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Welcome to my review of the 2016 Tour of Champions show at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY!

There were several things that went better than expected and a few things that went worse. I was with my family, and my mom invited her friend Gayle to the show. It was her first time coming to a drum corps show. My younger sister has been having some mobility issues due to an ankle sprain, but the Bills stadium staff was VERY accommodating for her, even allowing her to move to an aisle seat during the second half. Also, we were very glad that we got into the stadium using the entrance on Big Tree Road. It was a LOT more convenient than the Abbott Road entrance, which was once again backed up a lot, even for the fact that it was 45 minutes until showtime. The big problem with the stadium this year: No one (not even DCI themselves) ever warned us that because it's an NFL stadium, the "clear bag policy" was in effect. My mom fell victim to that rule. Soon after we got inside, we heard about the 20-minute delay due to long lines. The show got kicked off at about 7:24pm with the Canadian (lots of people from southern Ontario come here annually) and American national anthems.

Bluecoats (1st place, 94.5)

"Down Side Up"

What a way to kick off the night! This is truly a total package. It's one of the most fun, effective, stunning, and downright game-changing shows I've seen in a long time. The ramps were used in every which way they possibly could, and there's no way they could have done the crazy stuff they were doing with the old uniforms! Was hoping they'd be a bit farther away from the field in GE. Visually, they were tighter than ever, and it shows in their gap between them and BD (and over Crown, for that matter). Great colorguard this year, wouldn't mind seeing them win the Zingali at all. TONS of cool percussive effects throughout, and I mean TONS. I'm pretty sure they raided a music conservatory's percussion room in order to bring all those textures and timbres. Like many shows this year, seeing it on a screen will NOT do it justice! Of the 7 corps here tonight, this one was my favorite, to the point at which I had to buy myself one of the blue "Down Side Up" shirts. I'll be wearing it on Saturday night to cheer them on, even though I won't be at Finals!

Boston Crusaders (7th, 82.4)

"Quixotic"

I'm mad at the judges. They shouldn't have gotten the score that they received. They deserve 2-3 points higher. I actually really enjoyed it! Loved the music from Man of La Mancha; I played a medley of those tunes my sophomore year of high school and as dark as the musical is, the tunes stick with you. Narration didn't irk me at all; it helped me follow the story better. Also, they covered almost every square inch of the field throughout the show, which was really cool! My favorite part was a cool electronic effect with the trumpet small ensemble during the "battle with the windmills" section. I'm actually really hoping they make Finals instead of the Madison Scouts, whose show is just very dull, dark, and dreary - not the Madison I know. (As a sidenote, I've always wanted to see Madison do a Don Quixote show!)

The Cadets (4th, 91.6)

"Awakening"

Here's a classic example of the members saving a lackluster show design. It actually came together really well tonight, despite me hoping for the worst. Yes, the music is fantastic, as indicated by their score tonight. If it weren't for the synth bass overpowering the tubas, I would listen to this show a lot. Really, the biggest problem is the individual marchers - I don't get the impression that they are marching like the Cadets I know. I liked the percussion, but the drumline should have been featured more. They were behind the front hash for a large part of the show, and when they were featured, they were in unison. There's no doubt the colorguard is more into this show than last year (how could a colorguard possibly characterize a show about the number 10?). And a special shout-out to the "statues," as they have the toughest job of all the MMs - having to be still for several minutes straight. It must require an enormous amount of strength to do that without fidgeting! Overall, I wish them the best. I know it's not their best product, but I like it more than the last three or four shows they've done, which for me have come off as either really boring or really cheesy.

Going to do a quick rough draft of the rest of the night before expanding these points later:

Carolina Crown (3rd, 93.775)

"Relentless"

  • great brass & colorguard
  • solid & much improved percussion
  • ending worked much better live
  • a few odd moments in the storyline, such as the stagecoach at the end of Roxanne, but nothing glaring

The Cavaliers (5th, 90.80)

"Propaganda"

  • so much fun!
  • solid in all captions except high brass
  • LOVED the closer!
  • Caught lots of things I never caught watching the video on a screen

Phantom Regiment (6th, 87.2)

"Voice of Promise"

  • To all the haters out there... Would you rather have this or the cheesy 2013-15 shows?
  • Phantom needed this show in order to start fresh
  • Beautiful brass & colorguard
  • Drill was lackluster, but Emmert is a young drillwriter
  • Lots of references to their past

The Blue Devils (2nd, 94.45)

"As Dreams Are Made On"

  • Tied with "Felliniesque" for my favorite show of the 2000s from BD
  • LOTS of amazing moments!
  • LOUD brass, commanding percussion, fun colorguard
  • I can totally understand why they placed so close to Bloo tonight
Edited by Cadevilina Crown
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Great review! Thanks!

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