Written by a fan named Traci

A warning to those of you about to read this, I went a little over board.
Okay, I went REALLY overboard. It's melodramatic, but so were all the
events surrounding this trip. So if you don't like the tone, bite me and
hit the delete key.

I had a dream, I had an awesome dream. I was in the Ed for Dave's comeback
show, front row and cheering madly. That was last Sunday night. I had no
idea that dream would actually come true.

Monday 2/14/00

Unbeknownst to me, Renee has put the ball in motion to obtain tickets for
Friday's taping. In the mean time, I'm frantically trying to get a set of
tix myself that day with a postcard I received (and validated) the day of
Dave's surgery. My efforts are promising, but I'm still unsure whether I'm
in or not.

Tuesday 2/15/00

A harrowing day of waiting and wondering. Then, late that evening the
confirmation came, I was in. And even bigger news, Renee had pulled off a
major miracle. She had gotten nine, yes nine, tickets for afl folks. While
I won't go into the details of how she acquired the tickets just let me say
there was a lot of pleading, begging, cajoling and a list of other feats I can't
mention here. Her contact did us an incredible favor because he realized our
devotion to Dave and the show. I can't thank either of them enough.

Wednesday 2/16/00

By morning, the list of folks going is set. It was a fast and furious
process since we had to have the group names into the show by Wednesday to
secure our places. Most of us were local or at least on the East Coast.
Renee, Kate (Pepsi), and Karen were in the city, Brad was coming from
Princeton, Marilyn and her Hubby, Richard were driving in from CT, I was
driving up from Norfolk (yes, that's right kids, I've left the Hoosierland)
then swinging by to pick up Nick (CyberGolem) in the DC area and our last
member, Mark, was taking the red-eye from LA to make the Friday show. We
all had our routes planned and were confident we would get there on time.

Then the weather reports started to come in........

Ice, snow, rain, and wintery mix from the mid-atlantic to upstate New York.
Yikes! The driving plan was scrapped and a frantic search for Amtrak
tickets ensued for me and Nick Wednesday night. For a brief moment I felt
the show slipping out of my reach, but I collected myself and got the
transportation booked.

Thursday 2/17/00

In order to beat the nasty weather I head up to DC Thursday night. I bribe
my way into Nick's place with a 6-pack of Corona and a couple of granola
bars. Nick has a great idea for a sign to welcome Dave back and we set to
work on it. Several hours and several empties later we've managed to
complete the thing and not coat the entire apartment with paint. I crash on
the couch for a couple of hours then it's to the train at 7:30am.

Friday 2/18/00

After a blissfully uneventful train ride we arrive at Penn Station around
11:30 am. I'm dying for lunch and convince Nick to head into Chinatown for
the best soup dumplings in the universe. I won't go into the gory details
of the next couple of hours, but let's just say I'm lucky to be alive after
dragging Nick through the slushy streets of the financial district in a
blizzard. Oh, well, the dumplings were worth it.

We meet up with Renee and Mark at Joe G's by 2:00pm. Mark had a long
flight, but thankfully made it through the weather to meet us. At this
point, it's beginning to sink in that I'm finally in NYC and just a few
hours from Dave's big night. Kate and Karen stroll in and try to warm up a
bit. We all take turns standing in the ticket line in the miserable
weather. I gotta say, there is no one else on the face of the planet I
would go to such lengths for except Dave.  As the time ticked slowly by,
the excitement in our little group became palpable. So did the concern,
though. Three of our group aren't there by the time we check in. Renee
works the audience staff to make sure Brad, Marilyn and Richard will get in
and sit with the rest of us. In the meantime, Karen and I are about to
hyperventilate from the excitement. I wish I could find the words to
express just how amazing a feeling it was being there, knowing we will get
to see Dave and participate in this incredible show.

We check in with the pages and get those special dots we had so desired.
I'm out of my mind with joy by this point. I'm nearly jumping up and down
and I'm seriously concerned I'm going to make a complete fool of myself
before the afternoon is up. At least I had good company to freak out with!

We get our instructions and are hustled out of the Ed. I notice that even
the pages are about as happy as the rest of us. They quickly take care of
everyone and make all of us feel very welcome. It was a rough day for them
and they handled it brilliantly.

As we waited under the marquee, Brad runs up and gets signed in, but comes
out dotless. Karen takes him back in and manhandles a dot out of the page.
We're still without Marilyn and Richard, though, and time is starting to
run out.

We head back to Joe G's to warm up again and wait until we have to line up
to get seated. A few calls to Marilyn and Richard confirm the worst. They
are creeping along in a traffic jam outside the city and aren't sure they
will make the 4:30 deadline. We call Kathie as well and do our best to
convey our feelings to her in San Fran. She's as excited as we are and we
take her along with us in spirit. Renee goes back into the theater once
again and desperately pleads Marilyn and Richard's case. The news isn't
good. They can't hold the seats and only say for them to check in and see
if anything is available.

We line up in the rain and sleet once again grouped under about five
umbrellas. It was quite a site considering our heights ranged from 5'2" to
6'7". It's a wonder any of us stayed dry.

At the last possible moment, Marilyn and Richard's Suburban roars up in
front of the theater. Marilyn tumbles out with her ‘Welcome Back Regis'
umbrella, grabs her letter from Renee and bolts into the theater to get her
ticket. Richard drives on to park the car and we hope we see him again
before the end of the night.

Then in a week filled with miracles, yet another one happens. Not only does
Marilyn get her ticket, she gets a dot as well and is able to sit with the
rest of us. We file in off the street, still without Richard, and line up
in the lobby. Within moments, Richard is standing right behind us. The
audience staff took pity on him and let him in. Talk about going above and
beyond the call of duty. On a day of chaos and confusion the audience staff
accommodated us to the utmost. Thanks a lot you guys, we'll never be able
to repay you.

Now we are really getting psyched. I didn't think it was possible for our
excitement to increase anymore, but we turned it up another notch as we got
the final instructions for those of us sitting in the front. There was
lots of hooting and hollering from us as we waited to be escorted in. My
head was swimming and it was all I could do not to pass out. I was trying
my best to grasp the fact that I was really there. I was going to see
Dave's comeback. I'm not sure I even breathed again until the show started.
Nick tried to convince a page to let us all hold up the sign we made, but
no luck. We'd have to figure out another way to get it seen. Marilyn showed
off her umbrella with the ‘Welcome Back Regis' message much to the delight
of the others in the lobby, but not the pages. She quickly assured them she
would not be opening the thing during the show.

We were escorted to the front two rows in the center section of the
theater. During the pre show and the monologue we would be less than 10
feet from Dave. I silently willed myself NOT to run up and give Dave a hug
when he came out. If you're looking at the audience from the stage we line
up this way; Renee, Kate, Marilyn, Richard, Karen, me and Brad. Mark and
Nick are in the front row directly in front of me and Karen. I'm still not
sure how that happened since both of them were behind me and Brad. At least
Nick had leg room and a place to dry out his shoes.

The feeling in the theater was euphoric. From the stage hands buffing the
floor to the folks in the audience, everyone was smiling and happy. The
band played with a conviction I'd never heard before and the audience was
rocking even before Dave came out. Eddie Brill was beaming as he delivered
his audience instructions and was obviously happy to be back in the warm up
spot. I glanced at my watch and noticed it was past 5:30. The band was
taking some extra solos and killing time. Why the delay I don't know, but
it was nerve wracking as hell.

Then it was time, Eddie announced Dave and he came running out onto the
stage. He looked fit, tan and healthy with no beard and short hair. The
audience exploded. I've never heard an ovation like that in my life. I
believe we literally blew the roof off the joint.

Dave made a comment to a group of folks in the front row and began to try
and settle us down. After the applause subsided his first words were,
"There's nothing like a phony standing ovation." We went up again.

He came over and leaned on the camera in front of us, banged the mike on
the it and said, "How many of you showed up tonight just to see me drop
dead?" That of course got a big laugh and a big cheer. Dave seemed
genuinely amused at the response and laughed heartily. He took no questions
and asked all of us to indulge him during the show while he thanked his
medical team. I could see Corky counting down and the band kicked in the
opening theme. Dave grabbed his jacket and disappeared off stage.

In the seven times I have been to the show, I have never seen Dave connect
with the audience during the pre show like he did Friday. That night he
seemed to really need to reach out to us, to connect to our energy. He
looked a bit nervous and I can imagine his emotions were running high. It
was a unique and special moment and I will be forever grateful I was a part
of it.

The rest you'll have to wait until tomorrow after the show. I don't want to
spoil the fun for those of you getting ready to watch. Just make sure to
fire up that VCR.


Privacy Policy
. .