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This was a very interesting year for DCI.

Finals in Denver was a week earlier than usual. This was to accommodate the 'Tour of Champions,' an end-of-season tour which took the six competing corps which had previously won a DCI championship (Cavaliers, BD, Cadets, Phantom, Madison and Vanguard) to the West Coast for several non-competitive showcases. I believe the goal was to assess the feasibility of a West Coast DCI championship, which happened in 2007. The corps played their shows and then came forward for an 'instant encore' which consisted of a classic corps song played by the hornline, while the next corps was setting up. This worked fine for the Tour of Champions, but never caught on for future competitions. The participating groups enjoyed playing for each other and the West Coast audiences were enthusiastic.

This was also the first year for the quarterfinals theater live broadcast. An amusing anecdote was when the 'sideline' reporter asked a Cavalier 'how can I become a Bond girl?' and his quick-witted response was 'Um, I can show you later.' Laughs in theaters all around the country. 'Big, Loud, and Live' celebrated 15 years in 2019.

Finally, the big change was the addition of electronic amplification, limited at this point to pit percussion instruments and voice. Carolina Crown and Boston Crusaders(?) made use of the 'human voice' rule and some fans walked out on their performances because of it. Other fans quit DCI, at least for a time.  

Oh, yes. The shows. Cavaliers won with a crowd-friendly show of James Bond music. Vanguard had a hit with 'Scheherazade.' Bluecoats broke into the Top 6, and Crown was right on their heels in 7th, their highest placement to date as well. Two future champions turning heads in a year which celebrated the champions of the past and present.

Talk! 2004!

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2004 in Denver was a great finals venue. Since my corps didn't make finals, I watched from the top deck, with my corps friends, in my hard-earned jacket, on a perfect summer night. The season was over

Cavies 2004 is actually what made me a fan of the corps. I love every bit of it!

One memory I have of the Cadets show is how Hopkins regularly aired his personal tribulations on his blog that summer, and also included it in the DVD commentary. In fact, it seems like he said he nam

56 minutes ago, mfrontz said:

Carolina Crown and Boston Crusaders(?) made use of the 'human voice' rule and some fans walked out on their performances because  

...they are ####### spoiled children

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2004 was a transformational year in DCI for allowing voice and amplification for the first time.  I had no problem with amps - voices took a while longer.    

Cavaliers decided to pair their mind-blowing visual programs with some catchy music.  As a result, they won.  007 is a great show and well worth having on your "must watch" list.  Welcome to Cuba is by far the highlight of the show, and very out-of-character for the corps during this time.

Blue Devils' show felt very avant-garde in its approach.  I don't know if I'd call it jazz - more "jazzy."  Still awesomely performed, though.  Take the A Train and the insane snare accelerando was my favorite.

Vanguard kind of caught lightning in a bottle with Scheherazade - a perfect pairing of design and execution.  Let's face it - the original ballet is not set-the-world-on-fire material, but man did SCV *make* it that.  The battery was one of the best they've ever had.  Loved hearing the guard coming from a mile away when they entered the field - their coin-like belts swishing in unison.

The Cadets decided to take a leap into the deep end with Jethro Tull. Complete with twirler.  Strangely enough, the result was actually pretty good.  They managed to capture the spirit of the music pretty well, and I think it's a testament to how good their performers were.  Worth watching for the historical curiosity, or if you just like The Cadets.

Phantom used the same basic structure as their 2003 show, but plugged in Piazzola. On a technical level, it's a big step up from the year before, but it didn't capture the emotion in quite the same fashion.  Killer drumline again from Paul Rennick.  

Bluecoats took a quantum leap forward while still focusing on what they always do best.  While they didn't reach Fully Armed and Operational Battle Station mode until 2007's Criminal, they were significantly improving the brass program and trending a bit darker starting this year.  On top of that - it's fun to listen to.

Crown kept their upward velocity going with a much more technically sophisticated show from the year before, and were one of two corps to jump on the Vocal bandwagon.  Gotta admit - I didn't care for it. It felt very high school theater.  Rest of the show was pretty good, but they raised their own bar out of sight since then, so I don't know how much replay value the show has. 

Madison decided to recreate their 1988 show. I mean, listen to it. It's pretty obvious. Didn't capture the same magic, obviously, but it's a *good* show. Not earth-shattering, but a fun time.

Boston Crusaders also decided to mess with vocals, including a lot of narration. Not my favorite result - nebulous color-or-feeling shows always feel to me like stuff HS's do.  DCI's always been more in-your-face than that to me.  

Blue Knights hit on a formula that worked for them starting in 2004, with dark, catchy music and a much more "modern" approach to movement. I love this era, and will watch them again anytime. Nice use of I Go On as well.  

Crossmen *almost* had me on board for this one. Their take on Jubal Step is interesting, and Both Sides Now of course feels very Crossmen.  They lost me on Puma though - we went from one of the best battery books ever in '92 to Three Camps in '04.  Killed it for me.  

Glassmen went dark in music with Voice of One.  Neat solo moments throughout, but probably not worth a re-watch these days.

Other Highlights: Speaking of nebulous, HS-color-or-feeling shows, "The Architecture of Life" and "Celebration of Life: Mind, Body and Spirit" have to rank in my Bottom 5 of show concepts ever. Magic crashed and burned with Pirates of the Caribbean, Southwind actually impressed with The Mummy, and Pacific Crest showed definite signs of growth.  

Next year (2005): Cadets did not zag in the slightest.

Mike

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41 minutes ago, MikeN said:

"Celebration of Life: Mind, Body and Spirit"

a nebulous phrase upon which to hang 90s Cadets Holsinger stuff, and it worked competitively (and the crowd liked it)

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BDs horn line was out of this world in 2004. 20 in Quarters i believe. One of the best BD horn lines of all time behind 1991 and 1993. 

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3 hours ago, MikeN said:

The Cadets decided to take a leap into the deep end with Jethro Tull. Complete with twirler.  Strangely enough, the result was actually pretty good.  They managed to capture the spirit of the music pretty well, and I think it's a testament to how good their performers were.  Worth watching for the historical curiosity, or if you just like The Cadets.

I actually liked '04 Cadets.  Here it is on high cam.

 

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in 04, i was rather irate about the passing of the first electronics rules, so I didn't see much. What I did see I mostly liked...

 

Cavies and Bond. A perfect match.Especially Cuba, so unlike the cavies we had come to know.

 

BD was good, but in some ways it felt like 03 rehash in spots.

SCV. OMFG!!! The percussion as incredible and Keys brass arrangements were amazing...if anything the visual package was too hard to clean. 

 

and well, that's all that stands out

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I was living in Sydney, NSW as my company moved me out there for 3-1/2 years, and was slated to be in Denver for some projects in Blackhawk, CO so i asked nicely to get me out there a few days early to "scope the project"...i.e. time to get last minute tickets and enjoy finals week. SCV was my favorite of 2004...hands down. I was so so on electronics and amps until i decided to give it an open mind, and i liked what i was hearing...i gave Bb and open mind in 2000 so why not. Solid top-12, seemed to be a start of a trend that has continued through present.

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I feel Cavies - this show probably gets less discussion than 2002 or 2006, but it's fantastic. It's easily in my top 5. I remember when the show was announced, everyone was freaking out, and not in a good way. It helps that it wasn't just your usual James Bond theme medley that every mediocre HS marching band played in the 90s. David Arnold has some slappers. The Goldeneye opening is super cool and iconic. The all-male guard really sold it, in an era when characterization was becoming more important, but hadn't gone over to gag-inducing literalism.

Blue Devils - when I saw them first at the Hershey show, I said "man, that show sucked balls!" But, like many DC shows (and BD shows in particular), it really grows on you, and It was one of my favorites by finals. A lot of that doooo doooo doot doot doooo doooo doot doot that dominated their shows from 2003-2007 and probably beyond. I really like the trumpet solo "calls" with guard around them and the hornline in "response." I also really dig the ballad, where the battery uses handheld metallic instruments to create a groove. I hate it when the battery just stands in a corner for the ballad! So smooth, understated and groovy. This is my favorite BD uniform, I believe they only used them in 04 and 05

SCV - this was THE SHOW to watch that year. Just a ton of energy and as everyone says, one of the all-time great percussion sections. Scheherezade is not a good piece of music, but it's definitely something you can really go for as a performer and pour a lot of energy into. A retreat from the 'cerebral' shows of 1997-2003 to something more theatrical, 80s SCV-like.

Cadets - "sitting on a park bench, eyeing little girls with bad intent" yikes. This would be the worst Cadets show of the 21st century if it weren't for 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016, and 2017. Consciously went for a more straightforward and just plain easier drill. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good moments musically, but the whole thing is just kinda bland. 

This was my first year marching, so I have some personal reflections to come.

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Cavies 2004 is actually what made me a fan of the corps. I love every bit of it!

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