Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Kurt Browning's Gotta Skate 2

Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, ON, Nov. 1, 2002

written by Hoo

As usual I was taking photographs so this is all from memory, no notes. Any mistakes in description or order of events are entirely by accident (in fact I know the run order this time is completely off but it was the best I could do). Others may feel free to post this review to other lists so long as my name and email remain with it and you just let me know where you sent it.

I have to say I went into this show wondering just how Kurt was going to top last year's show since it was I think one the best shows I've seen and I wasn't really sure with this year's lineup, but it ended up being fabulous! Totally different feel than last year's, but equally as great! I ended up with seats in the section right next to the stage and this is where several numbers got staged so it ended up being a perfect location! The only downside was the camera policy was posted everywhere "no telephoto" and I ended up with seats with several Disson folk just a few seats away, so I risked my camera only for the most important things - namely Brian, Steven and Kurt :)

Opening - "Let's Dance" by David Bowie
The show started with Kurt and Roz addressing the audience and explaining that since it was being taped for tv that there would be some odd pauses in the show for sets to change or intros to be read but he hoped we'd all bear with them. This ended up being rather funny during the show as Kurt would flub or get sidetracked in an intro and have to start all over. Lots of laughs. Kurt then hands off the mic and starts the opening with about 2 minutes of solo skating. Lots of footwork and edgework. Costume was black leather pants and a black t-shirt with purple/blue/green stripes on it. He then bring out the rest of the cast. Girls are in one piece black outfits with sheet material on top and purple/blue/green stripes, the men are in leather pants and baggy black sweaters with fuzzy purple/blue/green stripes. There was lots of edgework in the number and it was really good. Brian and Scott did unison backflips which is always impressive.

Lu Chen - "China Girl" by David Bowie
Kurt does the intro for Lulu and ends up going on about "she's wonder, she's got this beautiful graceful arms" and then is like "arms? wow that's a dumb thing to say, let's try that again." So he starts over and ends up with graceful hands and decided that was just as bad. Third time he managed to settle on just "graceful skating" which was good to go :) Lulu was actually better than I expected. She managed quite a nice 2axel and the whole reason it worked was because she actually took some speed into it. For the nice techo sort of sound she avoided some of the stupid dance moves she's had in the past and it was a nice enough number. Costume was black skirt and red lace sleeveless top - very pretty. Course it really helps that I love this David Bowie tune .

Steven Cousins - "??" (techno)
Steven's sixth new program of the season definitely was another winner. Dressed in leather pants, a tight long-sleeve t-shirt that was a mottled red/black/white pattern and black sunglasses with red lenses, this was a fun number! Steven sold it to the hilt (when doesn't he ever really?) and it had lots of techno dance type moves. Lots of high energy and the jumps were really on. Huge double axel and what I think was a tripe flip (might have been a toe though - it was the other end of the ice) This program really suits Steven and I just hope it makes the broadcast somewhere - definitely one I want on tape!

Anti-Gravity is the acrobatic group from the Olympics closing. For their first routine they were working off ropes hung from pulleys over the ice. All kinds of twists and flips and the like - think along the lines of the ring event for mens gymnastics. Not really ice-related but they were amazing. They close their number with one of them lifting Sonia in his arms and another with Kurt holding onto his lower legs. They went up about 15 feet off the ice I'd say. Sonia held this beautiful extended position and looked stunning. Kurt looked a bit more of clutching on for dear life, but was definitely hamming it up as he went up.

Brasseur & Eisler - "Radar Love"
He's in gray mottled pants and white t-shirt, she's in red hotpants, black shirt and red knocked scarf. This was pretty much your typical high energy B&E program. The lifts and headbanger standards plus a bunch of mugging. Good, but nothing we haven't seen before really.

Kurt, Sonia & Alex - "??"
This was probably one of the best numbers of the night and was a great vehicle for Kurt and Sonia to work together. It starts with Sonia & Alex on stage together and Kurt sitting in a chair on the ice in front of the stage. Sonia is in purple hotpants and a green sequined shirt (damn she's thin!). Kurt and Alex are dressed identically in black pants and the gray shirts from the SOI finale last year. The program is basically about Kurt and Sonia pining for each other but they can't get to connect. Several sections had Kurt and Alex doing the same movements and footwork/turns which was really interesting. Halfway through the number the dancers exit the stage and Kurt does some moves around the chair when suddenly from off-stage Sonia gets pushed out sitting on a similar chair. She and Kurt then perform some moves together and with the chair before Kurt finally picks her up and they embrace. Like Brian and Tommy Tunes number last year, it was fascinating to see a dancer on stage and a skater on ice doing the same footwork patterns.

Chouinard - "??"
Ok, I know Josee is doing her own costuming, so I have to wonder what on earth she was thinking with this. It was a plain dark gray tank dress with a pale lemony yellow kick pleat sort of insert in the front of the skirt. The two colors looked awful together and that shade of gray made Josee look almost sickly. The music was I think something acapella by Debra Cox (which made me wonder why Debra didn't sing it since she was there). Program itself was kind of nice though. In fact throughout the whole show Josee's jumps looked more solid then I've seen them in a while - - so much for retiring.

Orser - "Hallelujah" (from Shrek)
*wow* and *wow* again! I admit I'm biased, but this program was just breathtaking! The song is quiet but powerful and that's exactly how I'd describe Brian's skating so it was a perfect match! Costume was light blue shirt (actually it's Ilia's shirt from SOI a few years ago) and pinstripe pants with suspenders (from the "Tango" CSOI number last year - I'm beginning to wonder if Brian hasn't just been raiding the IMG warehouse for everything this year!). It was a great look for him. He opened the program with one of the biggest open axels I think I've ever seen him do, and it was right in front of me so it was just amazing to see. He popped the 3sal but redid it in retakes. In retakes he redid the whole first half of the program and he hopes they use that instead as he felt the passion was much better during the retake for that part. The program is just full of these long sweeping edges and curves - it really was just amazing!

Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze - "Elvis / Monroe Medley"
Ok, I admit that I really dislike Elvis so it was hard to really like this program, but I give Anton full credit - he was totally into the part. In fact the whole Elvis part of the number was very cute. The Monroe part was just dumb though - Elena didn't have anywhere near enough charisma to pull off Monroe. And inserting the Monroe voiceover to the Elvis tune was just weird. Make it just an Elvis number and it will be great. Some nice lifts plus a gigantic throw.

Ensemble - "I Want To Be A Rock Star"
The second half opened with Kurt coming out in jeans, tan shirt and jean jacket talking about how he'd always wanted to be a rock star and thanks to Edwin and the Pressure he was going to live out his dream that night. The band launches into a loud rocking tune and Kurt does some footwork and then from the rafters descends a wig with long ash blond hair that he then puts on to complete his rock-star transformation. He is then joined by Brian, Steven and Scotty all in jeans and long haired wigs (think 80s metal bands or the movie "Airheads" and you've got the look.) The most hysterical part though was that Brian's wig wasn't just long hair, but was long curly black hair and really could have been his back in the early 80s only longer. In fact at the numbers close Roz joked that it looked like Brian walked right off the 84 podium . The guys then head-bang and dance around at the front of the stage. Not a great lot of skating, but the number was very funny.

Chouinard - "??" (operatic in Italian)
Josee's second number was to some opera like piece that I believe was in Italian and was something about a necklace. She had on a really pretty dress that was red with black lace overlay. It was obviously a story program of some kind because she kept playing with the necklace, but it didn't really work that much since you couldn't understand the words. Program had some gorgeous spread eagles in it.

Brasseur & Eisler - "Never Tear Us Apart"
Not much to say about this program that I didn't say about CSOI last year. It's a really nice program from them and the back spirals in it are just really fantastic. Nice to see that traditional pair move from them.

Cousins - "Wicked Game"
Ever since a friend raved about this program at Mariposa I have been dying to see this number, and it definitely didn't disappoint. It's a great slow intense program and I only wish Sandra would let him do something like this on tour - he'd earn so many more fans if more people got to see the other side of his skating and how good it is. He popped the 3sal and had some troubles getting in in retakes but it didn't really detract from the program. Lots of long sweeping edges and slow turns. I think Steven must have been getting spin pointers from Todd at SOI rehearsals because his sit spin was definitely lower and faster than I've ever seen it (it was that retched Doug Leigh crouch spin before). Costume was black pants, white tank t-shirt and mottled purple/white/blue button down shirt worn open.

Chen - "??"
Lulu skated to live singing by Debra Cox off her new album, but for the life of me I am blanking on the details of the program.

Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze - "The Kid"
Been there, done that. Not my favorite exhibition from this pair and I've now seen it way too many times to want to see it again. It was however very well skated.

Antigravity - "??"
Their second number was done on those springy stilt like things they used at the Olympics. Lots of blackflips and tumbling that was really cool. These are definitely high energy performers and all of them are very charismatic and work hard to get the audience into the program.

Orser - "Beyond the Sea"
While this is the same song Brian skated to on the Skate the Nation tour, this is a all new version. He said he spend some time with Don Laws and Jackie Peters (? I think that's the name he said) and she rechoreographed the whole thing. Costume was the tan cargo pants from "Summer Wind" It's definitely got a very different feel than the previous one which was more on the humorous side. This version, while lite and fun, is a bit more traditional.

Sonia & Alex - "The White Swan"
This year I enjoyed their performance much more since I was close to the stage and got to really appreciate it close up. The one downside is we had some teenage girls behind us who kept giggling over Alex's tights and codpiece - very annoying. I'm not big on traditional ballet (I prefer jazz or modern dance really) but it was a beautiful number. Sonia is just amazingly flexible.

Scott Hamilton - "Don Quioxte"
I was definitely in the minority of the audience (they gave a standing ovation), but I *hate* this program and find it incredibly offensive and quite frankly embarrassing. The ballet parody would be fine if it stayed away from the gutter humor. The sequined codpiece and thrusting were just disgusting and I couldn't help but wonder what Alex must have thought of it. Parody is one thing, parody in bad taste is another. *blech*

Finale - "Alive"
The finale started with Kurt skating alone for about 2 minutes and is then joined by the rest of the cast. It was a nice closing number with everyone getting their highlight trick.

Couple of folks had some retakes and Kurt was mc'ing them and was having a lot of fun with the audience. He ended up getting everyone to wish his dad happy 80th birthday and then sing along. It's hard to believe his dad is 80 - he doesn't look a day over 60 and I don't think he's changed much in the past 15 years! When Brian came out for his and had done up his pants, he got some assistance from Roz with the zipper and Kurt fixed his hair to which Brian cracked "at least I've still got some" and Kurt took a playful swipe at him and then Brian remarked "looks like this is my last Kurt special" which got a big laugh. Kurt also took time to recognize LeaAnn Miller for all the choreography and Jeff Bilings for the costumes.

It's always fun when they cram lots of people into the tiniest of rooms and expect people to walk around. The news from Steven is that as of that morning he is confirmed for the Canadian Open but won't be at the Hallmark Championships because Scotty's wedding is the next day. I also got introduced to Steven's mom and it's very obvious where Steven gets his personality :) Brian is not yet confirmed for the Canadian Open and doesn't think he'll be at the Hallmark one either, but things are a bit up in the air. He says he's gearing up the clinics on the cruise to have some adult specific training bits and is really looking forward to it. He also says he's got several other projects in the fire but nothing announceable. Kurt said he was much more involved in this years show which is why he didn't have as many numbers as last year. No idea if he'll do a third one.