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We were down super low in the fourth row, but dead center, so I didn’t get much of a read at all in terms of drill. Perfect weather, and a friendly crowd. My only real show-related complaint was the bathroom lines. I felt especially bad for a few members of the Academy waiting ahead of us for the port-a-jons that had to give up ;)

SHADOW: Messin’ with DNA!

Very solid start! How often do you get to say that you saw a corps’ very first DCI performance?? The crowd gave them major love on their exit hearing that announcement. I’m not a drummer, but they seemed to have a particularly strong battery, and it was highlighted well. Also loved the drum colors! The DNA staircase ladders made things a bit cluttery; some of the performers climbing them looked nervous as well, which is never a good thing. I thought the judges underscored them by more than a little. This is one of those times I wish I had a full recap…

MUSIC CITY: As Mel Brooks says, it’s good to be the King.

Golden triangles looked fantastic behind the corps alongside their red uniforms, less so when they were elsewhere on the field. (You can tell how I feel about large props in general…) I think they really limited themselves with the whole “Coronation” theme. There’s only so much imperious strutting their “king” character could really do…but he just kept doing it. I was missing greater emotional range (and not just from him.)

GENESIS: Hell hath no fury like a corps poorly scored.

Speaking of emotional range, their narrator needs some serious work. I could tell she was trying, but it just wasn’t happening. That being said, there were a lot of positives for this show. A huge step up in demand and complexity in every regard. Give it a few more weeks, and I think the whole thing will click together quite nicely.

PIONEER: Wait, was Joan of Arc Irish??

Brass sounded stronger than some of the previous Pioneer performances I’ve seen in years past. Their singer was quite talented, and integrated musically fairly well with the rest of the corps. Burning Joan of Arc at the stake gave the audience a nice set piece (as a different thread & poster would call it ;) to latch on to, but the rest less so.

PACIFIC CREST: Hammer Time!

The confidence and poise they marched with went a very long way in differentiating them from Pioneer, as did their staging. A solid & enjoyable performance all around, I don’t have much more to say.

ACADEMY: Corpse, corps, cores, course, coarse…

Their first big hit felt louder than the previous five corps combined, and the brass carried that quality and energy throughout the rest of the show. Fantastic staging, and what I’ll call “entertainment value.” Their theme was coherent enough for us to see and understand it, but didn’t get overly bogged down in trying to create complicated narrative details. Crowd loved it!

BLUE STARS: “La Reve.” French for: “The Reve.”

Possibly my favorite, their performance level was on fire tonight! Crazy high energy and fast moving, with every section really locked in. I was a bit nervous before they begin, calling your show “The Dream” gives you license to try just about anything thematically, but they elected wisely to keep what was happening on the field fairly straightforward. Hints of wonder, of conflict, and of growth. Gorgeous ballad.

CAROLINA CROWN: Excuse me Sir, your horse seems to have sprouted gears…

Brass was wild as always, they attacked everything with fantastic skill, gusto, and attention to detail. My problems with this show were all design related, not performance. So here’s what I got from it; The Old West. A stagecoach. Some sort of attempted heist. And….that was about it. The rest just wasn’t communicated to me clearly at all. What’s “Relentless” about all this? I wasn’t sure where the focus was frequently. I don’t know what they’ll be changing or adding before the season’s over, but I’m hoping for at least a partial makeover. I don’t intend any of this to detract from the performers though, who had a terrific night, especially their guard, which nailed tons of super exposed tosses.

MADISON SCOUTS: Jesus Christ Superstar 2.0?

So here’s my only catch with this one. It seemed to me like they wanted to give us music from Jesus Christ Superstar, but didn’t want it to be another straight-up Jesus Christ Superstar show. So they tried giving it an “angle” of sorts by focusing on Judas, (or at least intending to - some of it communicated very clearly from the guard and staging, but other parts didn’t.), but I don’t think they necessarily needed to. The music selection and arrangements were unique enough that it felt like a fresh JCS show, not a rehash of an old one. That being said…A heck of a night for the home team. No one works the crowd like the Scouts, and this was their night and place to shine. Crazy intensity from the brass, I don’t know how any of them had chops for their encore. Well done!

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