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:

    What people feel about the music is of course subjective.

  2. vapebraham Says:

    been digging into the The Roma Telluride 1988 tapes that recently surfaced. good stuff. Classic stories behind this tour and these tapes. great stuff played to a handful of peeps in an empty bar. Cities>daves’s energy guide>cities from 8.5 is a beaut. This was the year for corrina as well.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    26 min Crosseyed > Harpua set

    Starlake ’03 ☆

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    I think my initial point on mentioning my homie who’s attached to his anti trane sentiment..

    .. was that some people just get anti anything that’s gotten pretty big.

    Some people are like this about Phish..
    (some people surely have tried listening to Phish or Trane and not dug it for whatever reason)..
    (but surely there’s some people who could probably learn to dig phish.. or Trane.. but stigma has filled their ears).

    Aaaaand i was responding to those who don’t dig Kendrick. Again, some stuff is big for a reason. Peeps be letting stigma about things on a pop level cover their ears before they give it a chance.

    (Or some folks don’t even really listen to hiphop.. or jazz… or improvised psych rock.. and hence don’t have that access point).

    Mostly im just commenting on people that do like hiphop and don’t dig Kendrick.
    im just like whaaaaaaa??? You don’t dig Ole Trane?
    You don’t dig To Pimp A Butterfly.. ???

    Ohhhh kay have fun with that.

  5. vapebraham Says:

    7.29.88 Curtain With also a gem .

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    Pretty stoked about some friends collaborating with Boots Riley from the Coup. Boots’ is starring in an upcoming comedy called Sorry to Bother You.. and rocker Oakland friends are doin the score.

    The music’s in the trailer that came out. Film looks thought provoking and funny.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i don’t think i’ve ever heard Miles Davis’ album Get Up With It

    has every thought about this album already been thunk?

  8. vapebraham Says:

    ^^yo! Stop thinking about music. and definitely don’t try to put your thoughts about music into words. pointless. in fact, any thought you might have about anything has already been thunk and is therefore meaningless. quit thinking and flow into the oneness of it all. 🙂

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    holy shit why don’t i know this album

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    DF, i have rec’d Mtume off Get Up With It like 20× here.



  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Wish i could see the look on DF’s face when the organ drop happens in that song.

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    you should see the thoughts in my mind

  13. realoutcasty Says:

    @Gdad – awesome story in relation to Carlton Melton! thx for sharing. gonna spin it now. i was not aware of that background with the band.

  14. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    the idea that we should not think about music is totally absurd.

    i pick muisc daily. while doing so, i think. i am so grateful for those moments of my day. my brain and body work in a way that only occurs when i play music. it is conscious. it is thought.

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Prine’y Desk

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’ve been on a Coltrane and Miles Davis listening rampage lately.

    Overwhelming how much magic those two produced together and separately.

    Get up with it, if I remember, is basically recording sessions releases from Jack Johnson and On the Corner seshs. Dope.

  17. little umbrellas Says:

    Palmer, pitchfork wrote about it a few days ago

    His final release in the 70’s before his hiatus

  18. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice Prine link Bear.

    I’ll be in town down town next week.

    We should do crimes.

  19. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Wait when?

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:


  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks Lil Um. Going to check that out. Got a ton of great recommendations for both miles and trane via my Twitter yesterday.

  22. phishm Says:

    Every possible form of stimuli in the universe is a vibration. This includes thoughts. When a thought has enough energy it attracts another thought of similar frequency and that thought attracts another. We don’t know where they come from. They just appear. So in fact I agree that every thought that could possibly ever exist has already been sensed. It’s our interpretation of who we are that makes them unique to that which we’ve made our own individual reality. We control that which we perceive as real even though it’s just our own way of looking at things.
    In terms of explaining music I’ll leave that to the pros. If I’m really enjoying the music that’s in the moment I have very little recollection of it as my goal is to remove any form of thought from the experience. It’s not easy to stay there and even harder to get there. But when there it’s amazing. Or so I’ve been told. As if I remember.

  23. vapebraham Says:

    spinning MGB 3.11.18 from the top. noah bickart’s recording. no crowd sound. low levels but really nice balance. The Egg, man. robert walter and kimock jr. make this a choice band.

  24. vapebraham Says:

    sorry i missed these guys in philly.

  25. little umbrellas Says:


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