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MikeN last won the day on March 2 2018

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  1. I know there is an expectation that if you're in WC that you will be competing in X number of events throughout the summer. There is some flexibility involved, especially with the larger corps. It's kind of a given that each corps will go on the longest tour they can comfortably support. I've not really heard of a lot of bickering in WC about tour planning at DCI, but then again, they would hardly broadcast that to the world if there was. I know with my OC group, they were fairly lenient. We told them how many shows we were planning to do - which was on the low end of the spectrum - and they did their best to accommodate that. We'd ask for specific events to attend, and they did a pretty good job of that as well, though we never got all of the ones we asked for. For us in TX, the hardest part was right around San Antonio week, as we were either hauling long distances to make it back to TX, or hauling long distances right after to get to the OC-only part of tour. For us, it didn't feel like it was that involved of a process. Especially in recent years, the tour got fairly standardized from year to year, so you knew what was coming. That's one benefit (and I think it's a *big* benefit) of Finals being locked into Indy. Mike
  2. Not entirely. OC-only show revenue goes into a pool and is redistributed after the season. I can tell you firsthand, it's not a lot - not enough to really be a significant line item - but then again, OC shows generally aren't well attended. (Though anecdotally it felt like the Midwest shows in the final weeks of tour had been starting to pick up a bit the last few years.) Mike
  3. So... eliminate all but a dozen member corps with attendant votes? That's the other half of this. Without bylaws revision, I can't imagine any WC corps agreeing to it. Mike
  4. "A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that …..not everyone wishes you well…..Dan Rather" 😐 Mike
  5. Same thing was leveled against the Cavaliers in the early 2000's. Mike
  6. I went back and re-listened to the show today. I’ll concede - the opener pops, much like the ‘91 version, though you can tell it’s structurally influenced by the Birdland opener the year before. The ballad is ... ok, and then the opener starts 6:30 into the show. No wonder the end kind of peters out - that’s a looooong time to run and gun. Someone in the design room wasn’t thinking clearly there. Mike
  7. Might be because the BoD/Corps themselves made sure that DCI returned as much revenue to the corps as possible. Mike
  8. I feel 1998 is one of the weakest top 12's of the decade, especially compared to the season before and after. A few corps hit home runs, but not as many as I expected. Oh, and the recordings were again awful - the mix is insanely loud compared to other years. This was the last year they had the Killeen, TX show - I did get to see BD rehearse during the afternoon - first time I'd been exposed to air only, air and drums, full ensemble... Sometimes we forget how homogenized (in a good way!) and interconnected marching instruction is these days! Cadets had one of the most intentionally-ugly opening horn hits ever heard to that date. Musically, they did what they did very well, but holy cow is that an ugly piece. I keep trying to go back every few years and rewatch, but I can't. I'd have put SCV in first, but also have to recognize that Cadets were very, very clean. When I first saw SCV, I wrote a fairly scathing review on RAMD about how inaccessible the music was. With 20 years of hindsight, no - the show was brilliant. Dark, but brilliant. I still smile when thinking about the dancing tenors. I have to admit I'm kind of glad they didn't win, though, else they might not have done the '99 show the way they did. Honestly, Blue Devils had my favorite show from the top 4. As someone mentioned earlier, BD playing classical was definitely a head-turner, but they made it sound gooood. I loved their arrangement of Romeo and Juliet in the opener, and One Hand One Heart was an epic closer. Personal note - James Gulke conducted the victory concert in Killeen about 3 feet away from me. I might have fanboyed a bit. Cavaliers put together a rock-solid show, built on what they had always done well - visual and drums. The guard had a neat trick wearing the corps uniforms during the opener - funny enough, it made the ensemble as a whole look smaller, not bigger. Machine is a brilliant closer, especially when the guard picks up the cymbals and chaos reigns right up to the abrupt end. Glassmen... their corps was head and shoulders better in talent than '97, and the music was definitely more sophisticated... but the show didn't have quite the same heart. I can't quite articulate what the Bizet show had, but it had "it" and I don't think '98 had it. Madison Scouts had a great and entertaining show, but it definitely felt like Scott Stewart's feud with DCI judging was influencing their design process. Remembrance is a wonderful chart, but I think I liked the '90 version better. Peer Gynt was a lot of fun, and seeing the battery continually swapping instruments throughout the show warmed my percussive heart. Crossmen weren't quite as strong in '98 as the year before, with a show that to me felt like a bit of a retread. I have to admit, it's not one that finds playtime in my lists. Hopkins responded to my complaint online about why Metheny again with "nobody in the current Crossmen has played it." I have to admit, as a parent now I get that argument, but I'd still they rather had made new classics instead of using old ones. Phantom's show, like The Ring, sounded great on paper but wasn't as clear on the field. I think this one should be held against the designers, rather than the performers, though it felt their hornline had slipped a fair bit. The Respighi at the end sounded tired. Blue Knights had what I thought was a very strong and solidly programmed show. I thought between Ben Hur and this they were developing a very distinct sound, and their drumlines were getting better and better. I appreciated the straightforward arrangements too. Bluecoats played a "Greatest Hits" compilation, and it was gooood. Didn't score the highest, but it was great to listen to. I can't complain. 🙂 Crown put on what, to me, was their weakest show since joining D1. Another one I think that falls on the designers. The whole show felt fuzzy both musically and visually. (Of course, with two decades of history, one of Crown's strengths has been that they can turn on a dime when it comes to reinventing themselves, but we're not quite there yet.) Colts switched to vocal jazz (one guess who picked the music!) and it worked beautifully. Yes, 12th, but a bright, fun show that really stood out for its uniqueness. I still listen to the source material. Other honorable mentions - Magic completely pivots...and falls out of Finals. Boston kept '90's Bostoning, right up until next year when they didn't. Les Etoiles did it again, making Semis against all odds. East Coast Jazz put on clinic on how to go Old School in a New School manner, with some epic soloists. And Tarheel Sun put out a massive group that looked like they were going to gain steam. Next, in '99 - the swan song for bugles, and some of the most iconic shows ever for a handful of groups. Mike
  9. Phantom '97 was a weirdly paced show, and I just went back and listened to it. The big horn opening was at 1:14 in, and then it went straight into the first ballad. No traditional opener. The show doesn't pick up any speed again until 4:22. Another ballad at 6:50 that briefly picks up to the fake out ending at 9:45 then the slow and stately recap of the first ballad. Its amazing how little uptempo there is for a drum corps program. Mike
  10. The Tropers - everything in their show you've seen in a million other shows. Mike
  11. 1997 was my first full summer on RAMD, so it was my first experience with daily scores, analysis and opinions. So many opinions. Very eye-opening from someone who had no real interaction with other DCI fans to that point. I did get to see the Killeen show live (Phantom and Madison headlined it), which was a blast - Madison's Pirates show was one that was much better live than on video. Overall, the top 12 in 97 were one of the three strongest of the 90's, along with '92 and '95. Not a weak program in the bunch, and program difficulties were increasing leaps and bounds every year, it felt like. Blue Devils had a friggin' *clean* show. They also managed to tie everything together with a nice Casablanca bow without literally retelling the story. Night in Tunisia has my musical highlight of the show, where the hornline just starts blasting old-school nightclub chords with screamers over the top. And yeah, the box drill moves - spectacular. (I also love the orchestral part from One Night in Bangkok as their opener. I've heard it from a looooot of marching bands ever since.) The Cadets had such a bright, signature sound. It's a shame they got away from it down the road. It's one of those things that when you're listening it makes you stop and go "oh. It's the Cadets." Their '97 show was a great casserole of all of the things they do well - breakneck drill, technical horns, aggressive battery, guard work on guard work - very nice! Can't say anything they didn't do well. BD was just... better. It took me a little while to grow into SCV, as the show leans hard into angry chords. I think like all of us DCI fans in the 90's, we still weren't used to the New Normal. But man, this show in retrospect is so much fun. On the Waterfront is in-your-face aggressive, and the Epilogue at the end just keeps building angry on angry. They doubled down in '98, but this was definitely a "new" style from Vanguard. Phantom had a masterful brass line for The Ring. They also had an okay drumline, so-so show design and a bit of a visual mess. It's hard to reconcile that they had the whole of however many operas to source from and ended up with ... some pretty blah charts. Trying to go minimal in the color wheel backfired on them too. I would have put them in 6th. What Phantom lacked in passion, Madison brought in spades. Musically, Pirates of Lake Mendota had a little more sophisticated Madison sound, and when I saw them live midsummer, I really did have their horns above Phantom. It felt like they were really putting the pieces together to make a run in the scores, but it kind of tailed off at the end. I'd have put them in 4th. Regardless, the show itself was one of Madison's best 90's productions, and I'll rewatch it any time it's in front of me. Crossmen's 1997 show might be their best of the 90's. On a technical level, it's the best musicians they had, for sure, and they organically created a *ton* of wow moments. Saw them in person - they were loud loud loud. Colts that summer had hype for blowing everyone's faces off, but seeing them at the same show, Crossmen topped them pretty soundly. The big chord at the end brought the house down. (And as mentioned earlier, this for me too is the definitive Birdland.) I'd have had them likely in 5th. The Cavaliers had a great drill feature to start the show, and nobody online could figure out what they were doing. Again, hindsight - cause in 2020 it's no big deal, but at the time they turned heads wherever they went. ("How can you reward a corps with only 8 minutes of music wah wah") Probably the right placement for them - they were better than everyone behind them, but didn't generate the energy the ones above them did. Glassmen reinvented themselves in '97, and they really became what most people think of when they hear of modern-day Glassmen. Unis kept the gold and black but added the chestpiece, and the music leaned heavily into the symphonic/orchestral. Bizet was a safe choice, but they maximized the hell out of it. Their Farandole closer to me is better than what the Cadets did in '02. Also charmingly naive of us - we were all scared to death someone would fall off of their millions of ladders on the field. If only we have seen what the Bluecoats were going to do to their backfield conductors in the 2010's... Blue Knights were only one year removed from what felt like a young corps and safe show, and they ratcheted up the difficulty pretty significantly in '97. Ben Hur was a great choice for a dark, aggressive vehicle that let them really throw the show in everyone's faces. Their battery was the star of the show - a lot of notes, and very, very clean. Magic of Orlando had two different shows - the first three minutes, then the other 9. The first three were awesome, in recreating a Mardi Gras parade and feel that encouraged the audience to participate. The drum major's were a hoot. Then the "real" show started and it felt flat against the rest of it. This was IIRC the last of the Robert W. Smith years, and along with '96, the peak of Magic as a corps. Bluecoats went a little risque (for their standards) in '97, and their show is fun. Not revolutionary, but fun, clean, professional... however you want to term it. I've spoken with a few 90's BC vets who feel that for those in the corps, this was probably their favorite/best show of that era. It's definitely worth watching. Carolina Crown had a 12th place show that didn't *feel* like a 12th place show. In fact, until I saw the list posted earlier, I would have sworn they were 8th. Terpsichore is one of my favorite 90's horn charts - catchy and fun. Yeah, yeah, they borrowed from 2-7. So what? I wish they hadn't used Nimrod again, but that's about all I can complain about. Other highlights from '97 include the Colts opener, which just peeled your face off, Kiwanis Kavaliers and their 8 bass drums (I still sing their version of The Money Kept Rolling In), Academie's Pie Jesu was just gorgeous, and Pioneer's whole #### show (which was a definite step up in quality as well as demand, but didn't quite generate the excitement the '96 show did). Coming next: in '98 the Cadets put on what might be the (deliberately) ugliest opening big horn hits in a championship show to date. SCV says "hold my beer" with their whole program, and BD plays Tchaikovsky. Nothing strange about any of this. Nothing at all.