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Jeff Ream

Allentown both nights

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i will start hitting the corps tomorrow, first some thoughts and general impressions.

for the first time in many years, I can say I truly enjoyed every corps sans one. The race for the top is for real...all 4 have strengths and weaknesses....few weaknesses at that...that balance each other out and creates a scenario where your top 4 is truly that close, something I think only happened in 1980.

I was highly disappointed DCI personell at the corps gate would not let "Bones" out at field level with the corps. for legacy alumni and many fans, this is a home show for the Crossmen, and the appearance of Bones is always a major hype. I'm glad the kids got to see him, but I know fans kept looking for him.

warmups......the park is huge. I've warmed up there as a performer and instructor. There is not reason, with 2/3 corps left in the show I should be able to hear other corps warmups interrupting the show on the field, and this year it seemed worse than ever.

Props to the concessions this year....service much quicker!!

and wow bass drumming is off the hook! Not just the features, but a lot of cool moments in the show. Shame starting Thursday a lot will be lost inside.

and especially Saturday night, the place was packed to the end zones, even if it was shown on DCILive. the 4 corps race was truly a buzz all over.I have a hunch INDY and the theater event have increased attendance, and buys for semis and finals set new records online.

DCILive needs to do a better job micing for sound files etc. Being able to actually hear things in person clarified so many shows for me that watching online left me confused.

I'll get to the corps tomorrow. it's been a long, fun weekend!!!

Edited by Jeff Ream
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warmups......the park is huge. I've warmed up there as a performer and instructor. There is not reason, with 2/3 corps left in the show I should be able to hear other corps warmups interrupting the show on the field, and this year it seemed worse than ever.

I was told yesterday that the city made some tweaks to the noise ordinance and to the DCI contract that prevents the corps from going too far down towards the west end of the park, in order to make the neighborhood in that area happy.

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I was told yesterday that the city made some tweaks to the noise ordinance and to the DCI contract that prevents the corps from going too far down towards the west end of the park, in order to make the neighborhood in that area happy.

that sucks

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warmups......the park is huge. I've warmed up there as a performer and instructor. There is not reason, with 2/3 corps left in the show I should be able to hear other corps warmups interrupting the show on the field, and this year it seemed worse than ever.

I felt the same way

I was told yesterday that the city made some tweaks to the noise ordinance and to the DCI contract that prevents the corps from going too far down towards the west end of the park, in order to make the neighborhood in that area happy.

This makes sense. I wonder if this affected SCV battery? They have a local across Hamilton that hosts them every year with lights and refreshments and a roped off area in his back yard.

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I felt the same way

This makes sense. I wonder if this affected SCV battery? They have a local across Hamilton that hosts them every year with lights and refreshments and a roped off area in his back yard.

Probably not, given it's private property vs the city's park.

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Probably not, given it's private property vs the city's park.

Then there is our solution, we either need to go door to door across Hamilton and recruit a few more yards, or else raise enough to like time share some homes. hmmmm...we could rent a few houses for the week to host pre show warmups and post show parties. Somebody get on that please! :tounge2:

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Then there is our solution, we either need to go door to door across Hamilton and recruit a few more yards, or else raise enough to like time share some homes. hmmmm...we could rent a few houses for the week to host pre show warmups and post show parties. Somebody get on that please! :tounge2:

Given that half of city hall is about to be indicted, there may be some cheap property available

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ok here we go. quick shout out to SCv souvie guru Darren Delaney for holding an SCV shirt for my daughter....to her most drum corps is just "drums" ( she's 3), but she knows Vanguard.

also...DCILive needs to do better at making sound files more audible. Man, what difference live being able to hear everything!

Pioneer.....the scores may not indicate it, but Pio is improved. Exodus provides a really nice break from the usual Irish stuff, and while there's still brass to percussion balance issues, it's not as bad as the past. I truly feel in terms of design and performance, they did take a step forward this year tht they can keep building on.

Cascades...I loved this show! yes, parts of Planets, which has been way overdone, but the Star trek stuff was cool and I love Black Hole Sun. Yes, they are young and have some performance issues, but i would have had their score higher. I truly don't feel they are getting the full credit they deserve, and I hope they get a run on Friday.

Mandarins...another show I loved. I went to an exhibit on the Terra Cotta Warriors a few years ago in DC, and I felt they did a good job of getting the story and meaning of the warriors across in 17 minutes. Now if you don't know the story, the concept could leave you feeling lost, but the performance quality is up, and the music flowed. I just wish they would stop being so safe every year and let it hang out a little more.

Spirit....the sound cips at the front helped set the stage....but I expected more of Tara's theme. Southern Harmony I thought translated nicely, but Wild Nights on out just left me feeling blah. Here in many ways was Spirit trying to be Southern, but yet not Southern. It was very confusing. I do think theyve improved, and the show is still better than last year, but I get why they are scoring where they are

Academy....I liked it, my wife the Disney junkie didn't. I thought the vocal syuff in Supercali was cool, and I enjoyed how they integrated "Mary" into the show. I wouldnt have minded a little more of the story incorporated, but they key to me was the corps seemed as if they've peaked. granted with a week to go, I don't know how much you change that will help, but while San Antonio had me hooked on tv, live i wanted more.

Blue Stars have to be seen live to truly appreciate all that is going on. Fun musical book, with some moments of brilliant performance. consistency is the key here. yes, it's a circus show, so lots of things to distract you, and the side show acts do a great job. at times some of the drill hid the musicians behind the stages, but they were so large what could you do/ All in all, a fun show

Cavaliers.....i've seen it live, i've seen it online. it still makes no sense to me, but there's some nice aggressive music and a ferocious battery. The guard to me was an afterthought as conceptually i couldn't follow it. Score seemed about right, but I'What I truly liked was they allowed the theme to be taken how you wanted to without shoving it down your throat. loved the drum book.

SCV...was so looking forward to seeing this live...but tonights run seemed, battery aside, flat. yes the electronics crapped out in the beginning for half the show. The battery played angry...not just into the heads, but through the top and bottom heads...but what a quality of sound! of course when the lights go on, it got the crowd going, and at that point the kids themselves seemed inspired. The show has that 97-04 vibe and at times intensity, it just seems to be, no pun intended, missing that spark to take it to the next level. And with the top 4 this year, someone has to be 5th.

BD...another show that has to be seen live to be fully appreciated. What a percussion section, and great integration of the props. everyone plays and moves well, and the ballad is an 11. it seemed more traditional drill this year than years past, with some increased visual demand in terms of velocity and playing some notes while hauling. They perform so well, but i'm not sure they can take it all. They got a good, but not great reaction from a crowd that generally hasn't been big fans of later.

FREE players.....so much fun, and so much love put into this program. They stayed at our hotel and we had a chance to talk to their director Saturday morning. Anyone that didn't stay missed a truly touching performance

Cadets2.....having just seen them a week ago, I was looking forward to seeing them perform with no competitive pressure, and just letting loose. Well, I truly enjoy the show, but it seemed being on a Friday night and out of their usual Saturday show day routine had them a little flat. Drums still great, guard had a rough night, but man if they can get that brass going...and we all know geno has some free time coming up in a week...look out DCA.

that said...i don't ever remember a DCA corps having a good run on Friday night at East. Maybe they need to be Saturdays from now on.

Saturday...great day at the TOB clinic, more Pineville tailgating and then away we go!

Surf....I enjoy the show, but it seems to be missing that spark the last few years had. It's a dillema.....be funny, or be serious? This show tries to do both. That's a lot of lame surrounding the sun goddess thats for sure. I was hoping the ponchos would be used for more, and the color does stick out. Drums easily the best section tonight, and the DM saved the corps from a huge ensemble tear. Score wise maybe a touch higher in my eyes, but i give Seattle the edge.

Pacific Crest....got the concept, but the box is like Cadets 13...clunky, hard to move, and in PC's case, doesn't always hide whats supposed to be hidden. I liked the second half more than the first, and to me it seemed the kids feel that way too. Here's anpther corps thats right there, close enough...but it seems the shows they try hold them back at some point. I really want to see them go for it.

Oregon Crusaders....I liked the show, and the concept flowed well. It's not last years show, and it's not performed as well, but still enjoyable. If they could get their season going about two weeks earlier, I imagine we'd see the corps in a better spot. They've created their niche, but this year, it's not grabbing everyone like last year.

Troopers....yes please! Amazed this is scoring under the Colts. the singer seemed to be flat ( off key), but man they have her moving a lot! the theme made perfect sense, but the stuff with the lassos seems like an afterthought plugged in because they felt they had to. At times I couldn't tell if they were trying to be serious or funny with the lassos. if funny, the kids need to ham it up huge! It's not a Crown 07 ripoff at all, it's a lot of fun and seems to be performed better than it's getting credit for.

Colts...i got the story. the electronics was loud enough you got it in the park too. The thing that frustrates me is, the actors do a fine job. But there is so much of them, the corps itself feels like an afterthought. Plus they're trying to play, you have vocals going on over top of them...I dunno, it just really left me feeling blah, more so than last year, and I didn't like that show at all!

Crossmen, as announced "formerly from Delaware County" got a nice reaction. I like the show, and the movement through the pit has really cleaned up. But, given the home show feel Allentown has for the corps, they seemed flat. Maybe the staff told them to play it safe, but I wanted more. I like the show, and they're performing at a finalist level, but maybe this is truly a show that has to be in a dome to shine.

Boston....wow has this come a long way!! Watching it online I hated it. In person, I loved it! Well done conveying the story, loved all of the Conquest moments, and the kids really seem to be getting into it. But the props do seem to get in the way and at times are distracting. That said, they're in barring a fluke or baby powder, and I can't wait to watch it again.

Phantom....I'm biased. A former student is in the snare line, but that drumline is the best they've been since Rennick left. The show is fun, the vocal slips help a lot, and the Phantomettes do a great job channeling their inner French lady. I do wish they had chosen a different organ patch to use, and wish they'd really crank it up when they use it. Loved the kick halt, heard rumors a wedge is coming, and I can see this passing Cavies and maybe Madison.

Madison....man the guys are going for it. the concept may be a touch thin, but the corps is flying around the field. the appearance of the "girls" also got a good chuckle from the crowd. While not 11 or 13 quality, the show is fun. some good props to the battery for some good drumming as well!

and then it got fun.

TV does not do the Bluecoats justice. Now, after reading about Atlanta and Buffalo, the electronics have to work or it's dead. But when they work...wow. genuius layering of the electronics and the usage of the sound. very aggressive, at times too agressive, as if maybe a chance to breathe would help. But the corps is really starting to click on all cylanders...man the drums smoke! all sections are strong, but the genius of this show is the sum of all of the parts coming together as one.....as long as the electronics work.

Crown...so much fun. drums still holding them back somewhat, but it's not performance, it's the book. it needs some balls. brass at times is a brass choir...such incredible sounds. The guard....good lord, i'm a drummer and I spent a lot of time watching them. And of course lame for days. It's got that 13 Crown go for the kill mentality, but now they just have to eekp tweaking refining and cleaning.

the Cadets...i have liked the show all season before the uniform change. I still like it...but I'd like it better in the usual uniforms. it seemed like the corps came not to win, but instead not to lose. They move, but with all of that black, you lose the intensity of the visual. if the guard uniforms had more color, it may help, but black only works well if part of the colors used. Here it's too much and makes everything looks cluttered. That said they drum like manly men, and great brass....love the french horn section too! the vocal clips do a good job of conveying the theme without beating you over the head, which Cadets sometimes tend to do. The show what it takes, i just wonder in an enclosed stadium, with a huge big black back drop if the change can put them over the top.

Going into finals, I have no idea what to predict except SCV in 5th. the judges are doing their job..judging their sheet and the show of the day. This has been the most fun finals week has been in decades.

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Glad you found time to finish the review! As always, you include suggestions that would be helpful. That's necessary. As for watching it live versus TV . . . . it's definitely two different experiences, each having benefits over the other. However, there is NO question, my restroom was cleaner and more accessible than your stadium option! :tounge2:

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Who needs a restroom? There's Pineville

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