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Review - Spirit Preview, Madison (AL) June 18th

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I drove over to Huntsville to catch Spirit's first performance. Although one read will not allow me to catch much, I'lll try to give you the "dirt" as I saw it......at least what I caught.

First, we went and caught the percussion line warming up. Folks, I'm here to tell you that they have a battery. Snares are tight for June, tenors are cranking along and the basses are a LOT tighter than I suspected. This section should be the strong point for the corps early on. My only drawback is that the Yamaha drums are almost "tinny" in sound. Sorry, I love the darkness of a Pearl line. (7 snares, 4 tenors, 5 basses, 5 plates)

Watched the guard (24, I think) from across the field warming up. Unis are okay (dark burnt brown with tri color top section, copper and reddish I think) they look okay.... more on them in a few.

We went and grabbed seats. Inside the 40 on the #2 side. The stands weren't the highest thing in the world, so I'm sure some of the effect would be lost there.

Entering the field: The corps walked in in 2 files and then started a scatter thing to a scatter set for the warmup. (Personal note - I didn't like this) A lot of ripple movements throughout the production, starting with turning backfield to warmup.

The production: Remember the guard? They added a half top so the entire uniform is all the same color....including same color masks???? Hey, I'm not a guard person.....whatever. Actually, I didn't notice the masks again.

Brass: (21 sops, 12 mellos, 20 baris, 10 contras) They have some solid players out there. Strong sounds. However, the bari sound is RAW at fortissimo.......... Opening statement is VERY reminiscent of a cross between Glassmen's opener (Splat, splat, rest splat splat rest)and Phantom's wide stance step out during last year's 16th note fugue between sections. Okay, so we're off......right into the weakest playing section of the corps...... the mellos. INTONATION!!!!! A lot of different tone colors coming out of this opening feature. A lot of dirt being played, but admittedly some killer licks...... The one thing I noted throughout was the stuffy sound of the mellos..... If someone at Spirit reads this, PLEASE experiment with boring out some mouthpieces. Opener was okay visually.....A lot better drill than last years, although the cool moves all look like ripped off moves (Cadets collapsing box at the end of the production and a Cap Regiment snake around the guard) but hey, that's cool. The opener was, in my opinion the weakest executed from a visual standpoint. There are a couple of baris out there who looked clueless the entire time. Drillwise, it seemed the corps proper stayed up front a lot..... not a lot of field coverage except for a company front on the back hash. Marching Style: Ummm... I know it's early, but we've got to work on the basics.... a lot. Vets were sticking out.... amongst some bad fundamental marching. Sorry, it seems rough, but it's true. I'm sure this will get better as they become more comfortable with the drill. The demand in the visual book is high, so it'll come together. Visual package is good with good integration of the guard.

Horns: Like I noted earlier, mellos had problems. Strongest sections are the contras (some REALLY nice moments) and the sops (Some strong players and hung together as a section well - usually a good ensemble sound out of them). The one thing I noticed is that it seemed like they played the entire show at forte or better, including the "ballad". Bringing some of the dynamics down a little would help give more contrast and they play NICE at softer levels. Overall, the brass book held together well, even if the visual package was having problems.

Percussion: 2 mini features, one in the opener and another later. These guys are doing a good job and I think will keep scores up as the horns get a grip on the drill.

Overall, there's a lot of dirt out there, but not a bad first run at all. Show has high demand and with a lot of work, will do well. Don't ask me placements. How do I know? Moving away for a few days to get rid of some of the jitters and all was a good move. I expect that Thursday night in their opening competition, these guys will settle down and will make JSU happy. Expect good things from these cats.

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Thanks for the review! Are they wearing the same jackets this summer as last?


Yup, same as last year, at least they look the same. Also, since you bring it up, unis were looking slouchy. I'm sure adjustments will be made.

Overall, I'll wait to see some other cats Thursday, but they have the package.

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Thanks for the review.. I was on the phone for that performance last night.. and while it's hard to hear from the microphone of a noise reduction cell phone.. i'm soooooooo excited about this show..

I think the same color and mask thing the colorguard wears probably has something to do with the show being based on the Resurrection.. ??

Not sure.. I will have to wait until I see it.. but I won't see it until MADISON! AAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH....

anyway.. thanks :)

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Spirit is using the same jackets as last year. I was there first hand before having to step out because of personal situations... there will be some adjustments made to the unis as they go along. I mean in the sense of making more form fitting...

You could think of their show as another expression of symbolism for the return of Spirit as we all know and love it. The return to baby blue... the revival of the corps after it's downfall with it's former director and the loss of their bingo hall a few years back...

It's going to be a great year for them... GOTTA LOVE DEM CONTRAS! I also luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv the closer, just love it! I still wish I was able to change my mind that day a couple weeks ago... but I've still got a couple years... maybe Spirit 2003. B)

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Someone told me the Mello line changed mouthpieces since this post was made. It's unconfirmed, but they did sound pretty good at rehearsal today.

Wish I could have heard them from the front during the show, but we were waiting at the Gate when they were on.

Spirit looked good from our really bad perspective. :)

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Bobby, thank you for that great review!!!! Can't wait to see them!

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