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. MiA Says:

    I was at a customer dinner. One of sales managers from a distributor of ours was at the same dinner and had a few drinks.

    He proceeded to go off on “Lock her up! Obama is a Socialist! We need to destroy Liberals! Trump is our future. We need to protect unborns! ObamaCare is terrible and corrupt” rant in front of 9 people he knew nothing about.

    Political intelligence wasn’t his strong point. Regardless of how passionately he felt about what he was talking about, or how delusional he was that everyone was going to agree with him, he put out a side of his personality that was unseemly at best, and intolerant in his worst.

    Not sure why he grabbed the “microphone” of the discussion to state all that, but he just hung it out there, and everyone just kinda looked into their napkins with “Are you done yet?”

    There was no part in that which was intelligent. Blasting off his opinions was terrible.

    I once told someone (it was just the two of us) that I was a Hillary Supporter expecting a rational discussion, and they yelled at me “Well, you’re the FUCKING PROBLEM!” And he was “on the same side” of politics as me.

    Listen, nobody got time for that shit.

    Some can talk politics respectfully and with good discourse and some get super emotional.

    I respect Trey’s decision to just leave his political microphone off.

    I go to a show and listen to music to feel closer to people. Share a bond. Not find out what ways we may be 90% similar and 10% different and poke at that.

  2. MiA Says:

    See, I can’t even give an opinion about Monkey without a bunch of people getting in my grill that I have to like Monkey or suck their monkey.

  3. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    A wig and some lipstick, MIA

  4. lumpyhead Says:

    y’all talking about sleeping monkey?

  5. MiA Says:

    MiA: Wh-wh-what did he say?
    HeadyBrosevelt: You’ll have to excuse my language. [picks up a report and clears his throat] “I don’t think Sleeping Monkey is a good song.”

    [no reaction from MiA. Heady starts erupting in repressed rage]

    HeadyBrosevelt: This kind of simian-phobic and bigoted hate speech isn’t going to fly here, bro! Well, I thought we were all on board that Sleeping Monkey is an amazing, [quickly stands up] beautiful song that has the exquisite bravery of a butterfly flying against the wind, AND THEN THIS SHIT COMES OUT OF PEOPLE’S MOUTHS!!

  6. Sally Says:

    He did say “Politics and Phish, it doesn’t work. We love everyone, everyone’s welcome”

    Stating that he thinks Michelle Obama is one of the coolest women on Earth makes me thing he leans to the left

    Can we discuss Jesus, Lent, and the significance of it being 46 days in duration now?

    Just renewed my passport, hoping to get lots of new stamps in the next 10 years!!!!

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sally, longer Lent is just due to the pagan calendar not cooperating this year

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    What he meant was we love everyone’s money. Nobody loves everyone. That’s ridiculous.

  9. joe Says:

    republicans buy sneakers (tickets) too

  10. vapebraham Says:

    +5 for Bingosbro. cat knows how to put his finger on it

  11. vapebraham Says:

    ^^^ in under 15 words.

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    Sally, good job leaving the actual quote here.

    “Politics and Phish, it doesn’t work. We love everyone, everyone’s


    ‘I don’t fuck with politics’ . . . . … .. .. are totally different statements.

    What Trey actually said lines up completely with C’s statement/desire on how Phish should deal with politics.. not include them.

    Sounds like Trey didn’t make any remark about his personal politcal agenda.. but made a public comment about the band’s connection to said topic.

  13. realoutcasty Says:

    i didn’t hear Trey say that about Phish and politics, so that lines up more with what I thought his intent probably was when making that statement.

    thanks for posting that sally.

  14. Sally Says:

    Platinum love is the best love

    Well, there’s MOAR…

    “I’ve gotta say this ‘cus it’s on my mind: Even one drop of politics in this world just made me sick to my stomach. But I really couldn’t give a fuck, seriously. Just sayin’. … “

  15. realoutcasty Says:

    i mean at the end of the day i just wanna rip some ice cold fatties and count my bills, so F it.

  16. vapebraham Says:

    well said, LU. Trey’s not a dick

  17. Diego Says:

    Jealous, Heady. Viva la Mexico surf free or die

  18. Sally Says:

    He also put Cher on the coolest women list 🙂

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    The fact that anyone would go in on trey in the manner that mr c did based on his stated aversion to get involved in political discussion is offensive. Just because someone is rich and white doesn’t mean they need to take a political stand or they are “messed up” or complicit with oppressive systems. Nobody knows what he thinks. Politics makes me sick to my stomach as well. I’ve read many lame, self righteous comments on Twitter by many as well. Just not into that idea that anyone needs to do anything to avoid attack. Especially someone who has done plenty of good for this world both onstage and off.

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    People are making assumptions on top of assumptions on top of assumptions. Self righteous social media activists. Seriously.

  21. Drew Cluley Says:

    Ummm so Is Sleeping Monkey really about a phallous? If so
    I never knew. I guess that there are some/many songs I just don’t listen to the story in the lyrics. Hope I don’t lose my Phish Card over this.

    How much was a passport renwewl? Gotta do that soon myself.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    The only way Trump is getting past Fishman is with a Platinum Ticket.

  23. lumpyhead Says:

    ^ lol

  24. realoutcasty Says:

    Bingo on fire.

  25. MiA Says:

    Bingo smart

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