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Bentonville Show

My second time to attend this show in three years. People are so amazingly friendly here- everywhere you go: the gas station, grocery store, restaurant, etc. If this is southern hospitality, I like it. Whether we will all see each other again one day or not, it just makes you feel good.

Genesis was a fantastic opening act. I remember when anyone below 15th or so was painful to watch. They sounded and looked great! Show theme is solid, could use a bit more clarity. Beautiful guard costumes and great props. They often have a very polished and mature look and sound that I often do not see in BDB or SCVC. This might be a year Genesis makes a really solid run for the OC title. Thanks for all of the detail and nuance. Created good travel talk back to the hotel. We all thought the show was much better designed than Spirit and close to Pacific Crest, though that is a compliment to them. PC is really fine.

Crest was also quite good. Each section a step up from Genesis, but not hugely. Easy to follow and some real clever designing. Each section looks and sounds solid. Some feet and drill cleaning yet to do. I think they can play up the show theme to a larger degree to let the audience in more. Maybe their best corps ever. I think they will be a great example in the end of how strong the activity is becoming at all levels and at all placements. The SUV travelers all agree this is possibly their best effort.

Spirit was the only let down in the show tonight. After reading all the previous posts, I was expecting more, a lot more. Brass sound pretty good standing still. Talent in the drums for sure. Show design is really questionable. I found it to be super amateurish. Visual design? The corps moves very little and is really cramped most of the show. Though in general I get the “guy gets girl thing”, I am not sure they make me care. The props seem a distraction. This will not hold up without major re-writes. All that said, maybe the show is super safe and conservative for a reason. I do think they came across as if the members like performing, which is always a plus. SUV talk was dominated by the show the designers have provided and what a slip since 2013, though we are all pulling for the organization and current members. We thought their's the weakest show of the night.

Mandarins were the strongest corps pre INT. Each section really delivering on an equal level. Great use of electronics and percussion overall. Love the theme. Some developing yet to do, and cleaning of course. Probably their best effort ever. There is some great pacing of events happening and you get a sense there is more development yet to do, though without that slowing the cleaning process. Power and finesses. Drama and calm. Well designed and potential to continue to turn heads along the way to championships. Talk on the way afterwards was pretty excited by their recent efforts.

Troopers are yet again providing a high quality product with a American-centric vibe. Horn line sounds really lush and deep and loud. Softer moments need work. Theme is good for them and sells most of the time. Visual overall is a small concern. The preshow is as good as anything in the show. Guard seems a bit too redundant in what they bring. I like the uni in person. The waist needs editing, but it works well otherwise. We will see it this holds up for a finalist spot. I think Academy and Colts also have a shot. We will see what BAC brings. SUV talk was about their finals chances with the likes of Academy, Boston, and Colts in the mix.

Academy was sooooo good. I did not see this coming. That opening and the closer, yawzaaa! Fun with high quality. This is definitely a finals possible corps. Loved it. The manipulation of props, the story line, the skeleton moment, and the role playing is just so well done. The thinner, more exposed areas need the most work and come across as their current area of greatest vulnerability. Crowd ate it up! SUV ride to the hotel consensus was that is we could pick based on sheer entertainment value, they are in finals.

BD is just so good it is crazy to watch. They are just really good at everything they do. The performance and design. The Tempest is my favorite Bill S. play, so that helps me connect to all the isms. Ready to see it again. The use of trombones is killer. The musical threads throughout that keep coming back are super innovative. There are still dead spots of the corps and guard not doing anything but restaging, though all the other moments are already super detailed. Loud. The most melodic they have been in five years. Length of phrase in the ballad is crazy impressive. Not sure they can be beat if fill the dead spots and perform with heart and passion (something I am often critical of them not being). SUV talk focused on their ability to explore any topic, well.

Crown and BD are really like comparing apples to stethoscopes. So very different in each approach. I like the theme risk and the story is fairly easy to follow though like last year's show early on, it gets too allusive at times. Think they outperformed BD, but BD out designed them. Too many predictable Crown devices. Regardless, amazing corps. Possible DCI winner if they look at the things BD does better design wise and makes some changes. They have the talent for it. Crazy clean for July 19. Brass ouy bested BD tonight. Both guards are amazing. Crown perc getting better but no where near comparable to BD’s. SUV talk was about how judges are faced with some really hard comparisons these days.

Edited by phan771
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Great review. Thanks!

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Thanks for the quick and detailed review. Exciting to hear about Academy. Seems that as the season goes, more and more posters are reacting the same way, so the love seems to be coming form more than just homers. Shame to hear your take on Spirit. But like with Academy, as the season goes, more and more seem to be on this page. I will see them this weekend. Hoping for the best.

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