Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Stars on Ice Review - Oakland, CA - Jan. 12, 2001

written by Tina

Apologies for the formatting here - I originally wrote this review for my mailing list and was on a computer where the shift key wasn't working the way I wanted it to, so there are no capitalizations.

the overall show this year seems quite low key, especially compared to last year. that led to less energy in the building, and less standing ovations in general. it's my personal opinion that standing ovations tend to come from really high energy programs (brickhouse/play that funky music) or inspiring/emotional/sentimental skates from popular skaters - therefore scott hamilton got the only standing ovation of the night (though a lot of people stood when the show ended) for his my way, but not for anything else. wendy and i attempted to lead a standing ovation for nyah, but we failed miserably... was us two plus one other person in our section, and that was it, i think. on the other hand, that doesn't mean the show is bad, it's just not as likely to leap up and grab you and drag you along for the ride like last years' was. i liked many aspects of it...

the opening number, let's get it on...is not all that memorable, to be honest, but not that bad either... the problem i had with this and many of the other group numbers is that they had skaters *everywhere* doing all sorts of different things and it's impossible to keep track of it all. the opening couple poses are cute. the fact that they are one girl short of the guys in the opening number makes it a little odd when, for instance, kurt's just posing there without a girl...though gorsha kind of strolling down the line of people wasn't as bad. the unusual pairings were interesting...at one point (this isn't that unusual), kurt had tara for a while...ilia's lift of kristi down the middle of the ice was pretty darn good...um... i think they did that thing like last year where kurt helps renee go up and over by holding on to her leg (if that makes any sense) only this time she gets flipped up onto todd sand's shoulder... my memory is completely slipping and my head was doing a sort of ping pong thing, trying to keep track of people on the ice...one thing we did notice - kurt had a friend below us and he kept sticking out his tongue, making faces, winking, and waving at the person. oh, i forgot to mention, we were 6th row center ice, so a bit higher than he could see...

after let's get it on, scott skates to "i feel good", which was much like it was in the tv broadcast...scott grins and smirks and goofs around, acting mock sexy but not exactly... then the little boy comes out... little long-haired blond kid in brown figure skates (we heard renee backstage telling someone that they find a different kid in every city)... kid got lots of cheers. i know it'd be hard to train a new kid every night, but i expected more to this segment than this... the little boy appears, skates down the ice a bit unsteadily, does a couple bunny hops, and then stops at scott... scott takes him by the hand, skates him to center ice. where they stand for a while, scott with a benevolent look on his face.. then tara comes out and skates around them...that's the opening to "new moon in old moon's arms" (they're selling the cd at the boutique)..

this is a fairly flowy, low key group number... i actually liked it quite a lot. it's not particularly flashy, but the mood was there... kind of soft, flowing... and there was some beautiful skating. the different people were also all quite well coordinated... they brought them in gradually. first came tara, skating for quite a while by herself... then roca and sur came in and joined her... they stood 1/3 of the way down the ice and then began moving in unison, before tara broke off... then kurt came in, gradually followed by meno and sand. the entrances were so well coordinated that i didn't notice them coming in until they appeared and increased the number of skaters moving together.

then comes out steven skating to higher... my overall impression of this program is... i love steven, i think he has a wonderful personality (from what i've seen of it) and an even better smile, but i think kurt would have done a much better job with this song, and it's not just because i like kurt. i don't think the choreography maximized or even fully utilized the impact of the song (which i like, btw)... he didn't look like he could decide whether to be introverted and intense or not... half the time he was looking at the ice and not the audience, but the other half, he was flashing a grin when he landed a jump or trying to smile at parts of the audience... it wasn't bad, but it could have been much much better...he was quite shaky on a few jump landings, spun kind of sloppily... overall, i liked last year's program better.

then...desert rose... you probably have all heard my opinions about this already. don't like her hand movements... feel there are too many and that they're not executed that convincingly. they were somewhat less distracting in person, partly b/c i didn't have the closeup that a camera gives you... i liked her costume much better in person as well. she's getting better at delivering this program, though, and i do like the song.... and the lighting was pretty neat too... it's unfortunate that they had to open the show with two programs where i liked the music and didn't like the choreography.. i think the rest of my comments will be more positive =).

ilia's drive/driven, i liked... ilia's flexibility and strength are something i completely am in awe of... he did a neat knee slide thing in the beginning. he also did one of his splits to standing things ... several jumps, including a triple lutz and a triple toe loop, though i think he might have bobbled the lutz and popped the axel... great edges, interesting choreography... it was quite effective in general.

scott's double bogey blues was really cute in person... he's got a great on-ice personality... good acting/expressions, etc... a few mishaps here... his golf club didn't fly out at him like it was supposed to, so he had to skate over to the bag and grab it *(covered it up well - wendy had to point it out to me)... he also almost landed his triple lutz but kind of bobbled the landing... he integrated it pretty well but... luckily, his golf bag did fall over, so we got a nice backflip over it (he takes off really close to the bag)...

roca and sur's everything must change was really beautiful, interesting lifts, dramatic/emotional, etc....... i wish they would try a different style... it was kind of the same style of dramaticism as ghost and time to say goodbye... would love to see something drastically different from them. and of course they had the ending where they had to cram sixty different positions before the music ended... wendy says the costume was too skimpy. don't get me wrong, i like this program. i just was thinking while i was watching it that it was too similar to their previous ones in style (if not in lifts)... though there were cool lifts...like when she's draped over his arm with his arm extended, so he's basically supporting her whole weight by one arm under the small of her back.

then...nyah...the moment we'd been waiting for. i was highly disappointed in the beginning b/c after reading those compelling reviews of the single arm in the spotlight... the angle was such that all we saw was his dim back and occasionally his hand moving in the light... i think if i didn't know what it was supposed to be i would have been highly confused...no muscled chisled arm in the spotlight for me =(. on the other hand... when the light appeared on him as a whole, and he held his arms back for the first time..whoa, the guy has definitely been working out! very nice indeed ... this program was really cool - quite a departure from typical skating - it really did seem like dancing on ice... very crisp movements, really good body positions, great carriage... very much more like a dancer than a skater. no jumps, no actual skating spins, but a lot of revolutions/spinning on a toepick or whatever... more dancerly spins rather than specific skating position spins. he never breaks the mood...very intense...definitely not something he could use in a competition, but really good for this show... the audience seemed to appreciate it, even if they wouldn't stand up =p. the thing about the clapping at the end...i don't know what i expected but it wasn't exactly that. kurt led us in measured slow clapping for like 4-5 claps and then let us continue (audience caught on fast - hey it was the bay area, they probably are all wired and have read about it on the 'net ;))... the clapping sped up quite quickly (though wendy tells me no quicker than in baltimore) and soon kurt was frantically doing footwork down the ice... finally ended with his yell... very cool =), can't wait to have it on tape.

then tara comes out... kurt skates around her clapping (i have to say, there's something strangely... weak about the sound of one person clapping in the middle of a huge arena like that... it should have been stronger but there's nothig he could do about that)... then she starts dance with me. i actually like dance with me quite well...i think tara pulls off the dancing/choreography much more effectively than she did with genie in a bottle... it works quite well with the music and the attitude and the choreography... a quite enjoyable program overall.

next..tunnel vision. quite funny at the beginning b/c tara skates into the tunnel - blew the entrance flap (there's a cloth over a metal frame) to the side where it stayed open... you could see flashes of kristi trying to close it surreptitiously... but the opening of this was i think supposed to be shadows of them in the tunnel - stretching and warming up, etc... they had lights inside the white cloth so you could see their shadows on the sides of the tunnel. then the cloth was pulled upwards to the ceiling, and the skaters came out... they skated around a bit..at one point going down the ice (most of you won't get this reference) like in phil collins' "i can't dance i can't walk" thing... there was some other stuff but i don't quite remember what... culminated in them in a circle, pretending to spread gossip around... gets back to kristi and she shakes her head in irritation... so the chain of gossip goes the other way telling people it's wrong... in the middle of this, scott "freezes" everyone..they all stop in their various poses (kurt with his arms extended pointing at the next person... steven in a sort of shrug with arms out position)... and scott says "did you see that? i froze the cast! if i knew i could do that 14 years ago..things would have been a lot different". he then skates around everyone talking about how they were all frozen in various positions, spreading their gossip... and with goofy looks on their faces (stopping next to steven and mimicking his shrug (and apparently his facial expression though it was facing away from us)). he talks about how the group is too small, nothing is a secret with them...so then he unfreezes them, and they go into their chairs... he talks some more and goes and names each person... kurt's boxcar (kurt leaps on him at this point, giving him a big hug with a kind of eager puppy dog look/grin on his face), always eager to please... steven was "chuffy" or something like that... meno and sand, sooo in love (and i think everyone, esp kurt, rolled their eyes or had semi disgusted looks on their faces)...except.. something - notice the red hair. (jenni got a hmph kind of look on her face) then renee roca - nobody really knows what she's up to... gorsha, the romeo of the tour (he was combing his hair, slouched in his chair)... yuka, seeing it all for the first time... yama...seen it all (she does a kind of shrug with a knowing nod)... tara came out late a bit earlier than this, gabbing on the phone and when scott gets to her she goes, "oh, were you talking to me?" and he says..no..well... actually talking to the audience and telling them a bit about everyone... she goes oh ok, and keeps talking on the phone...and i forget what he said..something like typical about her on the phone. then scott talks some more, and says, this is what i'm going to miss most about this tour..these personalities... and playing here, in oakland/bay area, the best place in the country for this tour!!! and everyone cheers... then you hear steven mutter "he says that at every show" and scott yells "that's it, you're dead!" and starts chasing steven around the chairs... tara jumps up and stops scott and says, scott, can i have a time out, and they stroll down the ice and tara says something like, i have a problem with this tour... and scott says, what's that your wonderful youngliness (or something like that) and she says, that's just it... i'm the youngest person on the tour! and he says..i don't think i can do anything about that.. she says, well, here's my problem... skates over to the others... married (at meno and sand), taken (ilia), won't tell anyone (renee), always has someone (denis), spins around gorsha with a whoo!, married (yuka), married (kristi), married (kurt), check out his website (steven). steven does a kind of yahoo pump, and high-tenned kurt. then somehow they get to talking about scott's age... and everyone;'s like, oh you're only as old as you feel and scott's like.awww.. and then tara says, yeah! my dad's your age and he feels really young!... somehow this turns to her saying everyone's old and boring, so they get up and try to prove her wrong by dancing around and eventually made to the other side of the rink (kurt stopped right in front of our section and was doing this really geeky dance after everyone else stopped until they called him over)... they're milling around talking when ilia comes out in a purple shirt and green pants and starts skating around like a big shot... i think the song was mr. bigshot or something like that. so kurt says "why's he like that" or something like that, and scott says, well he's only 1998 olympic gold medalist, multi-millionaire movie star, etc... i think he has a right to skate like that..and kurt says "how come he gets all the hair?"... ilia gets the mike at some point and says something in russian and the girls are like "what's he saying??" and renee says "i don't know, but it's working for me!"... ilia sits down, and gorsha appears and starts posing all over the ice, takes off his outer shirt, carries it up and flings it into the audience, and flirts intensively with the audience, before disappearing up into it... then the spotlight shifts... steven is at the mike..and says "ladies and gentlemen, welcome shaft..." denis skates out in a long leather jacket, "and mini-me!" and scott skates out with little steps around denis.. steven says "has anyone ever seen the movie twins? it's kind of like arnold schwarzenegger and danny devito all over again, inn't it." and everyone starts laughing... denis flips scott over his arm...they skate around some more with scott taking two steps to every one of denis'... and steven yells "look at that little bugger run!"...and then denis lifts scott up into a two handed Detroiter before he puts him down and goes into a final pose with scott kind of clutching himself with his other arm weakly up in an imitation of denis. then gorsha appears on the other side of the rink, climbs really high up, and starts preening, putting his leg over the railing... finally starts hugging this woman... scott comes on the mike and says "the ambitions expressed by mr. gorsha sur do not necessarily reflect those of the cast or management of target stars on ice"... then todd comes out as "sandman" trying to seem all wild and stuff but kind of failing - i wonder if that was intentional - and then jenni gets her hair all fluffed up and looks annoyed and they get into an "argument" while everyone else is doing stuff.. at one point denis holds onto one of scott's arms and legs and spins him around... and kurt, ilia, and steven lie down on the ice, renee lays on them, they sit up, lift her over their heads and hand her to gorsha.. then they all lie back and kick their legs like "oh boy!!". eventually they make up, funny things happen, i don't really remember and the segments ends.

second half opens with them all standing in basically the same closing configuration as the first half. then jenni and kristi stand up, take down their hair, and start skating to both sides now... this beginning part was just kind of pretty and flowy... then denis skates out and starts lifting them in turn...it started out pretty neat - interesting lifts, etc... but then it kind of turned into lift kristi put her down lift jenni put her down, etc... in quick succession. got a bit less interesting after a while, and it was a bit hard to understand the point of the program (aside from giving denis a showpiece). it was pretty though.

then chairmen/terminator - very very neat... words can't explain but it's definitely worth seeing live, just so you can see what the cameras aren't showing (ie, roca and sur aren't the most interesting people on the ice)... they got a little out of sync at times, and when renee was lying across four chairs, one of them was completely out of line. but it's a very neat program....

moanin'...i think i figured out tara and ilia's problem... ilia's movements are much larger than tara's, so even though they're on the same beat, they don't look like they're skating together ... also, i think ilia's jazz is ok...tara just looks cutesy. so... the program isn't awful but it's not that good...

then yuka's program to take my hand was just beautiful... she had a beautiful triple loop to start, but then fell on a later jump... but her skating is just delightful and i liked her program...

then... the familiar strains of don't fence me in started and scott appeared on the side on a little hobby horse and says some of the lines from the song (he does this throughout but i don't know if he appeared outside any other time)... kurt skates out while scott's talking and puts his hat on a woman's head at the end... then he turns around, and basically does his butt wiggles right at her - needless to say, she looked quite thrilled... the program,...i think i like better live, b/c you can really see his personality, but it still isn't one of my favorites... he's good at playing to the audience though... and i have to mention... he landed a GORGEOUS triple axel - really high, beautiful rotation, absolutely no problem on the landing - looked almost like a double! i was so excited... at the end when he goes for his hat, she takes it off and holds it out to him...he takes it really slowly, staring her straight in the eye (couldn't see his face), and then when he moves away he did a kind of hip bump towards her, and she fell back and started whispering to her friend and laughing... and he didnt rope a woman this time, he roped a guy and kissed him on the top of the head.. looked like a friend of the skaters' b/c they all acknowledged him at the end and kurt acknowledged him all the way through... then kurt goes over to the curtains, reaches in grabs a rope, starts pulling it out - and at the end is a kristi, struggling to get herself free...

i have to admit that i barely watched kristi - i was seeing what kurt was up to, during let'er rip... what i saw looked dynamic and fun.... kurt was basically squatting by the side of the rink looping his rope.. tried to lasso her when she came closer but his rope fell short...

then, sin wagon - kurt's first group number choreographic effort =). this was quite cute... i rather enjoyed it, though kurt's group choreography seems to consist of having everyone do the same thing together... which actually was quite nice b/c i could actually keep track of everyone instead of looking all over the ice... there was some cute footwork here, as well... just a fun, light hearted number.

then meno and sand to i can't make you love me... i don't particularly like the pink, particularly on todd... the number was kind of bland and typical meno and sand. i hope i don't offend any fans of theirs out there - i liked baby did a bad bad thing but they seemed to have reverted to type with this program.

rockit, i enjoyed almost as much as the first time i saw it on tv... the impact was slightly lessened b/c i knew what was coming whereas the first thing just took me completely by surprise... but it was really cool and i'm still in awe of ilia's flexibility and strength...

then tiny dancer... was utterly boring. i don't remember much of it... kind of cute i guess...

my way was cute... scott pulls it off with pizazz (if you can't tell, it's now 3:20 pacific time, im' getting tired and i'm cutting this short)...got the only standing ovation of the night...

then the finale... i kind of like the as song... there is a heck of a lot more to this than there was in the tv broadcast and it's pretty enjoyable,. kristi skates first for quite a while to scott... kind of slow and lyrical, almost like bridge over troubled water... then they came out in groups and skated with scott a few at a time... like, kurt, renee, and gorsha came out first, then they went away while ilia, yuka, and denis came out... yuka got lifted by denis and then passed to ilia while she was still up in the air... that was kind of neat. then they went away, meno, sand, and steven came out... then tara comes out with scott individually skating down the ice... and then everyone comes out together... ends with the cast not doing anything and scott skating around them,, as we saw on tv... and for those who wonder, he shook kurt's hand first...

i probably got some of the finale screwed up in my head, but overall, i think that's it... it was a pretty good show. didnt' have the overall impact as last year's but all in all, i think it's a pretty good sendoff for scott.