Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Chrysler Stars on Ice Review - Kitchener, ON - April 23, 2000

written by Boni

It's really strange how the rink you're in can completely change how you experience the show. I was also at the Toronto show on Friday night. The Air Canada Centre is so HUGE and fancy, and for some reason or another, that atmosphere makes you feel more distanced from the skaters. Kitchener Memorial is much smaller, and it's just so homey. I think there must be only 20 rows in that arena; the skaters just don't feel so far away...of course they weren't that far away to begin with because Hazel and I were lucky enough to have first row (not on ice) seats. We were sitting in the corner, at the end where the skaters come onto the ice.

The first funny thing that happened didn't even involve a skater...there was a little black bird on the ice, sliding around pecking at the surface:) Some audience members joked that there was a new addition to the cast:) It eventually flew off and we didn't see it again.

It wasn't long before our beloved Raggy made his appearance at the opposite side of the arena and started clowning around. It was a bit hard to see everything he was doing because there were some people in front of him blocking my view. I'm pretty sure he came out and began taking away empty on ice seats!:) I don't know how many he took away before he finally started putting them back! Then he brought out two seats that were joined at the side. He put them on the ice facing the audience, grabbed some women, sat down with her, and proceeded to have a "conversation" with the lucky people across from them:) Someone must have been taking pics 'cause Kurt put his fingers up behind the woman's head.

Kurt gets up, walks along the rink, picks up someone's cooler, carries it off with him, and sits down in an empty on ice seat. I'll give you one guess as to what he did next:) Of course he opened it and began tossing out one thing after another. He found some tupperware, which he opened and immediately let out a "phhewwwwwww" how-long-has-that-been-in-here sound. I think he started distributing the food amongst the people in the on ice seats, but I can't be sure.

Then all of a sudden you hear a group of fans hollering from the opposite side of the arena. Raggy turns to look at them. Dilemma: how does Raggy get across. After some deliberation, he finally just slides across on his guards and practically falls on the lucky people on the other side! He took someone from her seat and they had a pic taken together. Then he took the camera and took a pic of himself and the woman (hmmm I wonder how well it'll turn out!)

So then these fans start hollering again and gesturing to the opposite corner of the rink. I'm sitting there thinking "are you crazy, why would you direct him to go away from you?!;)" I'm guessing the woman they were pointing at must have been their friend who had come in late and had yet to find her seat. So Kurt goes over, takes her by the arm, and disappears with her backstage. There's this huge pause as everybody tries to figure out what on earth he's up to. Moments later Kurt emerges wearing the women's glasses and coat, carrying her purse, walking/stumbling in a half lady-like half I-can't-a-thing-in-these-darned-glasses way along the side of the rink. I think he took them off after that, and when the lady finally reappeared he began applauding her:) I think this is when Kurt's bag appeared at centre ice, so he went and did his thing.

The latter half of Raggy's whole clown shtick happened right below where Hazel and I were sitting. I was literally hanging over the railing laughing my head off!:D

"Crash" was amazing of course! There were two little problems though. He stumbled a bit on one of his jumps and seemed to hit a rut in mid-spread eagle (he didn't fall though). It was unfortuante though 'cause it's such a gorgeous spread eagle (right Q.?:)) Like Tina said, the end of this program is sooooooooooooo effective as Kurt does successive side stops at three ends of the rink timed to the "crash" in the music. They're like waves crashing upon a shore, and the snow that flies off the ice is like sea spray:) Old Friends was wonderful and nostalgic as expected. The only scary moment was when Kurt briefly hit another rut. It was a good thing he didn't fall because they were all holding hands at the time, and there could have been a terrible "domino effect!"

So, I had cookies for Kurt. I was carrying them around with me everywhere, people would just look at them and smile at me. During intermission I decided to ask one of the security people below us how I might go about getting the gift to Kurt. All he said was that I could try hand it to him at the end of the show. Well, I knew that the liklihood of that working was next to nothing, especially since I wasn't at ice level. Hazel was kind enough to take me down to ice level, where we met a more helpful person. It turned out he was "a rink guy" not an "IMG guy" which might have explained why he was so nice:)

Hazel had noticed two on ice seats that were empty throughout the first half of the show. I think she asked the "IMG guy" if I could sit there, and he said that he wouldn't say anything if I did. So that was that, I watched the seats during intermission to make sure nobody was actually sitting there, and sat there for the second half of the show!

So, I was on ice about three seats away from where the skaters come out. I don't think I ever realized how much more time the skaters spend at that end of the rink, and how much closer they come to that end in comparison to the other. It was soooooo exciting. I got a "smiling-in-my-direction-but-probably-not-at-me" smile from Lu Chen and Kurt, and I got a real smile from Isabelle who happened to be standing right in front of me before her "Vengaboys" number. She also shook my hand after the show.

Lu Chen skated much better here than in Toronto, but Tara was really having an off night. Earlier in "Genie in a Bottle" she had popped one of her jumps (lutz/flip) and in "American Woman" she actually fell. Hazel thinks she might have even doubled her side-by-side with Kurt. Scott also kept doubling his jumps....but Kurt's gorgeous triple axel made up for everyone else's misfortune:) BANG - there it was - high, beautiful, and CLEAN!:) He was really happy with himself after that performance.

Kurt was great. Show was great. What I would love to see is a show where every number is equally memorable. Of course that's entirely subjective, but I found some of the programs to rather generic. But Raggy...too cute. Oh! I forgot. At one point Raggy comes along the side of the rink on his little scooter and smacks into the wall face first before disappearing backstage:)

So, I still had a tin full of cookies in my hand. Time for Operation Parking Lot of course! We saw a bus towering over a fence and figured that that would probably be the best place to wait. Apparently we weren't the only one's to figure this out! When Kurt finally came out (he was the first), there was a group (not huge) of eager fans gathered outside the door with pen and program in hand. I hung back; I didn't want to be in the crowd. I felt bad for him, because they weren't giving him any space. When he opened the door I think he was a little surprised and he said "you've got to be kidding..." It wasn't in a mean way at all, just in a "I'm really exhausted" kinda way. There was a girl there who wanted to have her pic taken, but when her mother pressed the button the flash didn't go off. She started getting anxious. They tried it a second time and it didn't work. She started taking a fit. Kurt kept trying to calm her down saying "relax, relax, it's okay, it [that is the flash] just has to recharge...don't worry, I'm not going anywhere." And he didn't; he signed autographs right up to his car door (it turned out he was going back to Toronto that night). When he had split off from the crowd a bit I decided that I had waited long enough and kinda tugged on his arm (which I always seem to end up doing). As soon as I had his attention I said "I don't need an autograph...I just want you to have this" as quickly as possible, showing him his name on the bag. Well, he happily hugged me...and I was just glad that I finally got my cookies to him:):)