The Countdown

Yesterday Megan and I made the trip up to Danville, VA for the closest theater showing the DCI Countdown, during which fans selected six shows from the past six DCI seasons to show on the big screen at select theaters across the country. We were treated to shows from six different corps; some I had seen before, some I hadn't, but all were fantastic.

This was my first time seeing The Cavaliers' 2004 show, 007. I went to DCI Orlando that year which was a 2-day event, so I missed the Cavs on the one day I attended. The Cavaliers thrilled as always with a stellar production reminiscent of Bond, James Bond.

I had seen both Blue Devils' Godfather Part Blue and Bluecoats' Criminal in excerpts the two years that ESPN2 broadcast the DCI Finals. Even in parts, Devs' Godfather became one of my favorites, and this further solidified that. The Bluecoats put on a clever show with Criminal that I was glad to see in its entirety.

My friend and coworker Joseph, a former marching member of the Cavaliers and fellow corps fan asked if I had see Santa Clara Vanguard's Attraction: The Music of Scheherezade, and I completely forgot that I had. In fact, it was the first Vanguard show I had seen live, also at DCI Orlando in 2004, and it helped cement SCV as one of my favorites.

In a crowd favorite and my personal homer pick, Carolina Crown's Triple Crown was among the selections. As many have noted, it was surprising that such a crowd favorite only placed 6th that year, but that's only amazing in a vaccuum--2007 was full of strong shows and at the time, it was Crown's highest ever finals placement.

And finally, the 2008 champion, Phantom Regiment's Spartacus. I had the pleasure of seeing this show live four times in three nights at Finals this past year. To save you the redundancy, I gushed about that show ad nauseum here. I was pleased to see that they footage started with all of the pre-show activities (and there were plenty!) instead of when the first notes are played like many shows.

A conspicuous absence in the time frame available, much to my friend Patricia's disappointment, was The Cadets. While I'm not the most please with the current narration-heavy turn they've taken, it's difficult to deny their excellence. For that matter, 2005's The Zone, while certainly true to their current brand of--for lack of a better word--weirdness, was also a crowd favorite and a judge favorite as well, taking the gold that year. For that matter, 2007's This I Believe, among the most controversial in their use of narration, was still an amazing show, and took silver. Sadly, I think Cadets' current antics make folks reluctant to vote for them, even in shows that were great. We'll see if the Holy Name Cadets--giving a nod to the past in an anniversary year--can also return to fan favor. Then again, this is also the year electronics enter the fray. Who knows what direction they'll go?