The Chairman Dances
The Man in the Bath
The guard starts the show in business suits on side 2 of the field. I don’t know how these fit into the show theme yet. The horns and tenors are on side 1 in a block triangle formation, horns on the outside. The rest of the drum line is on the back sideline. The trumpets play on mutes to begin the show.The horns unwrap out of the triangle, circle around in three individual lines, then wrap back into the triangle. The opening drill, while fun to watch and full of Pete Weber goodness, is dirty, which is most apparent in straight line formations. The horns finish the Chairman Dances opening intro drill in a Star of David formation, which is essentially six small triangles, another reference to the show theme. The drill is very kaleidoscopic and is intricate while easy to follow. The guard has a lot of equipment work during the main section of the opener, Man in the Bath, which is always a plus, and they seem to achieve it will. I only say seem to as I am not a guard expert and have a hard time watching both the guard and the drill at the same time. Drill usually wins out since I know that better. The corps performs a version of their “T Push” move from the late 90’s/early 00’s for the final hit of the opener, then turn backfield and wrap back into a triangle, this time on side 2, as the pit plays the final notes of Chairman Dances.
The second piece, Eclipse, is a new piece for me, and makes me think of The Mummy with an Egyptian feel to the music. The drum break after the first hit of this piece seems to be shortened, which is too bad as I think the drum writing for SCV this year is the best it’s been since 2004. Man in the Bath is a very aggressive piece and one I find myself listening to repeatedly, especially when the corps goes into a jam session near the end. Once again, the horns finish the piece in a triangle formation.
To open Cloudburst, the horns turn backfield and move the triangle across the field, dissolving it as it moves. The closer has been the weakest section of the show this year for Vanguard, but they have been making changes throughout the season and it is starting to come together. There still isn’t much of an impact to the closer, however and, until the big finish, you’re pretty much left hanging. The big finish is big, however, and is led off with the Vanguard yell while ending with one final triangle formation as the cymbals perform the Viper in the middle of it.
The closer definitely holds Vanguard back. The first two-thirds of this show are some of the most exciting moments in drum corps this year, but you lose all of that once Cloudburst starts. I almost feel as if the design staff had a fourth piece in mind and hoped to use Cloudburst as a transition piece between the intensity of Man in the Bath and what would serve the corps as their closer. Instead, they’re trying to make Cloudburst do both and it just doesn’t quite work. Because of the closer alone, I don’t see SCV placing higher than 5th this year and wouldn’t be surprised if they finished 7th.