Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Chrysler Stars On Ice Review - Toronto, ON - April 21, 2000

written by Tina

This review is going to be shorter than they normally are for me, since I've already written a review of this same show last week and one of the US one... I'll just note differences, etc.

When we first got to the arena, we were thinking of going to the Sports Centre store there when I suddenly noticed that Paul Martini was standing by the entrance to the store. He was talking to this one woman about a web page and signing autographs as people walked up. We gathered around, trying to pull our programs out of our bag... he had stopped signing stuff at that point and was just talking to the woman - we looked at him kind of hopefully and he just kind of went, yeah... and beckoned us over like, sure I'll sign that. He signed Wendy and mine's on the first page - a Chrysler ad - and signed Kat's ticket. Inside the arena, I looked around and noticed that Sandra Bezic was there with her son Dean (very cute kid!) who wanted to come up into the stands to talk to some little girl or boy, but she called him back... We then raced for the stairs to get to our seats (2nd tier center ice first row) before the show started.

The seats weren't so bad - great overall view and no one in front of us. I played around with my camera to try to figure out how to use digital zoom to get a closer image. I then discovered that the railing was great for steadying my hand =). I kept scanning the arena to figure out where Kurt would come out, since the setup was different than Halifax. Finally Wendy noticed Kurt walking by the break in the curtains at the corner of the arena opposite corner of the tunnel. We focused our attention there, and sure enough, Kurt comes wandering out there, then climbs up on the boards between the on-ice seats and everything else. He balance-beams his way around it and then stops and holds out his hand to a woman standing below.. she reaches up for him, he starts leaning over, acts like he loses his balance with arms windmilling, etc..straightens up..then bends down again, and suddenly falls off the boards practically into her arms. He then grabs her and walks her down the ice to another seat, pulls this girl out of that seat and deposits the woman into it.. hurries the girl down the ice to an empty on-ice, sits her down...and a second later pulls her up, brings her back down and sits her on somebody's lap. he then goofs around, climbing on the boards again and gibbering in clown-ese ... he then proceeds down the boards and reaches over the side and grabs a little girl, throws her over his shoulder and just takes off with him, down the ice, up the stairs, and out of the arena as everyone bursts into laughter. a few moments later, they both reappear with a drink in hand... he walks her back to her seat, lifts her over the side and takes both drinks with him and puts them down elsewhere. he then goes and swipes someone's popcorn (as in Halifax), and she chases him out of the rink... and then they return with her holding her popcorn and kurt in pursuit. This other little girl came out while they were running out, and when Kurt came back she got his attention some way or the other... Kurt picked up the popcorn again, and started feeding the little girl, only it quickly progressed to him tossing the popcorn into her mouth and then pelting her rapidly with popcorn when she started this no more hand waving since she couldn't take that much popcorn at once. And then he looked down and threw up his arms in horror and quickly bent down and started scooping up the popcorn he had dropped. He looked around, and then shoved it in her pocket and stepped out on the ice. During this, Kurt's satchel is pushed out on the ice and when Kurt steps onto the ice after it, he seemingly forgetting he's wearing his guards - he struggles for a while before he starts making his way around it, and then crawls towards it after doing one of his that's entertainment/raggy falls.. he picks it up, the music starts, and then the lights go down - we saw him quickly take his guards off and skate off...

The opening number was much as it always has been - the lights are much cooler from above, we discovered, and it was kind of neat being able to keep our eyes on the whole picture, but it was still kind of distant. Very upbeat, very fun, lots of cheering...

After Scott finishes the very last part of the opening number, Kurt comes out, satchel in hand, acting like all the applause is for him (half of it probably was) and goes by scott, who grabs the handle of the bag, stopping him. they peer into the bag, but then instead of starting Crash, as we expected, they both take a hold of a handle and start walking down the ice goofily towards Josee who had come out in the meantime... With that came the start of My Drag... I really like this program for Josee, i think it fits her really well....

After Josee came Brian skating to Summer Wind, which was wonderful. Then Kurt came crawling out (to be inconspicuous) and when Brian turned to do his last bow, hopped up on the boards and started clapping enthusiastically along with the audience. He then reached into his bag and brought out a rose. He played at maybe giving it to this woman and then turning away and then offering and then turning away and then finally handed it to her...and fell off the boards/fell over in reaction =). Then lights went down and Brasseur & Eisler started I'll Be Okay. This is a very pretty, sentimental program, and the lamppost and bench are a nice touch.

Then Kurt comes out with his flashlight, looking for his satchel, stops about center ice and picks up someone's purse and shines his flashlight at it, examining it. Then he put it back and kept going before discovering his satchel at center ice... Picks it up and discovers Tara - lots of smoke, lots of laughter before he gets picked up and shuttled off the ice by Steven and Todd. =)

Tara's Genie in a Bottle is no different than it ever was. The one thing to note here is that, except for a few bobbles on Josee's landings, everyone is having a wonderful on night, with clean skates and no missed jumps, which was worrying wendy and i b/c we thought that'd mean no reshoots. (not that we were wishing ill, we just wanted to see the infamous reshoots)

After Genie in a Bottle, Crash started... I really really really love this program. Probably b/c I love the song, but it really is one of the programs that reminds us that Kurt's not just good at clowning around, though he is immensely talented at that as well. The choreography had less fast footwork and a lot of beautiful deep edges, and was overall a very smooth program. An interesting move he does here which I may have misinterpreted as a fall the first time is a slide onto his side/back before jumping up right again and doing a beautiful triple something..toeloop? a triple straight out of body sliding on the ice..impressive. My favorite part is still when they're repeating "Crash into me" like a wave crash and Kurt does his one foot slide towards various parts of the arena.

After Crash came You Can Call Me Al accompanied by lots of cheers for Scott. Nice, clean program, lots of playing to the audience. Then came Me and Julio, which Kurt and Steve get better and better at. Brian's also integrated in much better than he used to be. Lots of fun... as was Cecilia which is almost unbearably cute =). Bourne & Kraatz skating to Emily was beautiful, and the Old Friends number at the end has really been cleaned up - beautiful.

During the last few numbers, Wendy and I had our eyes on a number of seats, particularly three on-ice seats at the end of the arena, which had been empty through the entire show. We ran downstairs and quickly split up - she and Kat went to find out if the on-ice's were really not taken and I went to the other section with the most empty seats... I waited for the longest time and finally they appeared at the on-ice seats...and stayed there. I wasn't sure if they were waiving me over or not but after a while it seemed like they weren't moving so I took off. 5 minutes until intermission ended and i was 1/4 way around the rink from them. Couldn't get on-ice from my side b/c a security guard asked for tickets, so ran around and ducked concession, bathroom, and souvenir lines to get to an entrance where I could get to the on-ice seats. I must have ducked into like 5-6 (Every entrance between me and the one I ended up at) entrances without luck before i finally got there about 2 minutes before it all started. This is when we really realized how wonderful our new seats were - the skaters in Club AC stopped right in front of us and each did their thing... amazing view!

Steven Cousins spent a fair amount of time at our end of the ice during Josee's number, and it was wonderful - he's really funny and he has a high-wattage smile. He acted the snubbed but hopeful boy really well and let out some cute exclamations. Really enjoyed all of Club AC including Lulu, Steven, and Shae-Lynn's collaboration.

After this came Josee skating to a really pretty She, followed by Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing, which starts out at our end of the ice really really close to us... so cool. i'm not a big fan of Meno and Sand's but i really liked seeing the program up close. of course, once again i had my camera out and clicking away. everytime the skaters came nearby i struggled - do i take advantage of on-ice and get good pics or do i grin at the skaters and really watch them? taking pictures tended to win out...sigh.

Then Kurt and Tara's duet started off which was really cute as usual... two things here... Kurt really has a big grin on his face - he smiles at her a lot when they're going around corners, and they actually did a kiss or something! there was a loud smacking noise, and it looked like contact, but the lights went down so it's hard to say if they were just making the noise or what...

Then Bourne & Kraatz's Mack the Knife which I really really enjoy, and then Ebbtide - Brian Orser skates so beautifully. Brasseur & Eisler turned up the energy with We Like To Party - great program... somewhere here Kurt went down the side of the ice on his scooter, and stopped with his face in a camera before the lights went down...

American Woman, I actually took pictures of =)... and then Don Quixote which was immensely cute. Finally, Play that Funky Music which was wonderful, except Kurt missed his triple axel - he popped it. Lastly the finale - wonderful and we think that when Kurt passed us he grinned a little at us - a kind of quirk of the side of his mouth and a nod. Victor also grinned right at Kat... they were so close it was amazing!!

At the end of the finale, Scott gets the mic and yells "did you guys like what you saw?" evoking cheers, and then " did you like that finale?" "well would you like to see it again?" which of course got huge cheers - he then yelled at people leaving, specifically two people everyone could see going up the aisles, telling them to get back in their seats, etc =). he talked more about stuff and then said ok we'll do it again b/c i screwed up like two steps down there (pointing at our end of the ice).. he says, i've been in this show like 68 times and they've had 4 shows and i was the one to screw it up! and then someone said something and he was like "oh you missed a step too? i messed you up, huh?"... so they ended up redoing the whole finale and everyone was really into it the second time - skaters on top of things and the audience really clapping and cheering the whole time. After the finale finished, including skaters coming around to shake hands - Kurt came all the way to our end of the ice but stopped and played to the camera - he then pantomimed shaking hte hands of everyone on the other side of that end, none of whom actually got up (we were all on our feet by the ice), and played to the corner camera before hurriedly rejoining the group for the final bows.

Then Scott grabbed the microphone and entertained the crowd some more, talking about being glad about being back in Canada. He asked for the house lights to be turned up so he could see us all, and then said something about the people in the second tier having the best seats in Canada to see his shiny bald head. He yelled at some more people leaving and then told people to fill in the seats, invited everyone to move down... while people were shuffling around he continued to make jokes, etc, though I can't remember what he was talking about. Finally we saw Kurt come out of the curtains in his Funky Music outfit, ready to retake the triple axel. Scott said something about the four time world and canadian champion, his good buddy, a man he's not ashamed to say he loves in public (Kurt threw up his arms in a "yeah!" kind of motion at that)... he said last time he was here Kurt was proposing... and that we were about to see what made Kurt the best professional on the ice today... after saying a whole bunch of complimentary things about Kurt, he finally said "Kurt Browning!" (which of course evoked tons of cheering) and skated off... Funky Music started up and Kurt starts doing his dance steps leading up to the jump, comes around the corner, goes up...and falls. He then tries two more times, falling each time almost exactly the same way. At one point he went over and pulled someone out of their seat and sat down, with a sort of, you go, I give up, motion... There was a lot of interaction with the audience...at one point he told everyone to cross their fingers for him =). He then grabbed the mic and apologized like crazy for missing the jumps, saying he hadn't missed that jump in the last 5-6 cities... he said he was going to give it one more try and then he'd do a double... he went out, started up, everyone started cheering - he messed up and then went and got the mic and asked everyone to be quieter b/c we were getting him all excited which was messing him up... everyone went shhhh and tried to be quieter but he messed up again... he comes back up and he's holding up 2 fingers, indicating that he's going to do a double but the whole crowd on that side is shaking their heads and protesting - he tries our side of the ice and the other and everyone is holding up three fingers... so he goes for one more triple and falls yet again...he seems very fed up at this point and more than a little embarrassed... He then goes to attempt a double axel...and falls! At this point you can tell he's completely had it...he picks up the microphone and says that his body is still trying to do a triple, but his head is going..."i'm tiwed". he goes and finally lands a double. He then picks up the microphone and tells us we're so sweet b/c he's never got a standing ovation for a double before (half the audience stood up when he finally landed his double)... he apologized like crazy and said that nothing like that had ever happened to him at Toronto csoi before. he said "you guys are why Scott came back to canada" He apologized to Josee for taking up all the audience's time, and finally introduced her by saying "what was wrong? what, she didn't smile big enough? isn't she the cutest thing ever produced on the ice?? she says that in cecilia she was being playful, not flirty... whatever she did i don't think scott's been getting much sleep since he's gotten to Canada! i mean, he hasn't been able to sleep from thinking about her, not from anything else, let's not start any rumors here." =).. finally he introduces her, and she goes out and skates the first two jumps of her My Drag program, which were perfect (her grin when she landed the second one right by us was priceless). She then took the mic and said "that's all, you guys can go!"... as everyone started shuffling out of the arena though, Kurt came out again and took the mic and said "i'm going to try it one more time.... " (everyone cheers) "i'm getting in trouble back there so i'm going to try it. you guys don't have to stay, you can leave if you want...i'm not telling you you have to leave you can stay too but scott hamilton won't come out here and yell at you and he won't find out where you live if you leave"... he then sets up and lands a double axel as warmup... then he goes and sets up, the music starts...and he lands a triple axel with a little bobble on the landing, but the best he's done so far... he takes the mic again and says "i think for Kurt's safety we're just going to take that one. thanks everyone! please come back again, it's not the same without you!"

Just one last comment - those on-ice seats??? amazing... we're still in euphoria about getting to sit in those... we were in the corner, so lots of skating around that corner and less interaction, but they were so close... wow... much nicer upgrade from 2nd tier let me tell you that!! =)