June 20, 2019 – Detroit
Yesterday, I arrived at the Detroit airport (DTW) on a non-stop flight from Burlington, VT (BTV) to visit friends and see the premiere DCI event at Ford Field tonight. Each airport could not be more uniquely different. At Burlington International Airport the parking garage, check in counter, and gates are all within a few yards of each other. In Detroit, the walk from the jet way to the luggage pickup took fifteen minutes. I like the smaller scale better.
I also prefer the smaller scale outdoor stadiums for drum corps, so I am not sure how I will like the venue for tonight’s first competition of the season. This is the second year DCI has held the premiere event at Ford Field in a vast indoor stadium. Last year I watched it in the local theatre, which is not quite the same experience as being there live. However, it was fun to be in a room with fellow drum corps enthusiasts where we all had the fifty-yard line experience as well as the close up cams. Tonight, fans all over the country will watch on the big screen that which I will experience live and in person at the 50-yard line, 30 rows up with Ken, Kristie, Christopher and Alex, friends from the Detroit area. It will fun to see their reactions being their first DCI show.
I have researched on the web the carry in policy of Ford Field. They do not allow me to bring in food or beverage of any kind, or even an empty bottle to put water in. I am assuming at this point that there are public drinking fountains within the stadium. If not, then there is certainly going to be bottled water for sale at the concession stands and other food vendors. According to the web site, there appears to be several locations to purchase food and beverage. Reading the descriptions on the wide variety of food vendors is an encouraging sign of many healthy and sustainable food options. It appears that the bigger scale does provide for more choices. At least this is true for the football games. We will see which ones are available for the more sparsely attended events such as DCI.
Of course, I will be looking up my friends, and local corps, the Boston Crusaders. Coincidentally, the corps is staying for two days at a high school within a 30-minute drive of Grosse Pointe, where I am staying, so I plan to catch a rehearsal tomorrow morning. It is raining and there is no posted schedule on the BAC page, so a workout at the friend’s Detroit Athletic Club is on the schedule for today before the show. Also reviewing the line-up for the show tonight has set off those sparks at the back of my neck. I have not heard or seen any 2019 corps other than my few visits with BAC in Castleton and at their annual fundraiser and send off – Spring Fling – last week. Before I hear and see Goliath again, I will witness Joan by Phantom Regiment, Call of the Wild by Blue Stars, Behold by The Cadets, and then Beneath the Surface by Carolina Crown and Who Knows What by Bluecoats will follow.
June 21, 2019 – DCI Revs Up in the Motor City
Oh, how I loved to see and hear some drum corps again last night. As was predictable, the corps finished in reverse order of their performances. With the Bluecoats being the crowd favorite as well as the highest score – 71.150 out of a possible 100. This is early but you can tell that this show and the proficiency of this top tier corps will take this fun show close to 99 at finals. The sleeper for me last night was I am Joan by the Phantom Regiment. They came on first and pulled that vulnerable string between my ears, eyes and brain and the salty water flowed. I guess it was because after such a long off-season, it was the first full-on wave of drum corps energy that I felt in a while, though I really loved the tradition and transformation. My newcomer friends got the emotional burst from The Cadets. We had seen them in the lot prior to the show for their initial hint of an impressive horn line of more than seventy young musicians. We moved back a few feet after they got started. Of course, I was anticipating the crowds reaction to Goliath, the show that started my 2019 odyssey, having watched the show come alive during spring training in Vermont. BAC did not disappoint. This is also going to be a crowd favorite all season.
Drinking water was found to be plentiful and free at the several fountains in the mezzanine. However, the food choices were relegated to the standard stadium fare, lines too long for me to try. The several restaurants that I saw listed on the Ford Field website were not open. Alas. I am thinking that I should not expect any better at the several shows that I currently have tickets for. Food quality for drum corps fans to enjoy is a long way away from the localvore ethic and culinary arts of Vermont’s Mad River Valley. Given the chain restaurants and fast food culture that dominates the auto environment, I know that I will be consuming more calories than burning while on tour this year. I will compensate as best I can with some good runs. For now, I look forward to the first BAC home show in Lawrence then a long drought during July before I head to NightBEAT later in the month. I will touch base again with an update on my tour then.