Celebration of Gold Review
Special thanks to Scott Myers for inviting us to post his review on our site. You wrote a GREAT review and we all appreciate you taking the time to bring us all up to date. Thanks Scott!
.: Part One :.
Well, gang, I made it back here to my home base in Mineola, 80 miles east of Dallas and about 100-110 miles from the American Airlines Center near downtown Dallas, around 2 a.m.....tired, a bit frustrated that I MISSED MEETING TARA and the other skaters after the show (at the wrong area of the building where they boarded buses....a few at a time.....that took them back to their hotel rooms after the show), but the show itself made up for the disappointment in a big way!
So...........here's my review:
I beat rush hour traffic and hung around downtown Dallas up till 4:45 p.m.......then headed over to the American Airlines Center, the new building that is home of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks. Met up with a friend and chatted with her in her vehicle till 5:30 p.m. when the lines started forming in front of the north entrance.
Security was good, with the AAC personnel doing bag searches and scanning tickets to make sure there were no fake tickets. The only MAJOR complaint I have about the pre-skate festivities was NO PROGRAMS available!!!!!!
Around 6:20 p.m. I noted that only 500 were in there seats....the majority of the crowd was late arriving due to rush hour on a Monday night. And because of that, the show didn't start till 7:25 p.m.
Once it did, the PA announcer told one and all that the show was being prerecorded for playback on FOX-TV December 9 at 3:30 p.m. Central time......and introduced the President/CEO of Bank of America, who welcomed the crowd to a night of great skating entertainment.
And the first on the ice was Katarina Witt's replacement in the show, 1960 Olympic gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins (Witt withdrew from the event due to back and ankle injuries)....and she did basic school figures from the figure 8 to the figure 8 inner loop and did them cleanly. (THAT is missing from skating today.....school figures!)
From there, members of the Dallas Ice Theatre ensemble (kids ranging in age from 7-18) came out for the opening, skating to "Olympic Anthem" by the Boston Pops Orchestra......the kids dressed in the five colors of the Olympic rings.
Then the cast was introduced: Brian Boitano, Viktor Petrenko, Alexei Urmanov, Oksana Baiul, Ilia Kulik, Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dimitriev, and, of course, Tara Lipinski.
After the opening number, Carol thanked the crowd for coming to the show....adding that this was the first time she had skated in an ice show since her gold medal performance at Squaw Valley, California, 41 years ago, and that she was proud to be an American! And she looked great, wearing a blouse resembling an American flag and blue warmup pants.
The show not only saluted the Olympic gold medalists, but also those who have given themselves in competing in Special Olympics......two Dallas-area skaters were involved in the show. One skated to the "Top Gun" theme song in Act One and the other skated to "Over The Rainbow" in Act Two. Both received ovations from the crowd!
Kazakova and Dimitriev followed the Special Olympics skater with a routine to the love theme from "Romeo and Juliet"....and Kazakova fell on her tush on a simple throw axel (they corrected that in their reskate for TV production purposes)......but they had a wonderful inside edge death spiral and a combination spin.
Then each solo skater had an interview they did before their routine.....Brian Boitano leading off, with Carol Heiss Jenkins narrating the story about the Battle of the Brians. Boitano skated flawlessly to "Shenandoah", complete with his spread eagle, Tano Lutz, and huge death drop!
Next was Viktor with Ilia narrating his gold medal effort in 1992. And Viktor skated wonderfully to an Elvis Pressley medley (Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock).....complete with ball and chain!
Alexei followed with Oksana Baiul narrating his efforts to win in 1994......and even while falling out of a jump but saving the landing, his routine to a classical piece was breathtaking.
Baiul's "Swan Lake" was so artistic and expressive (like she did it in 1994 as Tara narrated her battle against Nancy/Tonya in Lillihammer), despite falling down on her tush on a simple double toe loop (she refixed it in the reskate and cried afterwards).....and she glittered like an angel AND a dove.
Ilia's "Rhapsody in Blue" showed his power in hitting at least three/four quads while showing his finesse on the lighter moves. His 1998 gold medal story was narrated by Alexei.
Tara, the final skater in Act One who's story of her 1998 Olympic triumph at a young age was narrated by Viktor, skated her new program, "The Color of Roses" by Beth Chapman Nielsen......and she looked great in this routine. Other than messing up on a landing (landed ok....but stumbled over her landing foot that required a reskate), Tara's work on this number showed her maturity in this sport.....and it reminded me of Roz Sumners' routine, "The Rose" from 1983.
There were only three reskates for TV purposes, and when Tara came back out to reskate her jump, most of the crowd chanted, "Tara! Tara! Tara!"
After a 15-minute intermission which actually lasted 25 minutes, it was on to Act Two......notes of which can be found in Part Two of this review.
.: Part Two :.
I estimated that there were around 5,000 for this show...meaning it was about 45 percent full as Act Two got underway.
Following Carol's second run-through on basic school figures, Kristin Lyons from Special Olympics came out to skate her "Over The Rainbow" routine wearing her Dorothy costume, complete with those ruby-red skates! :)
Act Two was 100 percent better than Act One as all the skaters skated their routines cleanly.....starting with Alexei's routine to "The Prince of Egypt". His moves in character to a young Egyptian pharaoh was on target and so were his jumps.
Kazakova and Dimitriev followed with an intriguing routine done to a puppeteer and his marionette......nice techno beat to this routine. The lifts and moves they pulled off defied gravity literally....and they received the first standing ovation of the night!
Viktor did one better for his standing O.........thanks to him and his "partner" from "Mambo #5"......and just seeing him shake his body and "her" body was priceless!
Oksana was glittering in a gold costume and was more stunning in her routine to Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World". It was also priceless!
Ilia's "Dueling Sax Man" duet from the 1970s was as hip as his quads......and he had more moves on the ice than Wayne Gretsky! I did like this routine a lot.......
.....until Boitano topped him with a routine to a Pavarotti solo. Brian was so effortless...so magical......so expressive. And he too got a standing O.
But the show saved its best solo performance of the night for last. Tara had skated this medley of "Shenandoah/JFK/God Bless The USA" on the Arete Awards and at the World Ice Challenge, both on CBS-TV, but seeing her skate to this routine was more patriotic for her in her blue skating dress with a patriotic ribbon on her upper right chest. And, folks, I just about lost it emotionally when she skated as in tempo and rhythm to the "JFK" part .......reminded me of Paul Wylie's tribute to JFK and Dallas when he skated to it in 1993....... and her skating from the heart in tribute to victims of the 9-11 tragedy when "God Bless The USA" was played. A nice touch to the finish was having the American flag unfurled on the north side of the arena.
The closing number was a group number to Gloria Estefan's latest solo (can't think what the song was titled)..... and the Dallas Ice Theatre came back out with the cast for the finale. Very classy number!
With the show ending at 9:45 p.m., there was an after show reception for the skaters on the second floor of the AAC, but some of them stayed to chat with those that had VIP passes while the others left, a few at a time, for their hotel rooms to unwind and get some sleep. And I don't blame them at all. These skaters gave one of the BEST performances I have ever seen in attending live skating events (including SOI and COI)!
I hung around outside with west entrance, near the employee entrance until 11:30 p.m. when I finally waved the white flag. And it wasn't until I got into my car and started to drive out of the parking lot that I saw a couple with Bank of America badges......and I asked them if the skaters had finally left. They had indeed left, with the last of them leaving around the time I went to my car. Nice timing.
Well, folks, that is my review of this show. It was well worth the time and effort to attend the show.....and the TV presentation should be just as good. Remember to check your local listing on FOX-TV Sunday, December 9 for when this special will air........and if you happen to see a guy wearing a black and gold cap with the letter G in the middle and wearing a black leather jacket, that would be me!
Take care one and all! Merry Christmas! May God continue to bless the United States of America!
Scott Allen Myers