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.

Tags: , ,

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

  1. dorn76 Says:

    You are all on my spreadsheet of people that make me happy.

    Thanks for letting me back before the link is ready. I need this.

  2. phishm Says:

    JRAD stream

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    How much time do I have to refresh my brain by relistening to my contenders? 5 days? 6 days? 7 days? Why rank on a sunny day? So much to do, so why why rank? On a sunny day, why oh why rank? Hey! Ser tho. Deadline?

  4. jdub Says:

    Plenty of time to weigh i would think. No rush

  5. jonacho Says:

    Denver Ghost
    RCMH Ghost
    CCCC Halleys
    12/30/97 Bag
    Island Twist
    Riverport Gin
    Denver 97 Tweezer
    Vegas Wolfmans
    Cypress Disease
    Albany YEM

    in no order. Tha denver tweezer gets overlooked and needs more love

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    I think all these jams getting listed is always one of my fav things on the BB.

    Basically makes my life a lot better.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    BB digs deep too. Quad Halleys is not well known. We are more smarter than other boards.

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Prague Ghost is like, pure hose. Really love Mind Left Tweezer from UIC 94 too. I like talkin bout rankin more than rankin. More than Franken likes spankin.

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    Serious tho, so many great jams y’all have mentioned that i haven’t heard yet.

    So much phish to behold.

  10. joe Says:

    My favorite is definitely whatever I’m listening to at the time.

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Who put Magna Drive In as a jam? If Stoney wasn’t at the Cup he’d be puttin in that Hourglass Jam. We need rulings here!

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    my top ten varies, i think, from Phish’s top ten jams they’ve ever hard (and hence a question of how to approach). Like there’s some shorter dark and funky ones that i like listening to more then their longest happy bliss jams.

  13. phishm Says:

    Not a single mention of that Chicago -7 from 2003. Sure I could add it but how can I be sure it’s in my top 10?

  14. Sex&City Says:

    Anyone watching Big Mouth on Netflix. If you like raunchy over the top sexual humor… it’s tits

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    True LU. I’m trying to stay neutral. While this year’s SASS from Chicago is easily a top 10 in house experience and damn great, it’s not Top 10 Evar music wise. I’ll check out that 7 Below, Phishm. Is the Cincy Melt from 03 too?

  16. phishm Says:

    JRAD playing a hell of a set. Not a top 10 or anything. Quite fun however. Like an ever evolving sound that goes with the flow. Love it when they do that.

  17. dorn76 Says:

    Can someone hit me with the current top 10. Need it for a Friday night jawn

  18. Arty Rankin Says:


  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Puffin out back behind the Warfield waiting for Jimmy and John, Phil Lesh pulls up and walks past us.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    oh no hurry. we can leave it up through New Years easy.

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    I think you should feel free to vote on any basis you want, just be subjective, and not worry about trying to imagine what “objective” is. If we get enough people doing it the cream will rise to the top right? It’s better to have more people just taking a swing at it than it is to have just a few people who have agonized over getting it exactly right, whatever that is…

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    Phil coming for the Mahavishnu!

    They should play King Solomon’s for Lu tonight

  23. phishm Says:

    I just want to know what Bingos thought of that seven below.

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    Sure dorn with 2.1 votes tallied your top 10 playlist is currently:

    Palace Tweezer – 12/6/97 13.00
    Riverport Gin – 7/29/99 10.00
    Hampton Halley’s – 11/22/97 10.00
    ChulaJuana Boogie On 9-18-99 10.00
    Denver Undermind 8-31-12 9.00
    Providence Bowie – 12/29/94 8.00
    Fukuoka Twist – 6/14/00 7.00
    Cypress Drowned > AM reprise 12/31/99 7.00
    Cypress DWD – 12/31/99 6.00
    Dick’s Light – 9/1/12 5.00

    so you are legally obligated to listen to that whether or not you voted. might as well exerise your franchise

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    the Cinci Melt is from 99 Bingos

    Seven Below was great in 2003. The Gorge one is another doozy

Leave a Reply