LIVE BLOG: Semi Finals Take Over Lucas Oil
12:30 p.m. -- Stadium gates open
1:50 p.m. -- Welcome and National Anthem
2:00 p.m. -- Spartans - Nashua, NH
Front ensemble really taking control at the front end of this show, really steering it in the right direction. Nice samples explaining how we're all connected. Easy to understand, and triggered in all the right places. Those green flags stand out SO much. No hiding, but no one needs to! Colorguard serving some straight up flag skills to us. The globe props are a different guard flavor than the ones that we're used to seeing all day. We have flags, rifles, sabres... Sometimes combinations of the two. These members literally get to have the world in the palm of their hand. Some really cool exchanges in the colorguard, passing that rope and sabres back and forth. Lots of coordination there! This ballad is even more beautiful when you learn that this song has a special connection to this song, a tradition that's been going on for a few years now. I'm sure the members are feeling extra connected to this, their last time playing it. Nice dubstep bit. They're difficult to do well and the corps executed it to a T. And a nice closing bringing the corps together, again back where they started. Thank you, Spartans and congratulations on an excellent season!
2:17 p.m. -- Music City - Nashville, TN
Music City has been having an incredible year, with this being their highest placement in corps history so far. Deservedly so, this show takes off so well across the board and is instantly strong. It's bold and isn't afraid to be dark. That flag work on the ground, nice job colorguard! The last set with the colorguard running through the hornline looked so cool from above. The pink really stuck out from the black uniforms of the hornline. The hornline choreography leading into this ballad here, such a simple body movement but the timing was so well executed. The corps is HAULING to get into that set around the "fire" created by the colorguard. Another stellar ripple with the colorguard flags! The sabre work up front really complements this aggressive drum feature front and center. Who doesn't love a good company front, in general, but that moment with the fire flags completely stuck out. In terms of performance, Music City isn't really going with the Tribe, but they're standing out! Keep up the good work guys, and even still, you'll go far. Congratulations on a great season.
2:34 p.m. -- Genesis - Austin, TX
Very nice start from the girl in the yellow dress! Check out that outward spiral drill from the center! Nice use of the castanets up front for that tango section. Not an easy instrument to play. You have to be very exact and it was executed at such a high level. Loving the use of paintbrushes as a spun colorguard prop. A nice twist on what is commonly spun, too! This ballad is so soft and has just the right dynamic elements. Notice how the colorguard has ditched their grey bottoms at this point, too! Even the drums are taking part in the ballad, and tastefully so. Now the colorguard has completely switched into completely new uniforms. The three primary colors are represented all across the field. And you can see even the corps proper has their plumes changed with additional colors too! And the imaginative child is back! Leading herself through the corps and across the field while everything explodes into way more than just three colors! Over everything else I can hear the glockenspiel hitting every single note in the top register! Well done, Genesis and congratulations on an excellent season.
2:51 p.m. -- Legends - Kalamazoo, MI
A small, but nice touch, is the drum major podium with the corps logo, a compass, on it. You can see the whole front ensemble moving and performing together right from the beginning. The dissonance in the hornline always keeps you on edge, no matter what the piece is. That scatter set was SO cool visually from the top. The corps is moving so well across the field in these sets. And nice job on that direction change! Another interesting note is that the Legends are only featuring one prop today, although it is a big center point to their drill and the show in general. Check out that quick jazz run to the front! That low brass just blended straight in to the soloists sound! Beautiful. Nice rotating drill around the tower. And they start circling around the tower again, and it lights up! Triumphantly, the corps comes to live again. We have the signal! It's the signal for the pit to absolutely take off on some insane runs apparently! Wow, some incredible stuff in those last few seconds! What a show, Legends!
3:08 p.m. -- Pacific Crest - Diamond Bar, CA
This opening set allowing them to move across the field in such a ripple effect really is fun to watch. That circle around the stage compass! Impressive, especially as they continue to move towards it wit the choreography and then they run back away and into more formal drill. Intense full corps moment here with the big hits, movement and drums. What isn't to love? This swirling set is so fluid moving across the field. This musical bit has such a fun and upbeat vibe to it! Are you finding yourself bobbing along, too! The small pods across the field are a cool look, too. Some nice additions of ripple rolls from the front ensemble to the trumpet solo. The gold fabric, matched up with the flags is such a great contrast piece across the field. Are you hearing that xylophone in the background? Absolutely incredible rip there at the end. Thank you for teaching us what it means to stay in the Golden State of Mind, Pacific Crest! Congratulations.
3:25 p.m. -- Oregon Crusaders - Portland, OR
Interesting how the drumline takes the field straight up the 50 like that. This soundscape really helps to bring the mood down to match the black uniforms. And then we start in with the front ensemble, beginning with the glockenspiel and trickling outwards to eventually bring in the drumline. Nice diamond set in the middle of the field. Here we go, drum feature while the hornline moves around some props and we come out of it a bit more on the upbeat side. The pink flags definitely help to keep things on the brighter side of things. And that ripple knee to the middle from the hornline! Another use of fabric as a barrier, but this time it is a neon yellow/green. And now the corps is in the middle of it's own compass! Very nice flag reveal from the colorguard! Eventually pushing it all together to create the full compass rose. Congratulations on a wonderful season OC!
3:42 p.m. -- Spirit of Atlanta - Atlanta, GA
Check out how spread out they are across the field! They're already meeting at a crossroads in the middle of the field. Nice circle drill in the middle here. Any hornline member can tell you horror stories about learning that kind of stuff, but this is well done. Spirit definitely took a big risk with their uniforms this year, being a huge departure. However, they look like the corps moves well in them and they're still iconic. The colorguard is starting to get rid of the purple skirts! Now we're on to orange! Time again for the ballad an another transition, over the blue this time. This set is so spread out. Timing, on the ends especially, must take so much work! Still waiting on that resolution from that big dissonant chord! They left us hanging. So much to watch for in this movement, there's always something new going on. New sounds in the front ensemble, to choreography, to colorguard work, it's so much to enjoy! And here we go with a fun closer, a familiar Snarky Puppy favorite. They're really bringing the funk here, and do straight up until the end. Look at them let loose to sing! The entire front ensemble was just using crash cymbals! What an impact! Congratulations on an incredible season, Spirit!
3:59 p.m. -- Intermission (30 Min.)
4:29 p.m. -- Blue Devils B - Concord, CA
Opening up after the break with a driving ride cymbal and the kalimba in the front ensemble. Don't let the kalimba and the soft dynamics fool you, that drumset player is getting the corps ready to MOVE. And that opener gets you every time. Especially that last big corps. There's just something about children's laughter, especially with just a little editing, can be so eerie. These samples are no different. So many colors popping off of the field from every direction. The colorguard, props, flags, everything. Loving this set here, all stretched out across the field. Listen to that front ensemble go! They're spot on and nailing so many runs it's incredible. Another electronic dance interlude with the drumline picking up on the back end of it, and bringing in the colorguard's incredible feature. What a spectacular ballad, with a few licks calling back to the opener too. Did you catch them? No matter how far away the colorguard gets, they still nail every feature. What a powerful ending. Thank you, BDB, and congrats on an incredible season.
4:46 p.m. -- Troopers - Casper, WY
The Troopers drum major is a drum corps staple. A classic uniform and always classy, too. Again starting the show with the swordfight and the trumpet screamer in the back. But here comes the rest of the corps. While different than traditional colorguard work, this sword fighting is just as difficult. The swords are very thin and difficult to move exactly in the right way. They also require a different type of movement than other colorguard work. You can immediately feel the change into this second movement to a much more playful one. Fitting for a movement meant to be more of the duels and duets between two friends. Catch the drill across the field as they move into the Black Heart Tango. The flags even feature black hearts! And here we're stretching almost completely across the field. What a long chord to hold at the end of that ballad! Now THAT'S control. The front ensemble here is really driving the bus here, pushing the tempo forward, or at least trying to stay on the front of it. And the end proves that we can all come together in the end. Thank you Troopers!
5:03 p.m. -- Vanguard Cadets - Santa Clara, CA
Some hand drumming up front to complement the vocalists to start the show. It sets a unique beat to start the show other than a simple meter or feel. The pink in the colorguard really stands out well against the grass, the props and the corps proper without being overbearing. They're technically all wearing the same thing just with different colors. The flag is just so intense especially from the performers up front. There are so many unique synth patches in this show, how keep listening to find each one. The corps is playing backfield from behind the props! The props are so small it's startling when they run out from behind. How could everyone possibly hide behind it! Some beautiful music coming out of the front ensemble. It's not the focus, but it's difficult to not listen to because it's so tastefully done. Did you catch the 'Vanguard" yell? Loving the flag work all over these props! Incredible job, again, SCVC.
5:20 p.m. -- The Academy - Tempe, AZ
As you can tell from the sign up, it is clearly "Duck Season" as The Academy get ready to take the field. Did you see the front ensemble! They started with three people on one marimba to begin this movement! The rabbits jumping down into the rabbit holes every single time! Sweet snare lick as they move forward down the 50. What a prank, a throwback to Bugs cartoons too! Throwing a fake chicken onto the field. Watch the corps absolutely moving across the field! It's amazing how many methods the hunters are willing to go through in order to get the rabbits, including ropes, where we find them taken out in this movement. Special shout out to the front ensemble member playing castanets. Incredibly difficult to play in time and roll well, and it was completely nailed! Could this be a love story now? Of course not! What a twist at the end! Loving the slow high leg movements across the field. It makes everything so dramatic! This drill at the end is really focusing well on the center of the field. And how clever with the ending flags! Well... That's all folks! What an entertaining show! Thank you, Academy!
5:37 p.m. -- Colts - Dubuque, IA
Some beautiful rolls in the front ensemble opening this show. You can see the two halves, both on the dome and on the sideline props as well. They're a left and right brain. Nice job colorguard, side one! Great work! Loving how the drill leads the right brain away towards the front of side two. The arms out truly makes the corps look larger and take up more space. Now that we're on the opposite side of the field, we're seeing more straight lines and actions. They end pushing towards the right brain. Beautiful trombone solo from the right brain. The front ensemble follows with their own flourishes and color. Now we're seeing more colors! It's starting to edge out the black, white, and grey color scheme we were working with previously. This movement is much more aggressive and intense than the others. It could just be the percussion feature, but it seems like a battle, too. That ripple outwards looks so incredible from above. And the bass drums bump off the tempo and we're off. And the drill and the corps comes together just as the brain has. That drumline just put everything they had into that last bit! WOW! Incredible run, Colts!
5:54 p.m. -- Mandarins - Sacramento, CA
This beginning choreography is so incredible. Some of that beginning sound work is very reminiscent of Hans Zimmer, too. So incredibly dark sounding. The ink blots and fountain pens are incredibly unique ways of getting the point across that the show is about ink. The colorguard red and black spandex rectangles are so interesting to watch move. You never know which way they're going to move or how they're going to act next. There's a certain amount of unpredictability to it that's appealing. What did you see in that drill set? Incredible how many members you can hide behind these fountain pens. The struggles of the performers in the black fabric... They are such incredible performers. Some tasteful beats from the drumline across the back, here. The waving of the corps members is so fluid. Just like, well, ink. We're bringing up the energy in this closer here. And out comes the ink blot, or Rorschach test. What do you see this time? All of a sudden, we get some color on the field courtesy of the colorguard. We have orange flags, rifles, and it's a huge contrast from the rest of the show. Hear that front ensemble drive to the end! CRAZY. What an incredible show, thank you, Mandarins.
6:11 p.m. -- Madison Scouts - Madison, WI
So incredibly insane that all of the Madison Scouts members shaved their heads for this show. Such dedication. Intense drumming from that bass drummer in the front ensemble. What a performer. That trombone sound they're using right now is truly unlike any sound any other instrument currently on the field can make. SO incredibly unique. SO much dissonant brass in this show. It really reflects the struggle of the story in this show. What an eerie sight and sound, the heavy breathing and the oxygen mask. More are coming out from the side one props. A interesting and different prop, for sure. What an intense horn moment. Incredible rifle toss up front, colorguard. More heavy breathing. Did you catch the fleur-de-lis set? A classic from the men of Madison. Some more insane drill up front here too. And some color from the front ensemble. And soon, a new king is crowned once everyone removes their headdresses. What a great performance from Madison! Thank you!
6:28 p.m. -- Crossmen - San Antonio, TX
Did you notice that this first set is a question mark? The props with the colorguard members are still SO INCREDIBLY STILL.
Check out Bones in the back right, too! The official Crossmen on field hype. The front ensemble is making some moves up front there. So many notes being played! Killer bass break! Nice job, bassline. The way the props are laid out on the field makes for some interesting drill moments, including the one we're in right now. The ENTIRE corps between two yard lines! Nice scatter set there! Fun streamer use by the colorguard. They're not used a whole lot in drum corps any longer, but are so fun when they do show up. And we corral the corps into that front left corner as the colorguard crawls away. They slowly trickle out of their cage in the front right and the drum set brings us back up to tempo and ushers in a horn soloist. And we're now in the final push with everyone up front. Thanks, Crossmen!
6:45 p.m. -- Blue Stars - La Crosse, WI
What a beautiful first set here in the middle of the field. This corps sure is moving across the field. The story of Romeo and Juliet is so well known that this show can truly focus instead on the movement and drill than of retelling the story. Are your HEARING this front ensemble? They're playing some incredibly difficult stuff up front. And no for a little change, a little more bouncy and a fun tune. Nice horn moment here in the front! Again, in the front ensemble! The demand is insane. Check out this drill, the corps is moving, pushing Romeo out of the form a bit and onto the other side of the stage. And out comes Daisy... Can you tell that the horns are playing down on the field? From some of those odd and seated positions too! Love how they changed the choreography to reflect the era better. Tasteful solo from the flugelhorn soloist! This movement is so fun! Another familiar song, with an up tempo. Better keep an eye on the corps though, they're moving so fast you might miss them at points. Beautiful flag feature on side two from the colorguard. And there's the star set to end them al! Brilliant show, Blue Stars! Thank you.
7:02 PM -- Intermission (40 Min.)
7:42 p.m. -- Phantom Regiment - Rockford, IL
Alright, here we go Phantom! Hear that chain sound? It's coming from a marching machine, but made of chains! How cool! And here we go with the firs big brass hit! Sweet tuba feature with the colorguard surrounding them. This colorguard is HAULING. And we split off into pods while the front ensemble plays a nice transition bit full of runs. As usual, the horns come in nice and low and crescendo into some bigger hits while the colorguard does a crazy feature on side one transitioning to the whole field. Catch them running across the field. Catch that drumline too. The whole front using crash cymbals through this ballad hit adding to these crazy impact moments. And a big beautiful triumphant moment from the full corps and the colorguard. So much energy pushing forward from the drums to the horns to the front ensemble. What an incredible show. Thank you, Phantom!
7:59 p.m. -- Blue Knights - Denver, CO
And we're starting with a baritone solo low and slow while the corps does some winding visuals around the field. Throw in a few tasty licks from the front ensemble for good measure and color. And we're picking up the pace right in time for the corps to turn around for the first big hit. I hear you, timpani! Some more dissonant chords from the horns and an amazing brass feature to help us pick the pace back up again! The drumline crossing back up front again to take us back up to speed. Check out these flags! Beautiful! Nice fade-out, front ensemble. One of the most unique bits in DCI right now is this solo snare bit that's mixed live into a synth sound. Crazy! These mirrored circle/eye props are super interesting. The mirror gives a cool effect but the eye makes sense along with all of the other visual elements on the field. Now they're making eyes with the pink poles and the eye rounds. The Blue Knights use of every color of the rainbow never fails every year. They're always the ones using the most colors, especially in flag choice. That corps is MOVING these last few sets! Oh man! Thank you, Blue Knights!
8:16 p.m. -- The Cadets - Allentown, PA
As the Cadets are taking the field, look at the stained glass. Notice anything in the pattern? Chevrons maybe? Just noticing for the first time how off-set the front ensemble is. From one 45 to 35. I imagine it makes listening difficult for that end member. Adding to listening responsibilities. Opening set is a cross, no denying this show is about a mass. Beautiful additions from the vocal ensemble in that set, the Ichthys. You might know it as the "Christian Fish." Boy are they moving that hornline right now. The robes look so cool as the gold shoes pop out of the bottoms. You know who else is doing a lot of moving? The front ensemble. Moving from board to board! Check out the trombones coming out from the pews on side one. The corps is finally down to a traditional maroon and gold. Nice job, drumline completely throwing down in front of this big horn moment! WOW! Some beautiful visual moments going on in the front right now. Are we about to get a company front! Ah almost. But we have some crosses. AND THERE IT IS! And the colorguard absolutely killing it in the last few minutes. WOW! Incredible.
8:33 p.m. -- Boston Crusaders - Boston, MA
We're starting with a star in the middle of the field of rifles. Could it be a reminiscent of a pentagram, perhaps? Always love the glockenspiel at the beginning of this show and the front ensemble notes. Did you see the pentagram on the field too? Some amazing horn moments here. Watch this line! Winding around the field like crazy! And here comes the fire! What the moment from the drumline too. They keep pointing at each other, blaming a new person. Always trying to make it anyone but them. Did you see her actually manipulate that girl on the field?! She must be a WITCH. Some beautiful moments from the colorguard here. Check out the dance duet by the drumline. They just hung a WITCH! And they're hanging another one. And here comes side one. What an ending. There's so much to watch. What an incredible performance.
8:50 p.m. -- The Cavaliers - Rosemont, IL
That Cavaliers salute! So classic and so much class every time. It never gets old. The drums are coming front and center, splitting within the snares. Nice job. Low brass feature on the side two stage. Nice guys laying it down. Very cool drill moment when they broke apart from the form for that rhythmic run. It wasn't quite a full run but not a jazz run either. Interesting set up around the stage for the "and then man spoke." A tongue in cheek moment that anyone can appreciate. Removing the covers on the props to reveal the jungle gyms beneath them. "Man will make your head spin" I see what you did there! And another tongue in cheek moment. Actually a lot of those in this closer. Can you hear that front ensemble?! WOW. They're hardly stopping. Stopping for a slower moment, with that lighter flag color and timbre. The corps is hauling around on side two right now, gearing up to close this thing out. And the Cavaliers sure are doing it their way! SO many cool effects coming from the trombones. Thank you, Cavaliers!
9:07 p.m. -- Bluecoats - Canton, OH
And we've set the stage up for Jagged Line! There's already so much going on and we haven't even started. The colorguard is posing, and the front ensemble is split up all across the front yard lines. Already starting again with a trumpet solo on the front steps of the show. And so much choreography going on side one. Drumline's ready to throw down on side two. Nearly the entire corps stands on the jagged line The white creates so many illusions. It makes it appear like there is so much going on. There're working hard on side one. It's amazing how so many people can fit into such a small space. Another instance in which the colorguard flags, in this case pink, are such an additional visual element. Again more running straight up through the middle of the front ensemble and pushing back to start the ballad. A beautiful moment as the corps turns around to end the ballad. And here we go drumline! Dance lines on the right hand side. A cool visual moment as everyone lays down. Sweet trumpet feature! And an up front ending playing straight to the audience as far front as you possibly can! Thank you again, Bluecoats!
9:24 p.m. -- Carolina Crown - Ft. Mill, SC
Here's the first Crown set of the night! A big corps moment so it's hard to miss the iconic set. Did you hear the xylophone in that opener?! Killer. And a scatter set to throw you off. Lining up on yardlines and rippling visuals. And another ripple to horns up! A bass sample adds to the impact without needing any other outside help. We're tipping off into the ballad, and the vocalist seemingly comes out of nowhere. She was almost within the corps. What a beautiful soloist and a beautiful piece. And up she goes! Just another dimension on this field. You never know where anything is going. Her voice is really used as an additional instrument. Now we're into this piece originally made for percussion ensemble. Can you hear the steel pan in the front ensemble? Not an easy thing to play, especially so fast! This hornline is absolutely insane. Can you see what direction they're moving? We have yardlines moving, crooked props, it's so visually exciting. The colorguard work is crazy here too! There's your second crown set! And more messing with the field and the front ensemble and drumline making this impact happen. Absolutely MADE the ending. BRAVO CROWN!
9:41 p.m. -- Santa Clara Vanguard - Santa Clara, CA
And here comes Santa Clara! Notice how the front ensemble is still warming up on the field? That's just how they work. They're play through stuff until the last possible second, working things out. The horns too! The front ensemble immediately takes off at the beginning of this show, leading up to that first brass moment. This colorguard is crazy good. Did you see that unison rifle toss! Very old school Santa Clara, marching from the left across like you're on the starting line. It's interesting how the horn members dedicated to each prop wear a different color top. Look how the hornline snakes right through those props! Now the colorguard snakes across the field. Check out that member INSIDE the prop! How does he not get dizzy?! He comes right out of the prop and is ready to go. So much energy from the drums in that last bit. Amazing. A nice visual element from the horn drill as they split up at the top and fanned out. The front ensemble is responsible for musicality here and they do it well, as usual. Two soloist across the field from one another. Looks easy, but timing isn't easy from that sort of distance. Quad feature! That flag feature was incredible colorguard! And here we go, rolling across the field. HOW DID THEY DO THAT QUICK CHANGE! What a surprise. Incredible, Santa Clara!
9:58 p.m. -- Blue Devils - Concord, CA
ON THE STARTING LINE. So old school. And the samples are reminders of the past and history. This is BD's 60th year as a drum corps so there are a lot of throwbacks in here. Can you spot them all. Flight of the Bumblebee is always fun and impressive to play, no matter who plays it. But BD is simply bringing it up to a whole new level. The colorguard around the mirrored stairs. The stairs have wheels and being able to move them, they're able to create new staging over the course of the whole show. They can be feature spaces for soloists or sections, or even just a visual element. Check out this colorguard! Straight up good flag work here. Nice snare feature. So many trumpets on the field right now! The stairs are a great way to stage them, too! And now, lots of trombones! Right into some old fashioned Blue Devils jazz, right in your face! Straight through to the ending with jazz! The soloists completely killing it up top. Amazing straight to the end. Great job Blue Devils!
We're heading into the end of the night with some scholarship awards, the SCV alumni corps, and the age-out ceremony. Join us starting at 4:45 p.m. EST tomorrow for DCI World Championship Finals. We'll be liveblogging all night, all the way to the end.