While the on-field intrigue is seemingly lacking for the Arizona Wildcats heading into their home opener against the Grambling St. Tigers, fans who do come to Arizona Stadium (and really, if they come to campus at all Friday or Saturday) will be treated to something not seen in these parts before.
The Grambling State University World Famed Tiger Marching Band will be making the trip from Louisiana to Tucson. They will arrive on Friday, be part of the Pride of Arizona’s rehearsals Friday afternoon and Saturday morning on campus, then will be featured at halftime during Saturday night’s game.
This won’t be the first time that the Arizona and Grambling bands have shared a football field. The two performed alongside each other in Super Bowl I (that story refers to U of A as ASU over and over), and formed the iconic USA map set that the Pride of Arizona still does today.
The plan is to have the two bands out on the field during pregame of Saturday’s game in this same set.
Let’s take a quick look at what Grambling has done recently though.
This was the show that the "Best Band In The Land" put on last week:
There is a Black Lives Matter moment in the beginning of this, and a nice long Prince tribute which is so awesome.
Just last year, another Pac-12 crowd got a taste of this as Grambling traveled to Berkeley to take on Cal.
I’m curious to see how they pay tribute to Arizona at some point during their show.
Grambling’s band is probably best known for being half of the annual Bayou Classic, where the halftime battle of the bands between them and Southern University’s Human Jukebox is always broadcast by NBC. It’s probably the only football game all year where more people are interested in the halftime show than the game.
Since I found out over the summer that Grambling’s band was actually coming out for this game and performing halftime, I’ve been super excited for this weekend, and I know a lot of people around the Athletics department and the music department have felt the same way.
About a month ago, former Arizona baseball head coach Jerry Kindall stopped me in front of McKale to ask when the Tiger Band would be arriving in Tucson and if the public would be able to watch them rehearse. This is the moment when I knew people around the university were pumped about this event, and it’s finally upon us.
So if you’re in Tucson, get tickets to the game. Or if you can’t do that, at least try to head out to campus Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to check out this unique and famous group of people.