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. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Bias even

  2. sumodie Says:


    is the code you brown front rangers seek

  3. realoutcasty Says:

    bais, bias doesn’t matter.

    thx scoop!

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Fuck a TUES show esp after SQB.

  5. realoutcasty Says:

    shush. you’re getting a Heady Uncy J sando while Ween melts your face with a 20 min Poop Ship.

  6. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    praisetheboognish did not work earlier today… shit was sold the fuck out.

    on to the on sale

  7. realoutcasty Says:

    there’s still a Thurs presale before regular Fri onsale though

  8. Sex&City Says:

    So it appears that only Drew needs a dicks ticket eh? If so that makes me happy. I’ll keep an eye out for Drew. I have a couple of connections I think i can still score some tickets from.

  9. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Fine. Like the bottles I’ll be curbside on TUES @ my place ready for Heady & MamaLos to scoop me in the bus. Or should I expect pickup by Phil? Either way I will only have fum begrudgingly.

  10. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I fucking love this Vernon Downs show right now. Been on a continuous loop all day. Ridiculous playing and energy throughout.

    -5 to MiA for disparaging remarks about Gorge ’98 Mike’s. +3 back for acknowledging it’s still “great.”

  11. Drew Cluley Says:

    Thanks for keeping your peeper open for me Sex.
    My friend Jen will be estatic when she knows she has tickets in hand.

  12. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Jen sup

  13. little umbrellas Says:
    Big Chief Blazio is leading a brass band and a parade along the lake here in Oakland.

    Now i can actually wish you all a Happy Fat Tuesday.

  14. Guitarpicker420! Says:

    @vegas – with you completely. except for not getting to put it on a loop. Had a “consultant” rolling with me today, so I put on some Miles so as not to look like too much of a hippie.

  15. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Masquerade Ball in Leadville this Friday. Happy Fat Tuesday, indeed!

    My mask is dope.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    Mos Def working with Madlib to put out a new Blackstar. Dank combo.

    Not sure I’ve heard a madlib joint i didnt like.

    Probably never will.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    with talib I assume

  18. jonacho Says:

    The Mikes > Simple from Vernon is pretty hot and the highlight for me.
    The whole thing is very solid. Band is energetic and very tight.

  19. jonacho Says:

    Probably more interesting 98 shows to pick from, but perhaps releasing something from a field /race track fits…in 2018

  20. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    i LOVED that Black Star album when it was released. in fact, i recently put it on MamaLos’ ipod and listened to it while shredding a few weeks ago. it had been a while.

    ISO: Sat and Sun Dicks for a friend- Fields or Stands- doesn’t matter. Cheers!

  21. phishm Says:

    Trey played Waste tonight proceeded by a song named til we meet again. I love Trey.

  22. jdub Says:

    Phishm, hairs on end bro. Sometimes the music plays us .

  23. Sex&City Says:

    Waste is the most special phish song here in the Sex household.

  24. Sex&City Says:

    Phishm… get to Dicks!

  25. phishm Says:

    It was going to be a big summer at the phishm house. Just the festival music wise. Saving up money to move the folks in by the beginning of summer with some sort of arranged extended care. Seems I just might Sex. Let me see how the next few days plays out.

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