You can take your six straight Strathclyde Polis World’s.
You can have your Muirhead’s myth.
You can pretend that the 78th Frasers journeyed to the sky.
Yuze can be heppy with your 1998 Victoria Police.
But nothing, but no band, compares with the quality that Field Marshal Montgomery has produced this year. The closest band to this year’s FMM is last year’s FMM.
That’s not to say that the previous-mentioned bands were not each great in their own time and, depending on your personal measure of greatness, might be ranked ahead for other things. But for the pure depth of clarity of tone, tuning, unison and musical delivery, there has been none more consistently better than Field Marshal.
And the wonderful thing is, there will be a better band than the current FMM in the future – maybe the near future – and some will look back at the 2013 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, just as some look back wistfully at the 1980s Strathclyde Police, the 1960s Muirhead’s, the 1970s Edinburgh City Police, the 1980s 78th Frasers, and so on and so forth, and insist that the 2010s vintage Field Marshal was still the best in history. And they will be wrong.
It might well be that the next iteration of Field Marshal or one of the other bands currently nipping at the back of their ghillies will be even better, but, rest assured, some band in the future will be even better.
Every generation has difficulty imagining that things could possibly top the current best. The mind and memory play tricks and fool us into self-convincing ourselves that back in the day there was nothing like such-and-such. It’s a tradition as old as MacCrimmon (Donald ban, not Euan), and it too will continue.
But in 2013 those who were fortunate enough to hear Field Marshal Montgomery in-person can say, yes, they heard the very best that ever was.
At least for now.