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. MrCompletely Says:

    Does Jason Crosby not sing?

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    8/10/97 Cities♡♡♡ im in. Just put it on the phones.

    Maybe Mayo should quit playing guitar and lead sing for Herring.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Maybe there should be two top 10 lists. One for pre break up and one for post.

    @Miner- top 10 3.0 jams go:

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    Too late, we’re doing this thing. Let the 3.0 fans represent

    Put em in a field and

    Let em fight it out!

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    That cities 4 lyphe Case, that whole set.

    12/9/97 Simple following it up, great day starter.
    Just got to 18:30 in the jam.

    Trey had a breezy rhythm going on guitar, kind of light and funky, grooving in Major. Felt like the jam was winding down.
    Then @18:30, trey keeps playin the same rhythm but switches to minor.
    So sweet, way proper Rhodes lines in respone from Page. (And the groove is on!)

    @22:22 ! The loops! The synths! Yesssssss

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    Word C , get down to the nitty gritty.

  7. Joe Says:

  8. re.kus Says:

    silent jam from 22 years ago is hella lit

  9. realoutcasty Says:

    don’t think Miner is a fan of differentiating best jams between eras… per recent twitter convo.

    top 10 3.0 in no particular order
    Dicks Light ’12
    Detroit Disease ’11
    Dicks Carini ’17
    Randall Chalkdust ’14
    Mann Twist ’15
    Tahoe Tweez ’13
    Gorge RnR ’11
    Magna Tweezer>Caspian>TWEEZER ’15
    Vegas Golden Age ’16
    Chicago Simple ’17

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    He also specifically disbelieves in exact rankings. As do i. That’s what makes it fun

  11. Joe Says:

    It’s an impossible exercise if taken seriously but fun for a way to come up with a bb top 10

  12. Sally Says:

    Happy Caturday! Gonna be a lazy one for me after getting tiery with our favorite bear and our ever expanding SD crew last night. An afternoon surf session, take out, and annual ELF viewing in my near future. Getting excited for couch terr!! I can’t rank either, top 30-40 BB GOAT playlist sounds good to me.

    Lumpy-go get a bear hug tonight!

  13. little umbrellas Says:

    ^that’s actually a fantastic list of 3.0 jams.

    I love the lists cause it provides me with gems of listening experiences.
    The hierarchy doesnt have any hold on me or meaning.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    Someone has to be champion. That’s how art works.

  15. Sally Says:

    I’m starting to research chomper cribs for 2nd weekend of Jazz Fest, lmk if anyone is interested

  16. little umbrellas Says:


  17. little umbrellas Says:

    dear god Sally I might need to get on that. suddenly just seemed like a great idea. get ms painting lady to come out from Roswell too. we’ll all hang in Kev’s marsupial pouch of good vibes.

  18. Sally Says:

    The more the merrier, bigger, cheaper. Would love to do Fest with you guys 🙂

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    The distillation of agreed enjoyment. thats whats bomb about the rankings.

    it’s like you can’t bring someone else to nirvana, they have to get there for themselves. and here’s all these moments that have brought people there.
    Like enough people that that at a certain point the moments become figureheads in the music’s history.

    love seeing you guys there. cheers to miner for this place. wish i was gonna be at MSG.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    *** JF18 ***
    return of the bear.

    but he’s like a golden bear now. super sayan’d.

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    Emerald Cup just got talked about on NPR before Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
    was talked about as the Academy Awards of the industry, and that people were gonna be uniquely placed in the new year with the quality genetics they’ll get.


  22. theBaker Says:

    Just get AMONGST THE PEALS OF LAUGHTER on That LIST & watch IT RiseUp!

    Happy Saturday BB!!


  23. bobby weird Says:

    what i wanna know is who is going to make the playlist of the entire spreadsheet?

  24. bobby weird Says:

    ah shite, the Queen beat me to it ^.

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    Method Man on today’s Wait Wait. He’s got an ugly chritmas sweater line now.

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