The tickets were a surprise birthday present, go figure.
MBG and I decided to make a day of it and spent the afternoon shopping in Antwerp follwed by a very yummy early dinner and then left over an hour to get to the nearby arena.
Hah! With all of the stand-still traffic for the event coupled with poor civic planning, we missed the opening act. Apparently, ticket prices did not include lighting and we almost killed ourselves trying to get to our seats in the dark. I actually wanted to wait, but the ushers kept urging us down the steep pitch-black stairs.
Overall the show followed more of a COI format than the US SOI. One skater after another with no overlaps or group numbers or theme. Pause and intro before each new skater. Well, at least there was no medley.
1. Kat Witt: Babs song I'd never heard but she skated very well. I give kudos to Kat for the very same reasons that so many call for her retirement. It's just really nice to see a mature woman on the ice who can skate with feeling. Did a nice 2axel.
2. Kevin van der Perren: Same number as Lalique gala. Really nice number and skated clean. He's really coming along and developing a strong ice presence, I starting to hope for good things for this guy's future.
3. Shae-Lynn&Vic: Ugh, they looked like Christmas ornaments, he in red and she in green with lots of gold sparly trim. "Snake Charmer" sounded almost exactly like "the Feeling Begins". Kinda boring, but I'm no dance fanatic.
4. Jen Robinson: Pleasent but innocuous.
5. D&V: Sorry, I actually don't remember anything about it. Sorry.
6. Steve Cousins: Streets of Philly: blech! He wore the outfit I first saw on Kurt in Lillehammer and have seen on sooo many guys since: tight black pants and t-shirt with silver sparkly belt.
7. Oksana: Ah, back when JLo used to at least try to sing. She really has great presence live. Hand down on 3sal and some shaky 2axels but overall nice performance. You can tell she really feels it. Has an Eva Perone fashion sense though (no matter now much money they make, they still dress like a poor girl from a backwater).
8. Babs&Maurizio: Lara Fabian number, nice but kinda forgettable.
9. Katia: Nice soft number, but she struggled. Fall on 3t and poped 2Lutz.
10. Ilia: Green Tomatoes. Very lively and audience friendly. Really kinda silly choreo IMO, lots of 2 foot fw.
11. The only cast number in the show, and boy was it bad. Shockingly bad. Kat and Steve and Vic did a really trite number about flirty gal and jealous boys. It's actually the type of number you would expect filler skaters to do while you went to the restroom, not before.
12. Steve: Disco number that had the croud going. Actually, from a skating point of view it was dreadful. Lots of standstill dancing and terrible choreo. He did a 2axel at the beginning near the entrance and then skated to the other end of the ice and back and did a 3toe right in the same exact spot.
13. Babs&M: I will Survive. I consider them G&P's chief rivals in the "Exhibition numbers which were fobbed off as Oly FDs" category. A lot of fun because, well, it always was an exhibition and not a FD.
14. Jen Rob: Really hokey number where she tries to act sexy, but in a sort of Dean Martin movie way. NMCOT.
15. D&V: Orintal Dance. I liked it but MBG, who just doesn't have my tollerence threshold for Dance, made fun of it the whole time. While she was faux belly dancing in her harem outfit, he said "Lady, that feeling already began!".
16. Katia: the red scarf. This was my favorite number. MBG felt she hid behind the scarf too much, but I thought that it was an excellent prop number and what I wish more pro skating was like: different and entertaining. Again, she's not there yet. Step out of 2axel and 2 foot 2sal. I give this lady huge creds when I think of her career. I'm sure it ain't easy to do triples after 2 kids, but the overall skating was excellent IMO.
17. Kevin: Great number to Piazzola Tanguera. 2 3/3s and nice presentation.
18. Oksana: Swan Lake. Sorry Sasha, but this is what feeling the music looks like. Opening and end looked a lot like 94 SP. It had an almost old fashioned Sonja type look to it. 3sal and fall on 3toe. Nicely skated otherwise.
19. Shae&Vic: Boring, but tune was catchy.
20. Kat: Fever. Nice. Sensual and pleasing, but a little empty.
21 Ilia: House is not a Home. MBG thought that it was fun number. Sorry, I just don't "get" him.
22. Cast finale to We are Family. Gals came out first in retro 60's costumes that looked like something Nanny Fine would have worn. Then the guys joined them. Not a lot of "skating" going on in the skating.
The program had some fun titles, like "Katerina Wit: the greatest skater of all time" (Don't tell Sasha!), "The magnificent and tragic destiny of Ekaterina Gordeeva", "Ilia Kulik: the Leonardo Di Caprio of the ice" and "Steven Cousin: the English King of Figure Skating" (don't tell Robin or any John Curry fans!).