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. sumodie Says:

    Got our Premier camping (those went fast) & Gorge tix, which were easy as usual

    Now it’s time to ditch the car so I can lap up some Ginger tales

    G promised to beat me silly if I bought any more phish tix

  2. MrCompletely Says:


  3. Sex&City Says:

    So I’d buy more quickly

  4. stapes Says:


  5. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Ullr is right, Stapes! Sick day on the hill. I had BabyLos out in the afternoon. With those little skies and the pow we were going so slow and constantly getting stuck. We were both getting a kick out of it. Very silly.

    Planet Waves for life. An under appreciated Dylan gem. Do you think Jerry liked it? Going, Going Gone, Tough Mama, and Forever Young…

    Can’t miss, underpamped cut: Never Say Goodbye

  6. Sally Says:

    In case Kohls doesn’t have the merch you want try Time Turns Elastic Gorge 09 is a screamin’ deal! I feel so mainstream..

    I’m 6 episodes into Dark, it’s kind of confusing to follow but I’m sure it all comes together. Good Place took me a few to get into but I now I mother fork’n love it! Grace & Frankie is a bit cheesy but good one on Netflix (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Short, Sam Waterston)

  7. Vapebraham Says:

    Lost power. Garaj Mahal pulling me through. This gets so deep.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    Good Place def plays its cards close to its chest for awhile. I had no problem waiting for the drop because I’m such a Kristen Bell fan. Veronica Mars for life

  9. Joe Says:

    Home from trey. Really beautiful sounding venue. We were practically on top of trey it seemed. So much love and light. Mrs Joe says it’s the best show she’s ever been to. (I’ll put it in the unique special experience category) I saw sumo across the venue but not sure he saw me.

  10. phishm Says:

    I very much enjoyed Treys show tonight. Esp with that which is going on in my life currently. Dude gets it. No doubt.

  11. sumodie Says:

    Just like at my last Trey solo show, the Ginger kills it with his Fishman stories. Wheatgrass!

    Trey’s acoustic playing is more confident this year. And he has a much better understanding of how to use his pedals to enrich and expand his overall sound

    The Harvard room was gorgeous with terrific acoustics

    And once more the crowd impressed me by knowing when to be silent and when to be exuberant

  12. sumodie Says:

    Sorry, Joe, I was blinded by visions of fishman’s wheatgrass

    Yeah, I arrived at 7:30 sharp and left pretty quickly afterwards in order to get home

    It was indeed a unique experience with trey

    His story about sitting with his friend in the last week of his friend’s life resonated deeply with me

  13. Joe Says:

    Musical highlight for me was Maze

  14. sumodie Says:

    Maze was my highlight too


    Trey – 2/10/18 Sanders Theater Cambridge

    46 Days
    Brian and Robert
    Anything But Me
    Wolfman’s Brother
    Blaze On
    Fishman Wheatgrass Enema Story
    Miss You
    The Line
    Till We Meet Again (New Trey Original,instrumental)
    Sample in a Jar
    Maze (Streets of Cairo Tease)
    Wading in the Velvet Sea
    The Lizards (by request)
    Trey High School Stories
    My Friend My Friend
    Chalkdust Torture

    Backwards Down the Number Line

  15. Joe Says:

    Maze around 1 hour 12 mark on this video. Love the long lick he works in the bit before he hit the streets of Cairo.

  16. Sex&City Says:

    Wow so Trey is playing Phish and not TAB. Seems fun.

  17. little umbrellas Says:

    Whole Illmatic album performed with full symphony and live band at the Kennedy.

  18. gavinsdad Says:

    Here to rec “green twins” by Nick Hakim. Crazy late nite textures.

    Also spinning the new MGMT…same 80s inspired vibes – synthy – think I’ll tell my son to check even

    New Khruangbin very similar to their previous output which I love super chill excellent tones and chill vibez

  19. sumodie Says:

    GP420, electrons coming your way

  20. sumodie Says:

    Tory Cambridge AUD MP3

  21. sumodie Says:

    Cambridge Tory full show video

  22. sumodie Says:

    Dick’s Platinum tix link

    Looks like there were 50 Platinum Fields & 20 Platinum Stands per night

    “Phish will donate a portion of their proceeds to the WaterWheel Foundation.”

    Ithaca Trey MP3!XkgmzQ6J!nhJrzA7RmxxW95hkn5-gdg

  23. realoutcasty Says:

    watched the Trey show last night via FB stream. amazing quality. my love for Trey is at a peak right now. everything about him. i’m ok with every bit of what he’s bringing to these solo acoustic shows.

    that Maze was incredible. can’t wait for summer

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Maybe I’m optimistic but I expect more out of Phish. Platinum so disappointing. The other portion should go to Cash or Trade. Goes against our whole relationship imo. Sad.

  25. More Says:

    I can feel the love and positive vibrations pouring out of that YouTube vid. I’m on board with everything you just posted roc. In this beat down world we live in right now, the mans positive energy shines even brighter.

    Ullr is not a fan of tahoe this year. I think he wants his money back after overpaying last year

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