The Palace Tweezer—Twenty Years Later

My Actual Ticket Stub—12.6.97

Twenty years later and I can still remember everything about that night—where I was, who I was with, what I was wearing. They say that live music can change your life, and that is exactly what happened to me on the sixth of December in 1997. On this night, something momentous happened. A piece of music harnessed from the outer realms of the universe came down through the instruments of a band from Vermont and transformed The Palace of Auburn Hills into a place of worship. On this night, we received “The Palace Tweezer.”

This jam is hands down, far and away, my favorite piece of music ever created by mankind. And it’s not even close. The Palace Tweezer has it all—the grimiest, subliminally connected funk grooves, a passage of ascension into spiritual realms of sound and soul, and an indescribable section of musical wizardry that I suspect was the soundtrack of the universe’s creation. The entire piece unfolds like poetry without a moment of hesitation, as if the music already existed—perfectly composed—and the band just allowed it to come through them. It seems impossible that a piece of improvised music so immaculate, so powerful, and so utterly dynamic could be generated by human beings on the fly.

I cannot begin to guess how many times I have listened to this jam over the past twenty years, but it sounds every bit as good today as it did when I got the analog copy sometime after tour. It has not lost a drop of freshness or power. The Palace Tweezer is a part of the fabric of my existence. Though I know the piece by heart, the feelings it produces on each and every listen are no less stirring than on the day I heard it.

Though Phish crafted so many sections of “funk” that fall, none approach the nuanced, four-minded mastery on display in this jam. The band members finish each other’s musical sentences, speaking as one entity rather than individual musicians. These grooves have a life of their own—locked in doesn’t begin to describe it.

The band gradually and ever so smoothly builds from these opening dance rhythms into a section of improvisation that opens a wormhole in space-time, allowing the music—and the Palace—to slip into an alternate dimension. This passage gives me chills every time I listen to it. Literally. Every time. Trey hits a lick in here that elevates the possibilities of the entire jam, and the band is right with him. From this point forward in the jam, words fail me. The music is beyond linguistic expression—a deeper magic from before the dawn of time.

I truly believe that the band communed with the divine while playing this jam. It is not far fetched, as we are all individual manifestations of the one divine energy of the universe. We are the universe awakening to itself and expressing itself as human beings for a short blip of time. Life is but a process of remembering not who we are, but what we are. Yet, because we are in human form, we are not in always in touch with this higher truth. But on that Saturday night in December, twenty years ago, Phish was not only in touch with it, they channelled this truth through music, through themselves and, subsequently, through everyone in the room.

It is this process that makes transcendent Phish jams such incomparably powerful experiences. This is the reason we keep going back—to remember and experience our truth. The Palace Tweezer is the greatest expression of my personal truth that I have ever heard. It is primordial music, an oracle of the infinite, telling a story of our past, present and future all at once.

Today—twenty years later—I will listen to the The Palace Tweezer again, and I will smile with awe and wonder, just as I did when the lights came on, oh so long ago.

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9,676 Responses to “The Palace Tweezer—Twenty Years Later”

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  1. jdub Says:

    Nice one Miner. I concur, i bathed in that tweezer last night. It’s as if Trey violates your soul. I never feel the same after listening to the Palace Tweezer.

  2. Al Says:

    Thank you, Miner! I’ll spin that one again today.

  3. Diego Says:

    straight filthy

  4. Joe Says:

    Love it

  5. little umbrellas Says:


  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

  7. phlorida phan Says:


    Love it Miner…..thanks again.

    T3 link is a must see!

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Chest bump @Miner

  9. halcyon Says:

    Palace Tweezer commencing in 3…..2…..1…..

    Oh and morning all….been a while….work life and etc in my way of kicking it in the BB lounge….

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    “…and an indescribable section of musical wizardry that I suspect was the soundtrack of the universe’s creation”

    ^the best…Love ya Miner. thanks.

  11. halcyon Says:

    Don’t know if this was posted yet, but here it is again, with the spotify link.

  12. Snigglebeach Says:

    Where is the best streaming audio for me to listen to this today?? Thanx.

    Gonna be 20 year reunion of island tour soon and my first show. So crazy.

  13. phishm Says:

    Stoked to give this show my full attention once released from the cube. Great piece Miner.

  14. Sally Says:

    What a nice surprise, cheers and thanks for the thoughts Miner-commencing listen now! I’m grateful I made that weekend happen so many years ago, definitely the formulative years. The 1998 and so on 20YL deep dives are going to be fum too!

    Vibes to LA, scary stuff…so far so good in San Diego

    Dark Star on deck too

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Moyo Denver Earthless-less?! Bunk.

  16. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Nice man! 20 years later, it’s been a trip trying to recall and differentiate show memories from each other. For me, lots of it blends together. I’ve come to revere this tweezer too, but, in all honesty, can’t say it left much of a mark in the moment. But then EVERYONE was talking about it on tour and the tapes (which were excellent) confirmed its status. That Piper too! I remember Dayton, Cleve, PSU, Denver, Champaign like they were yesterday. I’ve got nothing (or next to nothing) on Hampton, Auburn, or WS. Skipping Hartford, Worcester, and Philly was a mistake- I’m pretty clear on that.

    Alf deep in the Izabella funk jam is pretty great.

  17. vapebraham Says:

    Thanks, Miner. Inspirational stuff. Gonna spin 12.6.97 from the top in a minute.

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Just spun again for 1st time in a long time. Pharmaceutical grade.

    Garcia Senor Miner!

  19. vapebraham Says:

    10.14.16 DwD – $$$. low guitar, slow metal plex jam. killer guitar and bass. monster drum fills.

  20. halcyon Says:

    The entire set 2 of 12-6-97 is so fun. I love the segue into Izabella. Had a tape of this show which didn’t leave my walkman that winter.

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    Nice one Miner. I concur, i bathed in that tweezer last night. It’s as if Trey violates your soul. I never feel the same after listening to the Palace Tweezer.

    ^ I find it to be more of an elevating experience more than a violating one 😉 lol

  22. dorn76 Says:

    I also remember getting this tape and wearing it tf out.

  23. re.kus Says:

    Thank for the words, Miner. I know I blasted the XLII til it basically came unraveled. And for keeping the lights on on here. This place is magic, love and light to all.

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Jdub is our S&M guy. Kid knows how to party.

    Nice to see you back, Miner!! Maybe stimulate some action up in here before the MSG run.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    Miner. Still the best in the biz when he wants to be. Third to last paragraph is getting into the real nitty gritty.

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