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”

  1. vapebraham Says:

    i can’t begin to start rankin 1.0 jahms. I’m w/ sumo, still absorbing donuts.

  2. vapebraham Says:

    and jerry music.

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    I’m really curious to see how many people can actually do an ordered list of 10. it’s quite tricky

  4. vapebraham Says:

    there is the shower
    like a solitary flower
    standing in the glow
    as the drain waits below
    and you’re walking on the ledge
    throwing soap suds off the edge
    as you sing in voice so clear
    and my name I think I hear
    concealed within the theme
    then it disappears as steam

    and I’m standing as you flow
    watching friends you seem to know
    as your voice still carries on
    in your never-ending song
    and my tea begins to boil
    and my hash melts into oil
    hissing liquid in the pot
    as my body tingles a lot
    and a ripple sends a beam
    of sunlight dancing through the steam

    my now unfettered soul
    has direction I control
    to your shower I draw near
    but do I see a case of beer?
    the approaching sound of friends
    now flattens all the bends
    you briefly watch the friendship glide
    then you quickly run outside
    your friends’ smiles gleam
    while the shower gently steams

    I hear you singing through the steam

  5. vapebraham Says:

    ^^ rewrote some of Steam as a happy, Sesame street style vibed tune.

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Let me read back and tell you, why your opinion is wrong.

    No, not you, YOU!

  7. vapebraham Says:

    well, sesame street if oscar was dabbing in his can.

  8. jdub Says:

    You’re wrong pham b, it won’t get like that

  9. lumpyhead Says:

    30th secured.

  10. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Jams? Did someone say jams?

  11. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Denver Ghost
    Rcmh ghost
    Cccc Halleys
    Nassau Roses
    Riverport Gin
    Cypress Disease
    Went Gin
    Albany Yem
    Fukuoka Twist
    Palace Tweezer

  12. vapebraham Says:

    palms! you’ve been laying especially low. perhaps you didn’t want to come round and possibly see this:


  13. MrCompletely Says:


    just add em to the spreadsheet if they’re missing (just the YEM I think) and vote!

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    if no one else votes, ROC and I will just get to determine the canonical top 10 best ever and the rest of you will have to suck it and go along forever


    very srs bzns

  15. jdub Says:

    C, I cant sign into the spreadsheet. It says I need permission.

  16. MrCompletely Says:


    try again maybe off this link which may or may not be the same or different?

    it’s set to maximum share-iness

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    there is 1 row and 1 column that are protected just to keep the formulas from getting fucked up, the rest should be a free for all

  18. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    ChulaJauna Boogie On

    Desert Sky Antelope

    Are we breaking out ghosts from a drop intro versus the loopy slide intro?

  19. jdub Says:

    ah, I am in now. switched computers.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    just add em to the list on the sheet and do it up phamdawg

    I figure if anyone adds something that’s too off brand for the format it won’t get any votes so it’ll be harmless right? no need to pregame it or overthink it, just get in there and get rankin’

  21. jdub Says:

    I dunno if this has turned into a joke or not but damn, it is nearly impossible for me to come up with my 10 top jams. Laughing all the way home.

  22. realoutcasty Says:

    I almost have my list dialed. I’ll input tonight. I feel good about this

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    I know jdub. it really is absurd when you force yourself to actually come to grips with it. but that’s the fun

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    Good ol Arty stays relentlessly on brand by being the first to complete his picks. Strong opening salvo by Arty. Good style diversity but no 3.0

  25. dorn76 Says:

    Seeing you people so happy makes me happy. It’s hard to even troll your adorably obsessive devotion to these sorts of things. Swoon

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