Since no one has done a review of this show I thought I'd post one. Only ended up catching World Class due to PC Alumni Tailgate and helping to tear down only to finish by int.
I was up high, 3rd from the top close to but not exactly on the 50.
Mandarins-As a PC alum (and Bloo) I felt weird wanting them to make finals in '17 but if you can make me root for you then you're doing something right. I believe this show has the wheels to make it as high as 9th, maybe 8th if they really amp up their performance levels. Hornline is the best I've ever heard from them, the drill design is on point and the concept is easy to follow. But it helps I've been obsessed with Rite of Spring since age 4 thanks to the OG Fantasia. The trombones added a nice edgy color through out the show and didn't feel out of place or visually clunky. Battery is throwing down some diddles out there and the guard is on point. Not to mention the guard outfits totally give you that creepy vibe you need from this show. Had them closer to BK.
Troopers-Really dug the opening of Black Parade and how they treated the sunburst. Then the Western melodic statements to finish off the opening impact was a cherry on top that brought a smile to my face. If you need melody for your shows, these guys have plenty! Lead trumpet book is hard but they aren't letting it get to them and I commend the lead section facing the challenge head on. There was a moment where the corps was spread out and was beginning to tear but the DM said "nope!" and reeled them all back in keeping em in time. Liked the uniform change and how it connected with the prop colors once they turned. Felt like they saved their volume for the last statement cuz dang did they pump it out there! This show is really dirty right now but can really do some damage once cleaned up. Watch for that.
Academy-The opening movement to this reminded me of those Glassmen shows that were almost by the book. Good musical foundation, good marching execution but it didn't emotionally grab me. But as the show progressed it got better and better. Concept came through better and the members seemed to perform it better. I really dug the vocal quartet. I wouldn't call it singing but they spoke rhythmically and with the right pitches. There's a lot visually going on and at times it felt like the members were overwhelmed with the "what" and it effected the "how."
Blue Knights-Rite of Spring take 2 for the night and I still enjoyed it as their treatment was different from Mandarins. I know it's an Egypt show and took the opening as Aliens helped build the Pyramids. This hornline and battery can play! Holy hell! When the baris/euphs switch to bones, it got painfully loud. I liked their utilization of their show attire and using it to visually create interest within the program. 8-18 is going to get bloody. This show and the others before it confirmed that. Hope the members in that placement range realize that this is the best this tier has ever been and there will be a lot of finalist caliber programs performed for the last time on Semifinals.
Pacific Crest-This was a tough pill to swallow for me as an alumni. I'm not a huge musical fan and disliked LaLa Land. The music book just didn't connect with me and those around me in the stands and for lack of a better description, felt like a show I'd judge during the fall. The visual side of things are in contrast to that. They were visually very clean for this time of year and I found myself applauding the home team for their visual impacts more than their musical ones. I don't know what's gone on behind the scenes but I thought they were going to start contending for a Saturday night appearance after the success in 2012-2013. It seems they've fallen off and haven't recovered from there. The brass staff needs to really work a lot on the pumping sound/volume and articulation definitions if they want to keep up with the visual staffs success. I don't see this show in the 8-18 fight and may even struggle to make Friday night if the newer WC and other OC groups get musically better and amp up their GE.
SCV-This is your winner this year unless Bloo does something with their ending that is just mind boggling. There was not a moment of this show where I lost interest. They grabbed you by the shirt and dragged you through mud but you wanted nothing more than for them to continue to abuse you....ok, maybe a weird description but holy hell this is the show! This is the Vanguard of the late 90's mixed with modernized drum corps! Those mellos didn't just give a clinic, they defined what should be done on that horn. Their soloists were just ####### showoffs at everything they did. The ranges, the articulation patterns, the technical prowess. Am I really gushing over Vanguards hornline?!?!? The percussion section is off the charts as always. Their pit made feel very feely types of feelings especially on the more intimate parts. And the guard. THE GUARD!!! Repeat Zingali? Only if they can keep this up and do well against Boston and Bloo. Ballad of the year for me. Nothing else is paced so musically, visually and emotionally better out there this season. The Club Sound breakdown makes Cavaliers fight club look like childs play but that was eventually going to happen with this new direction DCI has been going in. I've never gotten teary eye from a show this early let alone from a corps that I never marched or taught. If you win this, Vanguard, I would have zero complaints. You were long overdue for a corps of this caliber with your history and I'm happy to see the talent of your membership at the level it's at.
Blue Devils-I use to be a bonified hater. I won't lie. But over the past 8 years I've grown to love what they're doing. I really liked last seasons visual program and what it did to help represent the history of this corps and the evolution of the activity and was hoping to see something of that caliber again. Unfortunately we didn't get that and I really felt for the corps. Following the emotionally draining act SCV put on was a really tough draw for the Devils. They were technically clean, had some very well executed drill developments and I really liked the visual design especially during the closer when the high brass begins a string like unravel of the block on side 1. I also was impressed by the circles that rotated to blocks around a non moving focal point within the form. And do these guys move! But it was emotionally comparative to Academy's opener. Another note I'll say about the Devils is that I've noticed a trend that when the fans say something along the lines of "move more! play more melody! less weird, dissonant music!" and they listen, they seem to have a tougher time winning. Look at '11, '13, '16 although I don't think in '16 anything was really vocalized along those lines. I'm seeing Devils this season move almost as much as Crown '12. Maybe it's just coincidence? I don't have an answer. That being said I don't see this placing top 2. That's not a knock on them. If anything it's a compliment to their success forcing other groups to step up their game. They could get bronze this year and be 0.5 from the gold. They were really close to getting bronze in '16 with how close things got that year so again, it's not a knock. Their competition just figured out the work ethic and some design elements needed to give em a run for their money. Not to mention parity in DCI would not hurt at all. Do we really want it to be the same top 2/3 every season? Even NBA fans are tired of a Cavs/GS final.
Anyways hope you enjoyed the review. My pointless predictions after 2 weeks of shows for finals
8-12 There are 10 corps I could put here. Use your imagination cuz everything will be wrong in the end lol