DCI Tour Premiere Simulcast

For the last few years my best friend and I started up the tradition of going to Drum Corps International World Championship Finals every August. Since DCI started doing these simulcasts at the beginning of the season, that seemed like a perfect addition to our year too. In fact, we so decided on this that neither of bothered to look at the upcoming tour schedules and notice that DCI Louisville was to be only two days later.

Whatever, the simulcast was great. We’ll see it all in person at the biggest show of the year in three short months. Here’s my quick reactions to the shows:

Madison Scouts

I really liked all the sectional features in ‘Gotta Dance’ and the costuming for the Gene Kelly-inspired guard. In particular the Tuba feature a minute and a half in can be a really great moment once it gets clean. What’s the deal with those manikin guard equipment in the ballad? I don’t know, but points for originality.

Super props for that hourglass drill maneuver, and really all the drill in the closer. Not easy stuff in Madison’s visual program.

Blue Stars

There’s a few nice moments but really the show doesn’t do it for me. The high striker looked cheap and they had three stages and really only did a good job of displaying great moments on one. The juggler was a fun touch, but probably needs to work on making his routine a little more impactful. There’s two big tosses splitting the routine when I’d rather have one as a nice climax.

Carolina Crown

Good lord this brass book is amazing. I was transfixed by this show just as much as I was during ‘For the Common Good,’ ‘E=MC2‘ and ‘Out of This World.’ Just as important to this show is how prominently they feature their percussion. In their recent title-contention and championship year(s), percussion scores have been their weak spot. Rather than shy away from it, they keep attacking the problem head on with aggressive features. My kind of attitude. They’ll get that whole drapery snafu figured out eventually, I’m sure.

The Cavaliers

Enjoyable, but not so remarkable. I did not like the vocalist treatment to the ballad nor did I think the ‘Game On’ theme really presented itself well beyond the guard’s performance. Hopefully they have some additions planned to project that better.

The Cadets

Every few years The Cadets win me over again. After stinker shows like last year’s I want to forget that I’ve ever liked them, but this year I come back with open arms. ‘The Power of Ten’ has just enough nerdy nods to the theme to make me go “oo oo oo!” and just as many moments of outstanding marching and playing to show they know their stuff. In particular I enjoyed the ballad, which is performed in a space only ten yards wide. Definitely a title contender.

Photo: @TheCadets on Twitter
Photo: @TheCadets on Twitter

Bluecoats

Not as clean as The Cadets yet, but this show was mindblowing. This is the most interesting use of electronics I’ve ever heard in marching arts and it genuinely feels like a pivotal moment. Danny and I couldn’t help but gasp at each other for minutes after what we just experienced. As much as I loved Crown’s show, I cannot believe Crown as with tenths of Blooooo. Do not miss this show. I feel like this is bigger than Frameworks was in 2002, and probably what it felt like in Star ’93 — a whole new vision for what  show can be. The very last moment left me wanting more, but it seemed like there is more planned to come.

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