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. theBaker Says:

    Trickle-UP JAManomics!

  2. phishm Says:

    I tried to thumb up your comment Baker. Forgot which site I was on. My bad.

  3. BooVT Says:

    Mexico Disease might make my top 10. I haven’t seen it mentioned. But you guys are way more well versed in this than I am. Fun to follow along and learn. One of the reasons I love this place.

  4. dorn76 Says:

    Having read nothing any of u people have said I will say right now you are all motherfuckin crazy for not including more 3.0 in your holier than thous.

  5. dorn76 Says:

    Facts kids

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    fun show, was in the red light (top balcony) at the Warfield, but snuck onto the floor and was leaning up on the stage by the end. saw Phil again and ordered a drink, .. just enjoying just catching insane jazz fusion sitting next to Phil.

    crazy epic show. warfield was rippin, 9 piece Mahavishnu material was fun to behold. i dug the Herring set too.

  7. ae Says:

    love the old school review.

  8. ae Says:

    i ranked.

    i added 4 at the bottom, needed them. tricky game.

  9. gavinsdad Says:

    I will rank but damn this is hard!

    Generally I stack mlt 99 star lake
    Prov Bowie
    Amsterdam stash

    Up there and for tweez I gotta cage match
    12/16/99 Raleigh Tweezer
    6/24/00 atl Tweezer
    One more time

    I like one rando so much but it’s not a consensus pick
    12/3/99 limb

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    Spac 04 Piper
    Alpine 99 fluff

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    I’m dicks 12 light over undermind by a hair and yet one minor quibble. Trey sets this one loop that is abrasive to my ear. I’ll call out a time.

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    There’s 10 jams from Fall 97 alone that crush any 3.0. Please stop

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    JK. Up ready for the cup. Need a space heater. But otherwise looking good!

    None of my Cali peeps coming? So lame. Mitch. Jesse. Butter. Jon. Etc. Bunch of lames. You’d all be here if Mayer or Twiddle was here.

  14. voopa Says:

    Lame checking in.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    ^bwahhaa! Case. Id rather give ‘Twiddle & Mayo’ handies behind the middle school dumpster then hang out with you puffing the finest cheeba known to man.

    Mr Brown was the one who took me to the Warfield today and is in town with a booth at the Emerald Cup, he offered me a pass.

    Love ya buddy, i travel too much. So amped to not have something that needs to happen today.

    (I might end up coming up tho 😉 )

  16. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Fum was had w/ the Queen in the Whale’s Vag. She chomped. & boogied.

    lumpster #ExpectMe

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    This is coming along nicely

    Umbrellas, that Herring band should get out there on the ham band circuit, right? They opened our set with some Miles, then shredded ABB and Traffic tunes and like 4 song that sounded ARU-ish among unknown material of varying quality

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    Case i brought my 9 piece band, suits and vintage amps and all, up to that Arcata Canni fest, and you didnt manage to leave your booth and walk 60 feet over to the inside of the whs to catch us.

    Check. Your move.

    (^i keed, i keed. Tactics. Love ya.)

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    ^nice sum up C. Agreed. Was good stuff. Miles tune.. did you get On The Corner? Closed the set with that one.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    Stoney, don’t complain, just add em and rank em

    Non voters lose bitching rights. Bernie can’t save you here

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    C i think usually jamband custies need vocals to stay fully engaged after awhile.

    If they added some ‘celebrity jam band voice’ (-is that a thing actually?).. it’d probably help with tickets sales.

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    No something from Bitches I think. I’m terrible with instrumental track names, only know about half that material by name

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    True. I just wanna get em out there to troll JCHAD honestly. They do the same tricks but better. It’s worth remembering Jimmy is actually a ridiculous player when he’s not stuck playing southern blues rock. He’s really into that volume knob/pedal (which is it?) fine note-shaping control early in his solos. Good shit

  24. little umbrellas Says:

    Def had some volume swell licks.

    Herring is nutso at guitar. And can shape a nice melody too. Not all technique, a musical player too.

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    True. LilUmb One up on me. Damn!

    Lots of 3.0 gold.

    You’re all fired for missing

    8/10/97 cities now go back to ranking CRB shows

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