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
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
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
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