, are really gorgeous – simple and effective.  As I saw in victory concert, but missed the impact for the show, the trombones have about 4-5 phrases with beautiful use of the slide – loved it (in victory concert).

Sun 

Gorgeous tone by Paul on trpt solo with the horn mic – he does it with or w/o mic, lush fat sound, pure tone and great intonation.  Always a pleasure.  I love Caravan and they rocked it.  Sun was strong throughout.

Bush

Full sound.   Corps is developing to be able to contend with all.  Props are gorgeous, artistic, and impactful when panels are joined for a united mural effect.   Feels like an Italian village I would love to visit.   Wonder where it is sourced from, if anywhere real.

A Mello growl caught my attention – that is skill!

Cabs

There was the distracting French horn mic malfunctions.   (correct me please if not correct – she was muted, like I do to certain web page tabs)

As I wrote about Clifton, again the dancer entrance is captivating on that log “stairway”” in reverse.  They are hitting some major melodic and harmonic credits with Stairway to Heaven.  The chord changes make me want to go and check the original, as Cabs have found some great harmonies there.   It is so recognizable, but is really elegant, and original sounding in this format.   Congrats.

The Cabs’ soloists trio scream at end is “yahhh” – pure drum corps fun and thrilling.

Fusion was on last for the competitive corps.  Not sure they have ever been on last before.  Word has it Asst Dir picked for positions this year - better luck – LOL.

Fusion has an aggressive tension as they perform, and it keeps you on edge of seat, and then they deliver.   There is constant movement and it does not feel contrived to show movement.  The Guard compliments throughout, and so their winning High Guard # means they are an anchor, or cornerstone, not to think of anchor sinking a ship!   The ballad was best ever, Sounds of Silence wafting over a gorgeous summer evening in the Hudson Valley – not bad.  The pulse for the solo/duet is getting better.  At end I got the emotional tug of this great song of my youth – core had a very relaxed feel and was set for the next transition.  The bass drummers solo with a mashup of drums stacked up is exciting.   Need to check that more next time.  The guard has dance features that are engaging, all in the connections theme. 

Scoring I am as biased as you may want to say, but trying to be unbiased …. I had, in order of performance before Fusion, White Sabers, Sun, Bush and Cabs all about even, maybe Bush a few tenths down, and then Fusion up by at least a point.   Well, judges saw it differently.  So be it - on to next encounter.

Olympic Retreat

A thrill for the entrance with Cabs Alumni playing them on.  I love Olympic retreat.  I marched this show 2003 to 2013 except the one year when they went inactive.  It was fun as performer, but better now as a fan.   Cabs alumni drumline rocks it.   And the tunes they play are sheer Cabs joy – yah?   Crazy how I dig the parades and Olympic retreat, the things most Real drum corps folks hate!   That’s me.  (Andy, West End Av parade 1969, Sky was NOT into the parade right?  Those were real “we are drum corps men” peeps).

It was real efficient scores and awards timing. The announcer was great all night with a humorous touch.   Fran is not peerless!  

The march yourself off by each corps is so expressive, more than they each know.   It is in reverse order of finish.   Hurcs with the Mag 7 tubas is anchor.   One corps was on the 1st turn of the track on exit, like after Usain Bolt would finish before the music start – missed the timing!  Yeah, we don’t spend time on this part of the routine.  It is an audible.  Fusion rocked out with a vocalization of “Hey Babe!”, but some horns would have been nice.

White Sabers Victory Concert

Yes I stayed thru the setup and entire encore.  So did a few hundred others.  They sounded great!  Of course we can all sound stronger in the arc but they seemed to build in confidence due to the win and played really well.   The pit exudes confidence and groove. At one point Donny Allen threw his arms way high in exuberance – well deserved.   That corps has serious momentum.   In the Stone was an extra encore encore and it rocked pretty good, not great (hey, it’s been a LONG day of drum corps), but I appreciated hearing it – how many corps have done that fav?   Renegades for one right?  

Inspired me to check some EWF today (copy/paste if you wish, as hyperlink drives DCP editor crazy!)   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z2xClustQo  

Thinking “drumline” too!

Thanks

Recap

In end, we have many great DCA corps, working hard to polish the shows, bringing great skill, preparation, and entertainment, working on their sound, amplified and natural, and putting in plenty of hard work as drum corps knows how to do.  For this show we did not see Bucs, C2, CV, Sky, Gold or Midwest or European corps.

Was there drama in the critique, an apology, and it was AMPS related no less?  Lol - no further leak here.  The judges I understand comment on amplification, good and bad, so regardless of no line item in score, it is seriously impactful, here to stay.  Contact your contacts for more scuttle!  Season closing fast, go to a show soon!

Edited by trptmagnet
added Sky and others for need to see soon
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good stuff!

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Great review... thanks!!!

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On 8/6/2017 at 7:26 PM, trptmagnet said:

2 mics on stands at sideline just facing the field, not for soloists.  Maybe a soloist used them - not sure, but it is certainly there for general bleed.  Is there any rule against it?   So there is the #1 corps of the night with a balance of electronic/amp’s sound and acoustic sound.

Microphones can be turned off ... thinking this might me the best practice. 

 

AoE

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Saw them at Peckville, those two mics are definitely just for the duet in the ballad. Highly doubt that they're there to amplify the corps or anything like that. Sabers are already loud enough as it is.

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On 8/6/2017 at 7:26 PM, trptmagnet said:

I had time to go for dinner in town, like a Fran Haring tour right, but no hot dogs!  LOL (Dinner at Boitson’s will be another post!)

No Dallas Wieners with everything.... one of the best dogs around...

Boitsons also very good, eat there before the show....waiting for review....

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Yeah, slacking here on food reviews.

For Clifton I left out the quick stop at "Hot Grill", the 50-year-old fast-food joint for Texas hot dogs, burgers & sandwiches.   Had just one hot dog, mustard and sauerkraut - perfection.   The way the wait staff yells orders to kitchen is classic, like Philly cheese steak, "Wid and Wid-out".  (That's wid onions, if you have to ask.)  Anyone know the hot dog order language?

OK so Boitson's commentary coming soon.  Ya know for many years, eating with the core, sitting on the lovely asphalt by Kingston stadium, w/ great meals like the Fusion tacos or pasta, salads and sweet tea.  I have earned privilege to go to a sit down before a show, but felt guilty sipping "draft wine on tap" knowing core is out there in full prep mode.

LOL

 

Edited by trptmagnet
minor typo

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On 8/8/2017 at 5:18 PM, Name said:

Saw them at Peckville, those two mics are definitely just for the duet in the ballad. Highly doubt that they're there to amplify the corps or anything like that. Sabers are already loud enough as it is.

Thanks.  I apologize as I should be more careful.  I can't say the mic's were FOR general bleed, or MAY just catch some.  Don't know if mic's are operated off/on during show.   Am curious.    And exactly, they are loud enough, so hopefully no bleed in amplification happens.   That to me is where it all goes bad.  I don't want to hear a hornline or battery thru speakers at a contest.

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4 hours ago, trptmagnet said:

Yeah, slacking here on food reviews.

For Clifton I left out the quick stop at "Hot Grill", the 50-year-old fast-food joint for Texas hot dogs, burgers & sandwiches.   Had just one hot dog, mustard and sauerkraut - perfection.   The way the wait staff yells orders to kitchen is classic, like Philly cheese steak, "Wid and Wid-out".  (That's wid onions, if you have to ask.)  Anyone know the hot dog order language?

OK so Boitson's commentary coming soon.  Ya know for many years, eating with the core, sitting on the lovely asphalt by Kingston stadium, w/ great meals like the Fusion tacos or pasta, salads and sweet tea.  I have earned privilege to go to a sit down before a show, but felt guilty sipping "draft wine on tap" knowing core is out there in full prep mode.

LOL

 

Over the years, I've found that where we eat before and after a show is half the fun of the experience.

And numerous times, more than half the fun.  :tongue:

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