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. little umbrellas Says:

    Continual vuhes to you Phishm

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    ^nice GP420. Thanks for including them phish thoughts. I dig.

    Yeah that Ramble On, it’s cool how Trey takes that Jimmy Page melody and gets it repeating to make a jam.

    Mike’sSong in the 14th minute Trey plays two Baaadass sounding leads..
    17th minute Trey is getting his Medeski on.

    Nothing extra extra standout to me. But a great Phish jam.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    ^Will be fun to hear the sbd. Phishtracks’d it.

    Ps.. i love when Page plays the organ in the jams.

    #APFMB3 (a people for more… )

  4. RoosterPizza Says:

    Random phish thought of the day:
    6.28.12 Waves>Bug segue is silky smooth

  5. RoosterPizza Says:

    And I overshot that 10mg-before-work mark by a wide margin.

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    Happy for my friend Che. She just got a new job as a backup singer with Melvin Seals.

    Rad oakland homie, fantastic singer easily capable of leading her own group.. found herself landing a job as a back up singer with George Clinton.. and just got this as a follow up gig. Win.

  7. aj Says:

    Interesting read:

  8. dorn76 Says:

    guess I’ll peep this V’Downs release.

    That was the last show before Lemonwheel, huh. The zany setlist makes more sense.

    They had put in an entire European and US tour since the Island Tour shows I saw…Man they played alot back then.

  9. MiA Says:

    The Mike’s > Simple from Vernon Downs does well in the SBD release. You really get to hear Page’s great work in the background, and Mike is front and center. Great stereo Fishman helps too.

    Mike’s > Simple Summer ’98 always delivers. Desert Sky, Alpine, Walnut Creek, Vernon Downs and Lemonwheel. And while the Gorge one get’s arguably … a little monotonous, it’s great too.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


  11. Fly Says:

    Drive by post:

    Any serious fantasy baseball players out there? My long time keeper league is looking for candidates to replace one manager. It’s a very shallow player pool (240), but a highly competitive environment. Makes for a good time.

    Shoot me an email at flyonthebb at gmail if interested.

  12. Sally Says:

    I like the Vernon Down the House show, was my 1st show East of Ohio on the way to the Wheel, but…there are a lot of other summer 98 shows I would have picked to release before this one. #CarrotDangle’d

  13. vapebraham Says:

    yo, some fresh sounds fo ya ears:

    Agent Moosehead from Philly. jazz/progressive rock

  14. MiA Says:

    Summer ’98 was a target rich environment.

  15. Sally Says:

    Maybe I’m just salty that I didn’t go to Star Lake, epic fail…Grateful we have that one in all it’s glory

  16. vapebraham Says:

    That Moosehead is some dope shit. avante garde, free jazzy at times and reminiscent of Zappa’s hornier efforts, like the the grand wazoo, at other times.

    going to see them live this thursday at F&M in Ambler,PA

  17. dorn76 Says:

    $10 says Vape doesn’t end up going.

  18. phlorida phan Says:

    ^That bet only pays out about tree fitty from that $10. My $$$ would be on the 10/1 odds he goes.

  19. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Vernon Downs release is interesting. that show was never on my radar. i have enjoyed the listen. the Slave is so sick. the Mikes>Simple is slick as fuck. What I enjoy about the listen is the high octance energy. these dudes are obviously having fun, fucking around, teases out the wazoo,on point, can’t do no wrong, etc.

    listening to this show, for some reason, i kept thinking to myself: “What the fuck, it’s only a buck.”

    i jokingly say the only Wu I liked is of the Tang variety. That is not entirely true. The Woo-Hoo guy is a-okay.

    Would I have picked 8.12.1998 for an official release? Sure. I want everything from ’94-’00 released as a SBD.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    I want everything from ’94-’00 released as a SBD.


  21. vapebraham Says:

    Ha. The venue – some dead street level space in the Bler reclaimed and reimagined – is a good 40 minutes away so Dorn has definitely sniffed out a winnable bet. However, i motivate for young dudes playing experimental jazz rock.

    I’ve been callled a dreamer. dreams that never will come true
    but i’ve been called so many things before
    I’ll tell you what i’m gonna do . . .
    Take a simple C to G and feel brand new about it.
    I understand why the old fishermen sail alone
    sail alone

  22. vapebraham Says:

    Need more ’93, especially August ’93, in sbd.

  23. vapebraham Says:

    sbd, high octane energy – 6.17.94 LP. amazing mike’s simple hydrogen groove

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    calling out just the mike’s groove from 6.17.94 is burying the lede a tiny bit 😉

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    coincidentally, the Vernon Downs YEM has some Mission Impossible teasery, similar to that 6.17.94 show

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