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:

    spun 12.6.97 Golgi, Lope, Train Song, Tweezer. too good. so intense. definitely felt that in the zone, portal opening transcendent feel. 16 mins in gets intense. went back to shufflin the Hard drive after that. drop the mic.

  2. Doc pro Says:

    Awesome to read your take, Miner
    Happy 20th to a transcendent experience

  3. realoutcasty Says:

    willowed was the S&M fiend @dorn

    woohoo! perfect way to start the Palace Tweez. Thanks Miner!

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    John Mayo with the emergency appendectomy.

    (When you go to jambase to read today’s fall 97 article and you learn something about Dead&Bro.)

    ^been there. No appendix here, move along folks.

  5. jtran Says:

    Awesome writeup Miner. Love it.

  6. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    passionate review, miner. dig it. thanks for your perspective, as always. it is a beauty of a jam.

  7. theBaker Says:

    “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.“

    Thank Ewe Mister Miner!
    I’ll be flying OVER the Palace (if’N IT’s not DEMO’d) in Forbin hours!!
    *gonna be cold, Cold, COLD weigh-up above the Earth!!!

  8. JBL Says:

    I was dirt poor in late 97 having maxed out credit cards seeing the Dead and Phish in the early nineties. No money to travel to see any shows (I lived in Chicago). I have a late November B-day and my newish girlfriend (my wife now) asked me what I wanted. I said I wanted to catch one Phish show on the tour. That turned out to be 12/6. We had crappy tix, Fish side, way high, sitting in back of a bunch of teenage girls who literally slept through the whole second set. It was roughly my 20th show and I had seen a few doozies (8/13/93, 8/14/93, 6/17/94, 6/18/94, 6/20/95, 10/31/95 front row), but I still remember thinking that Phish had really figured IT out at this show. From the Antelope, I knew that the shit was REAL. I could never speak about the Tweezer (or second set) as eloquently as Miner, but he is spot on. Listened to it again today for the first time in quite a while while driving down the highway at full blast and I was grinning ear to ear. Just a magical night and tour.

  9. Darth Vaper Says:

    Great write up. Gonna respin this magical beast today.

  10. jdub Says:

    Miner, i have trust issues, so when Trey opens me up like he does during the Palace Tweeze, i feel.violated. makes me confused and nervous, like what i am i supposed to do with these emotions. Plus, i was watching the Palace video and seeing Trey wack off his guitar (he literally does this) elevated my violation.

  11. jdub Says:

    Dorn, willowed likes the peanut butter i just went along for the ride.

  12. dorn76 Says:

    You’re a minx Jdoobie.

  13. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    love that $23.50 on the ticket stub. shit, that is like $35.00 in 2017 money. now i have to sell plasma to catch a couple shows of the new year’s run. ha!

  14. phishm Says:

    Spafford listening party if anyone happens to be bored and/or would like to listen to good music with good folk.

  15. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Follow up to an earlier conversation- new Forsyth is pretty damn good.

    Spafford playing Bellingham in March! I’m out of excuses and will be hamblanding at a medium pace. Liking this current jam, phishm. Somebody on the cuts?

  16. phishm Says:

    Kind of an older show. 12/31/14. Sounds ok. Not nearly where they’re at now. They also have a new drummer since this show. Still fun to get down to.

  17. realoutcasty Says:

    new Forsyth is killer. with ya Vegas

  18. vapebraham Says:



  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @Mr C, i’m still trying to guess what jam you said you’re afraid to admit is overrated, like 7 years ago

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    My favourite part of this tweezer is the end of izabella


    No one calls this the tit show?

  21. wilbard Says:

    Nice read Miner. My spin of the Palace Tweezer will be followed by the Cleveland Dark Star of 12/6/73. Some special music has happened on this date.

  22. vapebraham Says:

    need some avant garde jazz:

    Cline, cleaver, ochs. coming to ardmore tomorrow night.

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    Bag jam, msg 97 ☆

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    Spun three times today. Even bought the soundboard. Maybe that Night ultimately inspired this site. Pretty cool.

    Rec for Good series on Netflix or Amazon prime?
    Just finished season 1&2 of Mr Robot. Gotta pay for season 3. Considering that

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @stoney, deerhunter

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