Alex Janoff I had been looking forward to this day for a long time. I had been into Phish for a while at this point, but since I just started to get to know them at the beginning of the Hiatus I'd never gotten to see them live. When they announced their first official public comeback, I was highly anxious to see them. When I read the word “SNL”, it triggered in my mind “NBC”, which made my eyes light up at my computer screen. A close friend of my Dad worked at NBC and I had a good feeling I would be able to acquire a ticket to go.
The tickets were for the dress rehearsal though, which initially made me think Phish wouldn't even play. But I was wrong. The dress rehearsal is everything the real show is, and more. It is put on from around 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., so thirty minutes longer than the regular SNL. They perform more then the required scenes and use our reactions to determine which they will perform at 11:30 p.m. Phish also had to play the same songs as they would for the live broadcast.
I arrived in the city by train and took a cab to NBC studios. I arrived and, due to the heightened security from 9/11, I had to have an ID card made especially for me. I was waiting even more anxiously in the lobby than I had been for that week to find out about the tickets.
This was it, I was about to see Phish for the first time that the public had seen them in years. Finally, a representative came down and opened a small steel box with a bunch of envelopes with names on them. When I got mine I went right up the elevator and towards the studio. There were a good amount of people with me but hardly any were anxious for Phish like I was. Mostly businessmen who were taking their wives out for this and then dinner. It was a long wait in the hallway in front of studio 8H, but well worth it.
When they came on to play “46 Days”, I was pumped. Not much crowd energy like at a typical Phish show that I have been to since that fateful December night, but it was still great. Phish rocked and then they went off after one song and I was itching for more. About forty five minutes later they came right back with “Chalk Dust Torture”, one of my favorites. They jammed it out a little but they had to fill a relatively small time spot. I can say this though, I taped the live broadcast and compared Phish's performance that I saw in the rehearsal to that and ours was longer and better, in my opinion. They weren’t on a major deadline with us; they had to keep it short, but had some leg room. The show ended shortly after “Chalk Dust” and everyone came out on the main stage to wave to the cameras and say goodbye. It was nice seeing the band interact as themselves with the SNL actors. Overall, the night was great. It was like our own private show. Me and not more than maybe 200 other people got to witness a miracle. Phish was back, and here to stay.