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SOI Edmonton Reviews

Review by Lee

As some of you know, I lucked out on the Ticketmaster site on Thursday, and managed to get on-ice seats, right near centre ice. I hadn't planned on going to SOI at all because I do have tickets for Skate the Nation later this month in Red Deer. However, Bourne & Kraatz were the final 'draw' for me, and for my daughter, Kami, who loves dance, and in particular loves B&K. She was so excited about going she literally raced me across the bridge that crosses 118th Avenue from the parking area to the Coliseum. When we finally got in the doors, she didn't ask for snacks, programs, souvenirs or anything -- she just wanted to get to those on-ice seats. So we sat for close to an hour, watching people come in. Sherry, another member of the skatefans mailing list, came over from her on ice seat to say hi before the show. We knew things were about to get going when all these well-dressed people walked out from a lower entrance and filled up the rest of the on-ice seats -- obviously sponsors and invited guests. Ravi Walia walked right past us heading to his seat. I would have stopped him to say hi (he skated in our carnival the end of March), but I didn't want to hold him up in the last minute rush to get to their seats. I didn't buy a program, so I'm going strictly on memory here and hoping others who were at the show can fill in my holes. The show itself has been reviewed several times, so I'll stick mostly to the things that impressed Kami and me, and the 'oddball' things that happened. 'Get the Led Out' was pounding...and the audience responded with great zeal. Brasseur & Eisler did a gorgeous death spiral, Bechke & Petrov, one of their famous overhead lifts, both meeting with great response. Bourne & Kraatz were met with a roar of approval, but the biggest ovation went (naturally, being in Edmonton) to Kurt Browning. I think his nieces were sitting a few seats down from us, because almost every time he went past these two young girls, he winked at them, stuck his tongue out at them or made some kind of funny face. He was obviously enjoying himself. For the naysayers I must point out that those were indeed hockey skates Kurt wears in his first 'cold spot' at the beginning. I was blown away by what he managed to do without picks, and with a rocker so incredibly different from figure skates. Absolutely amazing! I hope he does this same spot in STN so my hockey-playing son can see it! I loved Torvill and Dean's 'Tango.' Since joining SOI a year ago, Jayne Torvill has displayed an incredible comedic talent. Her facial expressions are priceless. Needless to say, the unison, positions and everything else about their skating is parallel to none. Jump-wise, things were not great in Edmonton. Josee and Steven Cousins both fell on 3-lutzes and Katia fell on a 3-toe. Kurt stepped out of the 3-axel in *Fun & Games*, and Brian Orser doubled a couple jumps. Kami and I were both in awe of how absolutely gorgeous Katia Gordeeva is in person, up close. She received applause at the beginning of "Smile" -- obviously, many in the audience had seen this program on TV, and showed their appreciation. At one point (I know, I really should have bought a program to keep some semblance of order here -- oh, well!), lights flashed around the audience, accompanied by a well-known drum sequence. Finally, the moment Kami had been waiting for -- Bourne & Kraatz. As has happened in other Cdn stops, they got thunderous applause and a standing ovation at the beginning. I really like Shae's new 'do' and Victor is quite a bit taller than I expected. Kami and I also agreed that he's pretty cute ;-) Riverdance was over far too soon -- they opened with the slow section and then hit the opening of their competitive free dance. The place went nuts! Unfortunately, for Kami and I, we were on the wrong side of the ice -- all the 'fancy' stuff was facing the other side, but it still didn't really take away our enjoyment of this number. Of course, standing ovation at the end. "Fun & Games* was absolutely hilarious! The 'judges' were sitting right in front of us. When 'Gorky & Park' (B&E) finished their second dance, all the judges put up 5.9's -- except Victor, who had a 6.9. The 'judge' next to him elbowed him, and he switched it around to read 9.6. Again, Jayne Torvill displayed a great sense of comedy. It was hard to keep track of what was happening between trying to watch Kurt sitting on the bench at the end of the ice, and trying to see what was happening right in front of us. I thought Brian Orser did a great job as the announcer, and he brought down the house when he managed to slip into his 'commentary' that the Edmonton Oilers has beaten the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Stanley Cup playoffs that evening. The second standing ovation of the night went to Brasseur and Eisler for "Ballroom Blitz." Lloyd sure does know how to ham it up, but I have to say I agree with others who have said they wish B&E would still do some 'pairs' elements. Bechke and Petrov were amazing. Kami commented on how well-built Elena is, "Mom, LOOK at the muscle in her arms!" They were also very well received by the Edmonton crowd. As I stated earlier, Brian Orser was a little 'off' in the jump department, but he's still wonderful to watch on the ice. He looks like he's gained a little weight, but nothing serious. The feet still fly, the performance is still there -- a treat! In his second number, he stopped right in front of us and winked at Kami. She was thrilled. :-) During the Elvis medley, Katia, Kurt and Josee all skated very well to their numbers. When Kurt finished "Are You Lonesome Tonight," he stood right in front of us!!!!! I told Kami she should have leaned over and told him to move -- I got one of those "MOMMMMM!!!!!" looks. The lights were off, a skater had gone down to the end of the ice, and the music started. I elbowed Kam, "'s Kurt!" And it WAS Kurt...and one of those nights he'd love to forget. The opening 2-axel was huge and he came around and did his rink-long spread eagle right in front of us. Kami 'whooped' and he turned his head, grinned and 'eyeballed' her. It was cute. Then things went really 'wonky.' On his one spiral, it looked like he went into it with too much 'oomph' and darn near fell on his head! Both hands went down in front of him, and both feet were down. I bet THAT hasn't happened to him in years! He has another 'stumble' on a footwork sequence -- looked like he crossed up blades somehow, but he recovered with one of those 'whew' looks on his face. No triple-triple tonight, but by the time that came in the program, I think he was a little 'spooked,' with the worst yet to come. He went down to the far end and was set to whip through the lutz corner in his footwork. He must have gotten too close to the edge, 'cuz all of a sudden he was DOWN! And I mean down *hard.* When I talked to Sherry later last night (this happened right in front of her), she said he caught a blade on the strip lighting at the edge. What ever he did, it looked like it hurt! This was close to the end of the program, and he looked pretty wiped out at the end. He got the standing ovation and came to centre ice to take his bows. As he turned around to face our side, I could see him mouth, 'This is my home.' You could just see he wanted to skate sooo well at 'home' and he looked, as Sherry said, devastated by his performance. Didn't matter much -- Edmonton loves him anyways. During the hand-shaking and all at the end of the show, Kurt had the mike and thanked everyone for coming. He said he was impressed because we all could have been at home watching the Oilers beat Dallas (more roaring from the crowd) but we'd gone to the Coliseum to watch them skate. Josee shook hands with those of us in our section. She's such a tiny little thing -- I loved the dresses the ladies wore in the finale (sparkly jewel colors). Kami said she's never going to wash that hand again! It was a great show -- both Kami and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And she's finally had her wish come true -- on-ice seats. It was obvious that some of the cast is beginning to get tired, especially those who've been with the US and Canadian tour. And it's not yet over for Kurt and Brian -- they still have Skate the Nation to do! One more time to see them both -- and Josee...can't wait!