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. MrCompletely Says:

    I can list a bunch of shit I didn’t like about Jerry’s beliefs and choices if that helps

  2. realoutcasty Says:

    There must be something more than this, but I’m totally unwilling to actually do anything about it.

    ^yeah, this i totally agree with. is his answer that his contribution is bringing together the Phish community? cause while we’re awesome, i’m not sure the party in the tank room is saving us from the Russians.

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    didn’t jerry make a point to not engage in politics?

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    That’s all I really need to say about it, I don’t think anyone ever actually changes their minds about politics so if you disagree cool cool (I mean that, not a passive aggressive eye roll, I disagree with most people about politics)

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    Exactly miner I think it was bullshit from him too. But it’s even more so now in this time where everything decent in this country is under attack and only middle and upper class white men are safe.

    Saying you’re not into politics is political. It means acceptance, deference to the current mode.

    But I know I won’t argue anyone into agreeing. Just said my piece.

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    And like I said. And I mean this. I don’t look to artists for life inspiration. They’re almost always a letdown. Miles, Jerry, etc etc. Really doesn’t change how I feel about music or shows or any of what that means.

  7. realoutcasty Says:

    i think it’s a valid discussion C which is why i brought it here. we can go back to talking about stapes shitting but I like this stuff. i reached out to a female friend who before I gave her your perspective , her first thought basically supported your idea that…

    “this is a stance that’s really only even possible for those hiding behind layers of privilege, such as wealth and whiteness, and maleness to a large degree.”

    i think at a base level, i just can’t bring politics into Phish. it’s the ultimate escape. so that was my initial reaction, and where i’m coming from. after more though, i absolutely see where you’re coming from, and find a lot of agreement.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    And I’m gonna be tooooooootally honest here, dissenting opinions on this topic coming from my fellow middle and upper class white men, well, I love all of y’all, but arguing for an apolitical stance coming from that kind of background, well, it’s not something I can give much of my energy to right now. I truly mean that with all love but it’s 2018 my fellas

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    Obviously from this perspective it makes the trite pleadings of his recent “conscious” lyrics even more pathetic. There must be something more than this, but I’m totally unwilling to actually do anything about it. I’ll just wish it into existence by making vague statements about how it should be better. Well that’s just fucking great dude. Thanks for that deep thought

    ^ come on.

    You don’t think that creating music that brings endless joy is doing something to help the world? You don’t have to actively engage in political discourse just because you’re a public figure imo. Also, I see his lyrics as a personal reflection on this reality, more metaphyisically based than on the here and now of politics or socio-economics.

    Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you have to be outspoken. I think leaving Phish—and thus his opinion— out of the political discussion is a personal choice and one that shouldn’t be attacked. Leave it as a pure space for people to enjoy and come together.

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    That’s cool ROC. I totally agree. You think I’m thinking about this stuff during a jam or at a show? Not at all.

    Two different worlds. I’m fine with keeping it on the art level here, but since the topic was open, said my piece

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    I’m not arguing for an apolitical stance, I’m just saying that his personal decision to leave his political stance out of phish is one that should be respected and not attacked.

  12. realoutcasty Says:

    I’m not arguing for an apolitical stance, I’m just saying that his personal decision to leave his political stance out of phish is one that should be respected and not attacked.

    ^that’s what i’m trying to decipher. is he speaking strictly to Phish, or his overall personal approach to life…

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    My point is that him actively saying onstage, “I don’t fuck with politics”, is a political act, encouraging disengagement on the part of his fanbase.

    As I said, actively, publicly opting out of politics IS a political stance whether he wanted it to be or not. It means passive acceptance, which is a very spoiled, privileged position. He can do it, and I can burn him for it.

    In that specific context, facile wishes that the world was better do strike me as bitterly ironic, yes.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    Under no circumstances do I want him to politicize Phish. Totally 100% agree

  15. realoutcasty Says:

    meaty stuff. love it.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    Hate to drop all that and run but I have the day off so I’m gonna go catch a huge buzz and get really political – no wait I mean I’m gonna crank Dead and Phish tunes really loud


  17. More Says:

    Current politics are tearing our country apart. Trey is about bringing people together. I choose to see it as simple as that. It’s not like it used to be. I really disliked George bush but I could at least respect peoples decision to support him. My disdain for trump supporters has reached way past no respect into utter disgust and I know I’m not alone.
    And I’d posit that trey knows he is among the white privileged and therefore his political views would fall into the viewpoint that c just shared so what’s the point?

  18. realoutcasty Says:

    word. good discourse.

    stapes, now, more about your colon. i’m intrigued….

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    IMO, saying “I don’t fuck with politics” is him saying, “I’m not gonna get into politics as part of my public persona.” And that’s fine imo. Obviously he has beliefs about what is going on, and it is his choice to keep them private.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Word C. Yeah probably most of my fav raps were written.

    — But then in the creative process of writing!? ::

    .. were they freestyling outloud/inMind trying things and then writing it down..

    .. or did they write out their ideas and then figure out a flow later?

    Were the lyrics born from the rhythm or was it added later?

    (Not that one way is inherently better.. or that all creative processes are that black and white)

  21. little umbrellas Says:


    in essence the moment in which composition (something written) is conceived,
    it was born from improvisation (freestyle).

    Compositions are freestyles captured and recorded. Each adjustment or ‘dialing in’ are subsequent ‘improvisations of idea’ in their moment of conception.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    man passports got a lot more expensive since the last time I had to renew mine

  23. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    IMO, saying “I don’t fuck with politics” is him saying, “I’m not gonna get into politics as part of my public persona.” And that’s fine imo. Obviously he has beliefs about what is going on, and it is his choice to keep them private.

    ^this is what’s up.

    All you Monkey haters can suck my monkey

  24. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Anybody got any Ween tickets, yo.

  25. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Need a passport myself. My cousin and I used to go on surf trips together. We both turn 40 in a month. He’s floating me a trip to MX to surf like the old days. It’s one of the nicest things he’s done for me. He is rich with no kids, he told me that it wouldn’t be right for us to not go surfing together for our 40th. It made me all verklemped and shit. Besides my parents and siblings, I don’t know if their is anyone I have spent more time with than my cousin. Stoked.

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