“What?  You’re going to Saturday Night Live!  You’re going for Phoenix.  Wow.  That’s so mythic!”

So this all was just a little stroke of luck for me, an invitation thrown out there between a couple glasses of wine and a Dalida song.  Pierre has to follow the group around for les Inrocks magazine.  We’ll be in New York at the same time.  Why not?

It wasn’t until I got to Rockefeller Center Saturday afternoon that I quite understood just how phenomenal this was.  As soon as you get to the 8th floor, you’re not entering into a television studio, no, you’re entering into legend.

Everything’s mythic.  From the stage to the dressing rooms, all the way to the toilets, or to a few hours later when I found myself face to face with Ed Norton.

Le big hug by Phoenix

I don’t think I could ever quite grasp the vertigo that the guys in Phoenix must feel.  This is SNL, this is one of the biggest things that could happen to a band.  More than ten million viewers at home, America right in front of you, a dream à la Johnny Hallyday*, but actually come true.

So when I get there with Pierre, we’re just like kids.  And there we were, exploring in every direction to see everything we could.  The studio, the costumes, the actors, the crüe, the dining hall.  Crazy world, tiny little studios and apparently no one in charge directing all this.  Just the feeling of a well oiled machine, smiling, more proud than anything and happy as can be to be working there.

As for Phoenix?  Hmm…. Simple as this: after 10 minutes, I got the impression I was part of the band.  These guys are such angels.

It wasn’t until the moment came, glass in one hand, cookie in the other, totally at ease with life and joking around with I don’t know who, that I saw Thomas starting to take of his t-shirt that I thought that maybe, just maybe, I was in a little too far.

Over in the dressing rooms, it’s gets a little surrealist on me.  It’s like a hive.  Mostly everyone is running around working.  Everyone else is there for the party.  You know, all the others… the others like… Edward Norton.  Oh my god, Edward Harrison Norton.  I’m going to have a heart-attack.  Okay, turn around… Breathe.

And right when I turn, I’m right facing a big smile.  Merde.  It’s Renée Zellweger.  When you get up this big in terms of hollywood stardom, I just have no idea what to do.  And as when I get nervous I just start talking non-stop about the most random stuff, and so I go ahead and start talking to her.  And Renée, well, she talks right back at me.  Wow.  Phew. Whoa!

Pierre, oh Pierre, he’s cool as ever.  But it’s a little crazy to be this cool.  Pierre, Dammit Pierre!  ED NORTON IS RIGHT NEXT TO YOU!!!  Whoa!  Wake up!!!

But Pierre, he doesn’t care.  He’s got his mission, and that’s to bring back Andy Samberg’s autograph for Diane, who, on the other side of the atlantic, is a second away from sacrificing herself into a text message she wants to be here so bad.

Doors open, public enters, dressing rooms close.  Chris, Thomas, Deck, Branco, Rob and the others hide out in their dressing rooms.  And then five minutes before it all starts, everyone comes out again for the most amazing pre-show ritual, somewhere between dance, jam session, fight scene and superstition, we’re talking climbing up walls here.  To watch it is pretty darn cool.  And it all ends with a group hug and then they’re off.

Wow.  They jump up on the stage and do their thing.  I have a moment of emotional overload, and i’m jumping in all directions just like… Renée, who is letting out cries of joy.  She just loves it loves it loves it loves it.

It’s just crazy, it has the most surrealectrical energy to it and it all ends with a party.  Everyone’s laughing, singing, clapping and big group hugging.

I’m there too, hugging everyone, even Renée, but not Ed, (Personal message: Ed, if you’re hearing me, you don’t know what you were missing.)(Me, yes.)(… I know exactly what I was missing.) And then everyone herds into car after car to go to the mythic after party of mythic Saturday Night Live with the mythic members of Phoenix with the overly mythic Pierre with Diane always mythically direct from Paris on her phone.

Except me.  It’s how tired I am; that’s what mythic.  And on top of that, too many emotions.  It’s three in the morning.  Yeah.  That’s enough.  I ask the chauffeur to make a quick detour to my place.  I get inside and crawl under the covers, jet lagged to death.  I drift away hearing a distant siren…. Wow, Johnny.  America.

Translation : Tim Padraic Sullivan

*Translator’s note: Johnny Hallyday is a French singer and actor who is just crazy about America.