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Skeletor '96

2019 DCI Review #5 - THE BLUE DEVILS

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I got my 2019 DVDs last week and watched the first disc over dozen times already.  I thought I’d give my reviews of the top 5 one at a time and see what anybody thinks.  Lastly – the Blue Devils.  Alright, I’m finally gonna come right out say what I think many of us have thought for a long time.  The elephant in the room is that the Blue Devils haven’t been consistently entertaining since the 1990s.  This is hardly just my opinion.  With few exceptions, the Devils seem to want to out-weird themselves every year, and they just don’t pull it off.  “Weird” doesn’t generally turn me off either; I love Revolution 9 by the Beatles, for example.  These shows are just confusing.  The design team wastes probably the world’s greatest collection of young talent every year.  There are exceptions to my rule.   I love 2007’s Winged Victory which was unusually “normal” for them, 2012’s Cabaret Voltaire (yes, “weird” can indeed be pulled off very well), and 2016’s As Dreams Are Made On.  The rest are mostly terrible to my eyes and ears, to be brutal about it.

2019 had its moments though.  The creative, original use of their backdrops was pretty cool.  Their use of their scatter drill and choreography was often more effective than most other corps.  I like the electric light bulb; the fact that I don’t know what it means doesn’t matter.   The overall effect on the high camera view is much more enjoyable than the multi-cam.  Their level of performance really was amazing.  I actually agree they should maybe have beaten the Bluecoats that night, believe it or not.  I just didn’t personally enjoy the show.  General effect was the biggest shortcoming.  It just didn’t come together at all.

The use of strange instrumentation (the electronic string instrument, electric guitar, and a sousaphone) is a crime.  The use of spoken/sung word was terrible again too.  Their musical selections and arrangements were pretty unimpressive to my ears.  The tap dancing section didn’t add anything to the show.  Don’t even get me started on this year’s edition of their uniforms/costumes.  There is a third type of person.  The type that skips to the Bluecoats.

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The Blue Devils haven’t been entertaining since the 90’s? Whoa. 

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11 minutes ago, tesmusic said:

The Blue Devils haven’t been entertaining since the 90’s? Whoa. 

To be fair, he said consistently. And in some cases I can see his point? I'm still in the camp that 2010 is an intellectual exercise more than a show, and those aren't necessarily the most entertaining. And 2005 is obviously hit-or-miss (the music from that show is so, so good...and when you watch it instead of listening to it the show is so, so bad).

Then again, my favorite BD shows 2005-present (when I started following the activity) are 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. So I may not be the best person to go off of.

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3 hours ago, ftwdrummer said:

To be fair, he said consistently. And in some cases I can see his point? I'm still in the camp that 2010 is an intellectual exercise more than a show, and those aren't necessarily the most entertaining. And 2005 is obviously hit-or-miss (the music from that show is so, so good...and when you watch it instead of listening to it the show is so, so bad).

Then again, my favorite BD shows 2005-present (when I started following the activity) are 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. So I may not be the best person to go off of.

For me, the last time I wasn’t thoroughly entertained was 1988 from them, but that’s just me.

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14 minutes ago, Terri Schehr said:

I thought they were fantastic and so much fun. Best use of a prop ever. 

Get to a show, @Skeletor '96.  These videos just don’t translate as well as being there.  I watch on flomarching and it’s nowhere near the same as being at the show. 

Amen and well spoken Ms Terri.

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I have to say, I feel pretty strongly that it was an incredibly strong and engaging music book by BD - one of my favorites from them in the modern era - and a razor-clean visual program.  I also think that the Bluecoats should have wiped the floor with them in General Effect.  Both can be true.  😃

Mike

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BD was my favorite show of 2019. And "THIS is hardly just my opinion." 

And some of us CAN, and continue, to enjoy the high concept shows that BD puts out. 

It's obvious that you have a Bluecoats and/or Beatles bias (and that's fine) but that's because you clearly know more about that show, its themes, and took the time to study it. However, I will personally admit that I'm not a Beatles fan myself. Regardless, I would not take that away the fact that the Coats had a great and enjoyable show. 

However, If you took the time to understand the history behind a stage's ghostlight and BD's homage to theater in general, then you too would understand the choices that they made to create their show instead of the random abstraction that you describe their shows as having. Perhaps that's why it didn't "come together" (HA!) for you. Also, you don't technically "skip to the Bluecoats" as BD performed last that evening. haha. 

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