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Stanford Review (Was At The Show)

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Just got back from Stanford (and am hyped up) so I thought I would share my thoughts.

I watched the Periscope of Blue Knights and SCV from Clovis last night, and I went to a BD rehearsal the night before Family Night, so I had some preconceived notions going into tonight. All in all, it was just a fantastic night. Here are my thoughts (in order of finish).

SANTA CLARA VANGUARD: I will never say a show is unbeatable, but #### this really is going to be a tough show for anyone to beat. I watched the Periscope last night and wasn't that impressed. In person, they completely blew me away. I was completely spellbound and in awe-shock throughout their show. This show is amazing from top to bottom and left to right. There just isn't a design flaw to be found. It is so exciting, innovative, and just plan cool. They are once again taking the use of props to new levels. The uniforms are perfection live. The props are perfection. The guard book is perfection. I've seen Vanguard in June almost every year since 2004, and their hornline this year is without a doubt the best I have ever heard at this stage. Their hornline is for real. Crown they are coming for your Ott. I don't know if they will win brass at finals, but they certainly have a championship caliber hornline to compliment their championship caliber drumline, their championship caliber colorguard, and their championship caliber design. I think this show is absolutely a masterpiece in the making and this is going to be one of those legendary shows that people talk about for years. It is just that #### good. I had to buy a Babylon shirt after the show, and there were tons of SCV alumni who were so happy and excited. I heard many, "I've been waiting for this since 2007" and "I've been waiting for this for so long." If you get a chance to see them live this year, take it, and buckle up. Absolutely a championship caliber show in every single way.

BLUE DEVILS: As I said above, I went to their ensemble the Friday before Family Day (had a birthday dinner the night of Family Day). I didn't post anything on here about it because I had absolutely nothing nice to say. I hated the show. I was not happy that I took BART out to Concord and then an Uber to their practice site, only to be so disappointed. Well, tonight I was anything but disappointed. The show has come so far since then and there is so much to enjoy about it. Of course, it's BD. It's so #### good too. The recreation of the painting was pretty cool, but if you know the painting it is no surprise. Most people won't know the painting though, but you could tell that is the direction they were going with the props. Right now, at least, I didn't really feel the props added much to the show like Vanguard's did, but I am sure that will change. I had heard reports that their guard was not nearly as good this year as in years past. I think those reports were grossly exaggerated. Lots and lots of tasty guard work. I was really pleased with what I saw tonight. It's a great show. I just think SCV has the edge in design and has now matched BD in brass, guard and drums. I think SCV and BD will go 1-2 at finals. 

BLUE KNIGHTS: I watched a rehearsal video of them earlier in the week and the Periscope last night. Like BD, I had nothing nice to say about them after those viewings. And, like, BD I was very pleasantly surprised tonight. They have a great vehicle - better than last year. I LOVED the uniforms from the stands, and the backsides being different were utilized pretty well for effect and I think they will enhance that as the season goes on. Loved the silks and the guard book. As the props get utilized more they will of course enhance the show. The seemed pretty solid across the board. I really liked their show. I think they will be 7th or 8th at finals.

MANDARINS: Ok - I'm going to get this out of the way. Their uniforms were AMAZING - probably my favorite of the night. They looked so cool from the stands, both the main corps and guard. The show. The show. The show is wonderful and is a huge step up from last year. I think they will absolutely be in the running for finals, and could potentially finish as high as 10th. I was very impressed. Those guard uniforms looked gross from the pictures, but they were spectacular from the stands. The design is great, and a design I feel the judges will eat up. Their score was definitely deserved. It is going to be a great year for them. JW - you are a stud!

ACADEMY: Sadly, this was the only show I did not really like tonight. I feel the theme is a huge misfire. It's just not compelling at all. In comparison with everyone else it just wasn't interesting. What a bizarre theme to chose for a show. I just don't get the thought process behind making these choices. The narration is intrusive and destructive in my opinion. They have such a beautiful ballad, but the narration ruins it. I also felt the narration was pointless - well rather its only point was to make sure the audience knew what the theme was. Over and over and over and over. Not effective at all. I did like the silks, and again the ballad was beautiful, but all in all I'm just not a fan of the show - from a design and theme standpoint. I really do not see this show challenging for a finals position. They will not catch the Mandarins. The Mandarins design is superior to Academy's. To me, the Mandarins were definitely a step up from Academy. So, if they don't beat the Mandarins, I don't see a way into finals for them. Maybe it's just so hard to live up to their amazing 2016 show. I wish them the best, and hope they can find their way back to giving us such unique and interesting shows as Drum Crops Bride. 

TROOPERS: Another pleasant surprise. These guys are an old, sentimental favorite. How can anyone not like the Troopers? The sunburst was cool. I took my roommate to her first drum corps show tonight, and I was telling her how they used to do the sunburst and then they did it. Really liked their show. Changing the tops of the uniforms was nice and they did it in a way where they really didn't draw attention to it, so it was hardly noticeable that they were just pulling their old tops off. Well done. Really enjoyable show. Not as good as those above, obviously, but enjoyable.

BLUE DEVILS B: Man they are great. Nice show. I really liked it. Of course they will be battling Vanguard Cadets for the Open Class title. I remember the midwestern cadet corps of the 80s and these two are on a whole different level.

VANGUARD CADETS: Thinking their uniforms aren't in yet, but these days I'm not sure. Loved that they blew the house down form the first note. I think their show has more potential in it, right now, then Blue Devils B. But, it's earlier. They'll no doubt be duking it out until the end.

BLUE DEVILS C: Oh my, these little dudes and ladies were so cute. There were a couple trumpet players that were so small it looked like the trumpets were weighing them down. There was a tiny little guard girl too just rocking it with her flag in the opener. Really awesome of BD to have this program. Very enjoyable to watch really young people be so engaged in this activity and the crowd just at them up.

All in all, it was one of the best DCI West shows I have been to. Despite my criticism of the Academy, there really was something to like in every show. My roommate loved it. SCV and Mandarins were her favorites. She couldn't get past the BD guard member in the red dress the whole night.

Lastly, not sure if they showed the encore on Flo, but was glad to hear SCV's closer. It is fierce. 

Edited by queenanne_1536
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Queenanne, I Very much enjoyed your nicely detailed review. Particularly so  "Sad"" to see THE ACADEMY's "ACADEMIC" production  so Intrusively interrupted by unneeded and distracting Narration unntil "Oh Captain, My Captain". Otherwise IT IS a  vastly improved Corps from last year in all captions: Brass. Percussion and Guard!.  Their Uniforms beautifully fit the theme. One final comment, the show truly lacks, at this point, Emotional connection with the audience.

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