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 Post subject: FINALLY!! The DCI 2002 Shows...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2002 11:01 pm 
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Poverty does many humbling things to a man, but none are as embarrassing as having to wait until December before ordering your yearly DCI shipment. But, the morning of December 26th, one of Santa's little helpers in a brown delivery truck appeared at my door with the 2002 DCI shows in a neat brown box.

Since I had to work BOTH days DCI was in my area, and since I have a crappy dial-up connection that makes downloading MP3s sheer torture, I had not seen nor heard ANY of the 2002 shows. I sat down and watched the Top 14 this morning, and didn't get to bed until 2pm (normal bedtime for me is 8-9 am). Only the play and the pause button were used. No show or section of show was rewound to be watched a second time. Just like a "live" performance. Or not.

Here are my impressions. Keep in mind, this is from the very first, completely unbiased (hopefully) viewing. I make no apologies for mistakes or errors, this is simply all I caught on the first run-through...

Madison Scouts - This show wasn't as bad as I had feared it would be. They have some nice visual ideas and some good sounds, Madison just didn't have consistent enough execution to make Finals. Parts of their show were Top 10 worthy, other parts were 20th place worthy.
Blue Knights - I liked the overall visual design (especially the "moving" pit) but the actual drill itself was quite weak, and I didn't think the music was very effectual. Fear and Trembling? Most of the show seemed calm, pensive, and peaceful to me. LOVE the guard uniforms. Seriously. The guard work itself was horrid, but at least they looked good.
Seattle Cascades - Heh. You've heard of cover bands? We've got a cover corps with this show. Music borrowed from Cadets of lore, drill borrowed from Vanguard (anyone else notice the percussion running around the horn circles, just like in SCV 99?). I must say the music didn't really grab me, but the guard was nice. ALWAYS nice to see a new face in Finals.
Spirit - This show did absolutely nothing for me. The were a few nice ideas here and there, but the overall package, musically and visually, didn't interest me. And I'm a Holsinger fan, to boot.
Magic - WOW! The first show to make me sit up and hoot at the TV. This show rocked!! Terrific closer, especially visually. Not only is it good to see Magic back again, I think this might be the best show they've ever done. Back and better than ever, baby! Man, if this show could only get 11th place, how good are the corps in front of them? :shock: Side note: what's with all the ugly freakin' flags these first five corps used?
Crossmen - Man. What a vault in the level of execution from Magic to Xmen. The Crossmen have always been hit and miss with me, but I liked this show from the very beginning: the show starts while the hornline is still in the "tunnels". Ack! More ugly flags! Nice version of Strawberry Soup. Not like Madison or BD in 1993, the Crossmen have now put their own unique stamp on the piece. Great finale. This might be the best 9th place corps I've ever seen.
Bluecoats - :o How did all of these corps get SO good?! Terrific brass line in this show. Absolutely gorgeous ballad, and wow! What a sop soloist in the finale!! Finally, some nice, solid tone flags. Works for me. :wink: It amazes me how DCI has progressed over the years. This Bluecoats show would've made the top 5 in any year from 1996 back to the mid-80s. I was very, very impressed.
Glassmen - Boring, people say. And I admit, I didn't really care for the GMen's 2000 or 2001 productions. However, I don't think they're boring, especially not visually. This is a terrifically visual corps. I do feel, however, that their music books are not written to be as musically effective as they could be. Their hornline plays well, but the arrangements seem to lack... well, bite. Musically not as good as Bluecoats (even with the GMen's terrific battery), but visually superior to the prior corps. Terrific guard, too.
Boston Crusaders - They were good musically... but not better than the Bluecoats. They were good visually... but not better than the Glassmen. The singing was neat in 1999, okay in 2000, and now it's just damn tired. Do something else, Boston! I'm sick of hearing you sing. I didn't have a problem with the picture posters in the ballad, but I could've done without the jingoistic banners, especially in the opener. Maybe jingoistic is too strong a term, but I can't think of a better one. The guard uniforms are hideous. While I'm not as overwhelmingly patriotic as some, I *did* like the flag they formed at the end. That was cool. Overall an enjoyable show, but scored WAY, WAY too high.
Phantom Regiment - What a travesty. No way Boston should've tied Phantom. What a terrific sound. Unfortunately, everything I've read by everyone else has been dead-on: their drill is simply far too easy for a Top 6 corps. Musically they blasted BAC and the GMen out of the water, but they weren't even close to the Glassmen's level of visual execution. This corps is simply one audacious drill away from breaking the top four strangehold. Everyone knows Phantom's brass is great, but I also thought this was Phantom's best drumline since 1996 or 1997. When I heard they would be doing Symphonies #7 and #10, I was hoping they would open with #7 and finish with #10. Alas, no, although I did catch a quick four bars of #10's fourth movement thrown into the finale. Symphony #10, Mvt. IV by Shostakovich is simply MADE to be a closer. It's wild and fiery and causes me to leap out of my seat every time. Symphony #7 just develops too slowly for DCI... it's a 70+ minute symphony, after all. Still, I thought Phantom did a great job.
Santa Clara Vanguard - Ah, the gap between the Top 4 and everyone else is still vast. The Big Four are just SO GOOD, how do you catch up to them? I like the new uniforms, they're more obviously green. Another beautiful, beautiful show from SCV. First goosebumps of the day came from their finale. Their brass did a wonderful job with balance and blend on all those nasty chords Copland wrote. I've been wanting to see Copland's Organ Symphony in DCI for years, and was certainly happy with how they presented it.
Cadets - Very interesting drill concepts in the opener, but the music was too fragmented and ineffectual. Reminded me of how people were always complaining about the choppiness of some of the Blue Devils' late 90s shows. Is it just me, or has the Cadets' snare line done the exact same thing three years in a row? The Pledge didn't work for me: too blatantly manipulative, too cloyingly patriotic. As unimpressed as I was overall with this show, if you don't like the Bugle Boy section, you simply don't like Drum Corps. That was outstanding, definitely the highlight of this show. Great guard, great snare line, but nothing noteworthy or memorable from the rest of the battery. Seemed to lose it a little at the end: I saw several drops, and was that an early horn attack I heard? As far as American themes go, I liked their 1995 show better. Heck, I liked their 1999 show better. 1995 worked because it was so sincere. This show didn't work as well because it was cloying and over-programmed.
Blue Devils - BD is another "hit-or-miss" corps with me, and this show hit. Very enjoyable, and it's nice to see them going back to "true" jazz (as opposed to the jazz/symphonic blending they've been doing since 1996 or so). The Blue Devils' guard is just ill. They're absurdly good. Another corps with the strongest drumline they've had in years (since 1997, I'd wager). LOVED the way they rotated in-and-out of each other towards the cymbal rack about five minutes in. Thought that section was even better than Bugle Boy for sheer entertainment value. Loved the way they used it at the end, too, although I thought their final drill could've been a bit better or more interesting. Terrific music, terrific show.
Cavaliers - Best show of 2002? Unquestionably. Best show ever? Please. This might be the best show ever from a visual design aspect, but that's about it. With that comment out of the way... wow! Lovely visual program, terrific brass sound, great drumline. Year in, year out, the Cavaliers have the best flags; whoever designs them is a genius. Saucedo's musical books just don't grab me, though. This will never be a musical favorite of mine. It's funny: so many High School bands try to copy DCI, but now so many DCI corps are borrowing from High School shows. Boston took a page from Tarpon Springs HS in Florida, and a lot of the ideas in the Cavaliers show were borrowed from Carmel HS's (Indiana) 2001 show. Executed better, of course. The ending could've been a little stronger, I thought. Didn't really lift me out of my seat. I still don't understand why some people were so irritated at their score. No, they weren't perfect, in ANY caption. Yes, they were overscored. I just don't see that as that big of a deal. Enough. No need to start this debate again.

What a great year, though, top to bottom.

Phantom Ranks 'em:
98.00 Cavaliers
97.50 Blue Devils
96.50 Santa Clara Vanguard
96.00 Cadets
92.50 Phantom Regiment
92.00 Glassmen
91.00 Bluecoats
90.00 Boston Crusaders
89.00 Crossmen
85.00 Magic of Orlando
80.50 Spirit of JSU
80.00 Seattle Cascades
78.00 Blue Knights
75.00 Madison Scouts

Phantoms' captions:
Visual Effect - Cavaliers
Musical Effect - Blue Devils
Overall G.E. - Cavaliers
Best Brass - Cavaliers
Best Percussion - Cavaliers
Best Guard - Blue Devils
Visual Performance - Cavaliers
Musical Performance - Cavaliers


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2002 11:48 am 
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Thanks Phantom for your input! It is kinda horrible how you have been deprived of hearing or seeing finals night up till now...but like you said, your opinions are completely unbiased. However, nothing beats seeing finals night live...who cares if I was on the second level, 10 yard line, side A..heck, it was free! :) How much did you pay for the vid? I still dont have guts to cough up all the money DCI.org wants... grr.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2002 7:26 pm 
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euphman wrote:
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I still dont have guts to cough up all the money DCI.org wants... grr.

$100 bucks for the DVD, and $60 for the video. And Phantom needs to go back to those all-black unis, I just don't dig their tan ones they have now.I think Bd should have gotten best brass, and musical performance.


1. I got the Videos and the CDs for $100 total.
2. Yes, I too miss Phantom's all black look.
3. No way. BD was great (it's quickly become my favorite show from 2002) but there were too many obvious fracks in the show. The Cavaliers' tone, balance, and intonation were simply spectacular.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2002 9:01 am 
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It's good to hear that you finally got yourself a vid of the shows. I agree with him, I thought the Cavs were rightfully so in earning the brass caption. The sound they produced was absolutely incredible. I only wish you were there live, it truly, truly was a wall of sound. Hearing that sound used during 'Harmony,' and when they slide their horns from side to side was goosebump city. It blew me away. But my personal faves are the the Blue Devils.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2002 12:04 pm 
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Just a few comments/opinions:

- Cascades have the same drill writer as SCV. Myron Rosander lives in the Northwest. I'm really anxious to see (and hear) their percussion section next year with the big cats they just signed on.

- Spirit - Pleeeeeeeze go back to your southern jazz roots.

(squeezing this one in) - Troopers - Pleeeeeeeeze COME back.

- MoO - Take a listen to 1998 Lassiter High School @ BOA Grand Nationals (as long as you mentioned TS and Carmel in your review of Cavies).

- Cavies/SCV - As we've heard Saucedo's work the past couple years, how will Key Poulan's work fare?

- Pacific Crest - May the Force be with you.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2002 7:51 pm 
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euphman wrote:
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3. No way. BD was great (it's quickly become my favorite show from 2002) but there were too many obvious fracks in the show. The Cavaliers' tone, balance, and intonation were simply spectacular.

Yeah, you're right. But you gotta love those solos by Jeff and Maynard.


Well, yeah, but I'm still blown away by the Blue Devils' drumline. The more I listen to it the more I think BD should've won High Percussion. Definitely the best drumline they've had in at least 5-6 years. I just keep listening to the last 35 seconds or so, with the snares and toms running around that cymbal rack, and that bass drum line playing those flawless 16th note runs. Amazing. That might be the best bass drum line I've ever heard.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 12:51 pm 
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Phantom Phan wrote:

Well, yeah, but I'm still blown away by the Blue Devils' drumline. The more I listen to it the more I think BD should've won High Percussion. Definitely the best drumline they've had in at least 5-6 years. I just keep listening to the last 35 seconds or so, with the snares and toms running around that cymbal rack, and that bass drum line playing those flawless 16th note runs. Amazing. That might be the best bass drum line I've ever heard.





Phantom, I have to disagree with you on this one. Personally I think BDs snare line had themselves this year.... did you ever see them in the lot? Yech. Bass and tenor line, yes Ill give you that...snares, absolutly not. I watched that drumline progress throughout the season, and honestly I think what they recieved is what they deserved.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2003 1:04 am 
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DrummerGrl wrote:
Phantom, I have to disagree with you on this one. Personally I think BDs snare line had themselves this year.... did you ever see them in the lot? Yech. Bass and tenor line, yes Ill give you that...snares, absolutly not. I watched that drumline progress throughout the season, and honestly I think what they recieved is what they deserved.


NO!! :evil: NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO DISAGREE WITH ME!!!

:shock: :roll: :wink:

Seriously, though, none of the top three drumlines were perfect. The Cavaliers battery was very clean, but they didn't seem to do too much, and some parts were very easy (or maybe they just made it LOOK easy). On the other hand, the Cavaliers had the sickest pit I can ever recall hearing. AWESOME sounds from their front ensemble. I can agree that BD's snareline was their weak link; ironically, it was also the Cadets' strongest link.

If we wanted to break it down, I would rate each individual section as follows:
Best Snares: Cadets
Best Tenors: Blue Devils/Cavaliers
Best Basses: Blue Devils
Best Pit: Cavaliers

And, as I say, OVERALL, I think the Blue Devils had the best drumline. But you're free to disagree. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 5:07 pm 
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hehe, well thank you Phantom :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 7:01 pm 
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I saw some comments on the Sound Machine Drum Corps forum on this very topic. A qualified percussionist (which I am not) thought that BD tried to play too many notes and was just too dirty (I'm assuming he meant the snares, because their bass line was crytalline), and that the Cadets show had a big weakness when the battery was whaling on 2 and 4 in the break in BWBB. Surprisingly, he didn't say anything (good or bad) about the Cavaliers.


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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2003 12:10 am 
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After months of listening to the CDs, I'd have to say the Bluecoats soloist(s) were even better than BD's. Awesome, awesome, AWESOME. Especially at the end.


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