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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tour of Champions Re-Revisited

Back a few years ago, before the Tour of Champions got underway, did a slight rewrite of the touring schedule for the then-five show series, spreading the shows out geographically and making use of large metro areas and major stadiums.

Now, in its third season of existence, the Tour of Champions has morphed, though only slightly. Instead of picking up an eighth corps, the seven corps who crafted the manifesto that spawned the TOC decided to go it alone - never mind the fact that they weren't the seven top corps from 2012. They've also grown the tour from five shows to seven. To me, seven corps and seven shows seems like a great formula for everyone to get a home show, but since two pairs of corps share geographic proximity, the ability still exists to spread shows beyond just the corps' home regions.

I'll start where I started last time: The show in the Meadowlands (I realize a conflict moved it to Allentown this year) still makes perfect sense, and can serve as home for the New Jersey-born, Allentown-based Cadets while keeping a DCI presence in the New York metro area.

On to the shared shows. With the Cavaliers in Rosemont and Phantom Regiment in Rockford, Illinois makes sense, but again, with all due respect to DeKalb, which sits between the two, I'm moving this show to the bright lights of the big city. Now that we know that a football field fits within Wrigley, in this exercise I'll move this show to the Friendly Confines. Drum corps from the rooftops, anyone?

Out in the Bay, Santa Clara Vanguard and the Blue Devils get to share the other show. With Levi's Stadium, the new home of the 49ers, opening in Santa Clara, it becomes even more of a home show for SCV, but something tells me fans of the 15 time world champions would find their way there.

For the last two, Carolina Crown is a no-brainer, maintaining NightBEAT in Charlotte, while the Bluecoats could add a show in Northeast Ohio. While I'm tempted to move this to the home of the Browns up in Cleveland, putting this one in Fawcett Stadium, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, might be a night chance for the Bluecoats to show off their own hometown.

So now that everyone's got a home show, what of the last two? The shows listed above provide pretty decent geographic spread, especially when you add major events in Minnesota, Texas, and Georgia which will all feature these corps. In my previous post I let Murphreesboro keep the Masters of the Summer Music Games, so assuming all seven finish in the top eight, they'll see each other there as well.

The one time zone missing from the current set up is the Mountain, so I'm sending a show to its unofficial capital, Denver. Sports Authority Field is reportedly a great venue for everything from football to lacrosse to drum corps. I hate to step on Blue Knights toes like this, but it makes good sense. Maybe it can become a two night doubleheader?

Finally, I'm not sure anyone knows the true answer to the decline of major drum corps shows in Florida. I've heard rumors it's the evil Disney lobby, or a rule in place that makes overnight stay in high school gyms an impossibility. Perhaps it's just too damned inefficient to have to dip down into a peninsula and turn back around when on a national tour. Whatever the barrier, I'd put the remaining show down in Florida. Despite my allegiances to the Tampa Bay area, I think building upon the tradition of drum corps in Orlando makes the most sense.

There you have it. Seven corps, seven shows, all over the US. Sign me up!
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