I remember the first time I ever saw the band -- I believe it was 1990. Anyway, I'd taken my friends' 6-year-old to watch the parade and we were about 6-7 blocks up the street from one of the turns on the West side.
As sometimes happens at the latter half of the parade, there was a delay that was probably 5-10 minutes after viewing the last entry. There was some real anticipation building in the crowd, though I think the younger kids would have called it boredom -- they were out making more chalk drawings on the street!
We could hear a band a couple of blocks over heading our way, so we were all waiting.
Then at the far end of the street we could see the front flags and baton twirlers. Then came the dancers and finally the band rounded the corner and started to play "Louie Louie."
A sound reminiscent of 'the wave' that's done at ballparks around the country hit me as this roar came up the street preceding the band. But unlike 'the wave' the sound we heard never went away! And neither did the band. It was like the Energizer bunny, it kept going and going and going...
Now I'm a member of the band, and I still can't believe how big we are. Nor can I believe the effect the band has on crowds.