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. Stoney Case Says:

    Damn, Phishm. Much love to you and your children.

  2. phlorida phan Says:

    Love you phishm

  3. jerseyjim Says:

    Sorry for your loss, Phishm.

  4. RoosterPizza Says:

    So sorry to hear @phishm. Much love and vibes to you and your family.

  5. Sally Says:

    Sending love to you and your family Phishm

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    So sorry Phishm!

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Vernon Downs 98 official release coming

  8. aj Says:

    So sorry to hear that, Phishm. Strength and love to your family.

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    Oh Phishm
    Words fail.. sending you and your family big time love.
    Just read your post.. was on a prep.. and took a moment to go outside and send a prayer to all your fam including your Mom.

    Love will see you through. Condolences and regards sent. Love is with you.

  10. bobby weird Says:

    Very sorry Phishm. I remember hearing you talk to your mom from my buddy’s hotel room in Nashville, telling her all about lots of things (yes, I was evesdropping). I could tell from that alone you were very close. So sorry bud.

  11. More Says:

    May the vibration of love see you through phishm+++

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ween rocks red

  13. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Much love to you and your family, phishm.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    Like the morning sun you come,
    And like the wind you go

  15. vapebraham Says:

    fare thee well, phishm’s mom.

  16. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Fuck a TUES show esp post SQB re Ween @ RR

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    they totally should’ve checked first, jerome

  18. theBaker Says:

    What could I add that hasn’t already been said here Today?!?
    Wishing you, your Pops & theKids ALL THE BEST thru this grieving period…LoveYa buddy

  19. Guitarpicker420! Says:

    Phishm – I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s obvious that lots of people are thinking about you right now, and I hope that is some comfort.

  20. Guitarpicker420! Says:

    I want to say a huge THANKS to Phish for releasing Vernon Downs. That is one of my all time favorite shows and the recording I had did not do it justice. That whole week leading up to and including the Wheel was magical and deserves a good solid listen. Merriweather on through was just fantastic. We managed to fit a Hornsby show in on the Cape in the round in between Vernon Downs and the Wheel. Everybody who made it up there knows whats up. Give it the listen it deserves.

  21. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Vernon Downs was a helluva lot of fun. I agree GP that the auds I’ve come across over the years are crappy (same with much of summer 98), so I haven’t listened back much. Stoked to hear it again in all its sbd glory with fresh ears.

    RCMH Ghost at the moment just cause it’d been a bit. #holdsup

  22. jdub Says:

    Phishm, my heart goes out to you and your family during these tough times.

  23. MiA Says:

    Dropped out of Summer Tour after Deer Creek. Had to show my face at work.

    Bought Vernon Downs due to the overall crappiness of (most) Auds from ’98. At first I thought it wasn’t as “crisp” as other SBDs, but this definitely delivers.

    The Slave has extra mustard.

  24. Kaveh Says:

    Strong thoughts your way phishm, to you and your family. Sorry to hear this.

  25. BooVT Says:

    Phishm, so sorry to hear about your mom. Hang tough. My condolences.

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