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. phishm Says:

    Check out Mindhunter Stoney. Only one season but pretty interesting. Also see the movie Split. It’s a real mind fuck.

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    Jimmy John McHerring tour is buckets of the most tasteful shred

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    The good place, Stoney. A comedy that thinks. I like it

    Df: it’s not this one

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    thanks ya’ll

    phishm i did start that mind hunter on a netflix date that fizzled. maybe fire that one back up

  5. realoutcasty Says:

    finished up Mindhunter last week. i did enjoy it, but i kept waiting for it to get even better. interesting show for sure.

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    mind hunter also fizzles all my dates

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @realoutcasty it’s a setup for season 2

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Df! LOLOL. My love life is a train wreck with Trey ripping whale induced solos as my soundtrack to the Crash and Burn.

    anywhooooo, anyone going to Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa this weekend?

  9. Sally Says:

    We just finished season 2 of The Americans-there are 5 seasons up on Prime. It’s about undercover Soviet spies in the U.S. near end of Cold War in 1981.

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    Case, season 3’s been better then 2 for Mr Robot.

  11. Stoney Case Says:

    anywhere to get season 3 for free, lilUmb?

    Enjoyed season 1 way more than season 2, but got through season 2 regardless.

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    For your next chill session: Miles’ Blue Moods album.

    Why? Pre Kind Of Blue , but getting there. And it’s trombone and vibes instead of sax and piano. (w/ miles , bass and drums)

  13. realoutcasty Says:

    just watched that Andy & Jim doc on Netflix. pretty great. Jim Carey has def gotten philosophical, and frankly makes a lot of sense to me. he’s a pretty incredible actor.

    Stoney – have you watch the OA? That’s a pretty f’n crazy show. i loved it. but man it’s weird.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    If that text doesn’t work, you might have to torrent it.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    ROC, great doc. Awesome to see behind the curtain.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    OA? been eyeing that one.

  17. sumodie Says:

    Mindhunter is a slow burn show. Def not full of action or shocks

    The Punisher – latest Marvel Netflix show is pretty good. I especially liked the fact that no one has super powers. Not Daredevil & Jennifer Jones level but better than Luke Cage. I skipped Iron Fist entirely

    Anyone check out the new German mystery, Dark, on Netflix? It’s on our list

    And my std go-to fav recs:

    The Americans – soviet spies in 1980s Washington. I never noticed Keri Russell till now. She’s terrific along with her character’s husband. Just finished season 5. Never thought they’d dig so deep into the characters

    Vikings – so much bloody fun

    Broadchurch – moody U.K. crime show. One long story arc per season (looking forward to the new final 3rd season)

    Sharp 30 min British comedies: Fleabag, Catastrophe, Chewing Gum

    Turn – well made slow burner about spies during American Revolution

    Will we finally get a proper 2017 Tweezer at MSG?

  18. sumodie Says:

    The OA left me very mixed. Points for weirdness fo’sure. I couldn’t stop watching even as I was very dissatisfied with some parts. Sequel coming

    But I loved Amazon’s x-files like The Kettering Incident, filmed in Tasmania

    Somewhat refreshing but very B grade grindhouse type flick you’ll have to pay for on Amazon: Brawl in Cell Block 99 starring Vince Vaughn

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    Seriously, The Good Place is unique among comedies. Try to watch season 1 without reading anything about it at all

    Been watching Cowboy Bebop. Not an anime guy but that show was killer. Bounty hunter noir in space with a hard swinging jazz soundtrack

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    don’t forget the quad C Halley’s from this date in ’99

  21. stapes Says:

    Godless was great, IMO

  22. realoutcasty Says:

    really liked Punisher. and you’re right Sumo, OA was weird like that. at times i was wondering why i’m watching, but i couldn’t pull away.

    stapes, been wanting to pull trigger on Godless. thx for rec.

  23. jtran Says:

    is 12/7 I overrated? I can never decide.

  24. jtran Says:

    Is 12/7 II worst 2nd set of tour?

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    Jtran. Way too much filler and Jennifer dances fall 99 to label any one thing “worst”

    What we do know: it doesn’t stack up well to fall ‘97

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