Back in January of this year, Johnny performed his now-legendary ‘Creep’ for what was meant to be the final time, at the University of Delaware’s special US Nationals Send-Off. The video of his performance has thus far garnered more than 300K views, and has risen to fourth place on the list of most-watched Johnny YouTubes ever, just behind his 2010 US Nats short program, Poker Face, and Bad Romance.
At the time, I noted that the lighting of the UD show was challenging: the arena lit the rink with standard overhead lights, like the lighting for a competitive event, rather than with the spotlights usually employed for exhibitions. We ended up processing our photos monochromatically stylized, to drown out the color noise of the crowd and keep the focus on Johnny’s simple black costume, red gloves, and red-soled skates.
And then, in response to international fandom outcry, Johnny graciously decided to bring Creep back once more for the Skating Club of Wilmington’s Spring Ice Show.
SCW is Johnny’s home rink, and the annual two-day spring event is also their major fundraiser for the year. The club goes all out to create an engaging and high-quality production: last year’s show was excellent, and this year’s was even better.
And that meant that at last, we could video and photograph Johnny’s black-and-red Creep performance as it was meant to be showcased, on glittering ice under brilliant spotlights.
As I mentioned in our coverage of Johnny’s SCW Heartbreak premiere, Davey’s recently upgraded equipment now renders his photos with the vintage film-like quality he prefers. The result is a spectacular collection of Creep photos that are the ones I’ve been wanting since Johnny first added those red gloves to his costume in January to symbolize the death of the program. These stunning images quietly capture the emotion that underscores this program and makes it such a fan favorite. It is a beautifully poignant expression of the “I don’t belong here” feeling many of us know so well, but no one bares it in a more unique and searingly honest way than Johnny.
Please click any photo to open the full-size image in a separate window and enjoy it in all its breathtaking detail. These are huge and may be slow to load, but are most definitely worth the wait. Video of Johnny’s performance (plus new bonus video!) is below.
A superstar’s work is never done: after performing two programs, Johnny returns during the curtain call on the second night of the show — accompanied this time by a ginormous teddy bear in place of the lollipop — to greet the audience and sign autographs for dazzled fans of all ages. At about 1:40, he explains that he is NOT yet retiring his iconic ‘Creep’ program after all: “That wasn’t the last one. I messed up at the end. There will be one more!” Which, for the millions of fans around the world who love this program so much, is certainly very welcome news.