This one goes in the "exquisite" category: both an epic brass line and colorguard. When some of my friends watched this on my surround sound system, I warned them that they'd have to hold their ears at 1:28. (I forgot to tell them to hold their ears for another event that I link below.)
Hopefully I'll come back and add some memories around this one. I was there at finals.
Off hand, I am 85% sure it's the uncut version. I do not want to discuss the cut. I'd still be angry after 12 years.
I discuss this a lot more below, as I talk about the score announcement.
I'm not sure this ranks with others on this list. I mainly include it to give context to the score annoucement. Then again, maybe it does. I discuss more below.
I saw Phantom practice and perform early in the season in Birmingham (Alabama, USA). I believe they were in 5th at that point, to which I said "What in the heck is beating THAT show?!" Later they went from 5th to 4th. I saw them go from 4th to 3rd at Murfreesboro, TN. Then I saw them go from 3rd to 2nd at quarterfinals. They were still in 2nd when they performed on finals night. So the whole thing comes down to this moment. I have never experienced the crowd going so wild before or since. (Then again, I haven't been to finals since 2009.)
I thought Phantom had almost zero chance right at the score annoucement. They were roughly 0.4 points behind, which is almost never overcome in one night. Phantom was great that night. Several of us in the crowd had some hope that Blue Devils would choke at the last minute, but they did not. Again, I had almost no hope of a Phantom victory.
The drama beings at 5:33. I told my friends to hold their ears for Crown (above), but I forgot to mention this. Given that the rear surround sound mikes capture the audience, I should have thought....
Receiving the silver medal tonight, with a score of ninety eight point one, nine eight point one. Blue Devils.
And then only at DCI finals would the crowd go so quiet at 6:45 to hear Phantom's exact margin of victory, which was 0.025. It was the thinnest possible margin at the last possible moment against the fiercest, most consistent possible opponent. It was Phantom's first outright victory after 39 years of DCI's history. Their previous victory was of course a tie with Blue Devils.
Also, that show was supposed to be inside Lucas Oil Stadium, a dome. Final were supposed to be the very first event at that new stadium. Several months before finals, the city decided that they weren't sure enough that they'd make the construction deadline, so DCI moved finals to the University of Indiana, Bloomington, which is outside. The drum corps angels looked out for us again.
That whole night is still my high water mark of DCI. Despite DCI's noises, Lucas Oil turned out to be as bad as any other dome. I stopped going to finals after trying it once. I'd been to finals in '98 and then '00 - '09, but that was it.
Above I questioned whether BD's show ranks with Crown and Phantom. I would have fairly happily accepted a BD victory, so, on one level, I suppose it does. I vaguely remember the (frequent / usual) greatness of the BD color guard, for one.
On the gripping hand, I think I enjoy Crown's '08 show better than either of the other two in my very small sample from the last few weeks.
This is from 2001. First they do F-Tuning, then they start to do their 2001 show, which I instantly remembered. I saw that show a number of times. There are likely better recordings for decades, up through 2019. Blue Devils have remained dominant over all these years.
BD's F-Tuning, live, outdoors, is one of the great drum corps experiences.
When BD did their mockery of an encore at M'boro in 2019, this is what I was hoping to hear, but no joy. They instead decided to be utterly pointlessly politically correct. As best I remember, I have not heard F-Tuning live and outdoors since 2008, maybe before that.
The hammer truly gets dropped from 2:09 to 2:26. Note that the 3 younger horn instructors finally give up and cover their ears. Matt Harloff is directing. I believe he is Crown's brass caption head.
Crown's brass line has been right up there with BD going back to 2007. Most recently, I heard them practice from 2017 - 2019. My issue with their show design in the last few years, though, is that the parts are greater than the sum. The brass line sounds incredible bit by bit, but the shows in their entirety lack cohesion, or something like that.
This suffices for me because I know what it sounds like in all its live glory. Unfortunately, Phantom has been somewhat in decline after 2008 and 2009. Better renditions with modern sound equipment are probably best from 2003 - 2008.
Phantom (PR) playing "Elsa's" is neck and neck with BD's F-Tuning. I don't want to pick; they are different. I think the best rendition I heard live was at Columbia (Irmo), SC in 2004. I can't remember now if PH or Star of Indiana won in B'Ham in 1989--my second drum corps show ever. Most likely, Phantom did. Whoever did the encore, the adults driving us decided to leave before the encore. That's part of what led to my obsession with planning dc trips.
Their rendition when they won it all in 2008 wasn't the best because they were too hyper. I last heard it in 2010 in Charleston, WV.
New World Symphony (Symphony #9), Dvorak. 2nd place.
This may be vying for my favorite show of all time. I *think* I saw it in B'Ham in 1989, but I wouldn't have appreciated it then.
For many years, Star of Indiana 1991 was my favorite all-time show, and maybe it still is. I was first re-introduced to PR '89 when DCI was doing "greatest hits" movie events around 2005. PR '89 was voted as one of the best.
The horn line is so magical that I'm not sure I've ever *watched* this thoroughly all the way through. The color guard on one hand is, well, old fashioned by modern drum corps standards, but they are excellent in any year.
I'm "sold" in the first 30 seconds.
Beware--the immediate first note is a doosey in terms of volume.
The SummerTrain Blues MIX This doesn't quite vie for all-time favorite, but it is in my top 5 or 10.
From 7:10 - 7:15, they show one of the most memorable color guard moments ever--the men toss the flag and the women catch it as they do a split. They did similar tricks in 2000 and 2003 and probably before and after, but I remember those 3.
The accelerando starting at 8:05 is another favorite moment. Listen to those bass drums from around 8:36 to the end of the accelerando!
As best I remember, I saw this a few times before finals and then saw it twice live at finals. From 2000 - 2009, I only missed that quarterfinals show due to a family emergency. It was the very first time DCI did quarterfinals in the theaters, so I went to the theater. I was convinced that BD would win the season, but I think they lost qf, semis, definitely *the* finals to Cavaliers.
After the movie, given that I missed my flight, I considered not going to semis and *the* finals. Seeing it in the theater just made it more tempting, though. I need to see it live, so I paid $300 one-way to go to Denver. I got home from the movie event at 12:30 or 1am. I bought the ticket around 3am and flew out at 10am or so.
Given that it's not an official DCI show but "studio" recording, BD owns rights, and this is on their channel. So this video should be much more stable than some in terms of potential copyright issues.
Live, they played this facing away from the main stands. I remember how this echoed at McEachern High School. I've seen and heard what are probably better recordings of this, but I like this one in part *due to* the wind noise. It's becoming harder as time goes on to hear drum corps outside, and I refused to go inside since 2010. That I means I stopped going to finals after '98 and then 2000 - 2009.
Another reason that there are likely better recordings is that this is dated June 23, 2017. That is the beginning of the season, and this may have been filmed earlier. The finals that year were August 12. These days horn lines seem pretty darn good at the beginning of the season, so perhaps the difference isn't so dramatic. The Cadets were famous in the 90s (and perhaps the 80s) for getting their show together just in time to win. In 1998, the difference between their Warner Robbins, GA show and Jacksonville, AL show was quite dramatic. That was probably a span of June 25 to July 25.
Color guards are an exception. They get much better week by week. In 2019 the difference between Boston Crusader's color guard from Columbia (Lexington) SC to Murfreesboro, TN was very dramatic. That would be easy to look up, but it was roughly July 5 to July 25. Boston's 2019 color guard was probably the best I've seen since Blue Devils '08.
In answer to a question from a drum corps trip in 2019 or 2018 or so, I finally wrote a binary search / filter from scratch. The "f10" (filter 10) function is a binary filter of web server access logs. It assumes that the logs are in ascending date order and does a binary search on the lines until it finds the first one for a given date. Then it filters out the earlier dates.