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. shred Says:

    Interesting Coltrane info. a lot there i wasn’t aware of.

    Side question is it possible to roll into curveball saturday?

  2. wilbard Says:

    Yeah vape, Solar Winds is the track and Night Child is the album. (I need more sleep, ha.) That track “Dancing Feet” is sweet too

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Hey loves , here’s the single off the upcoming all original shf release

    Kinda amped about this one

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    [Grumpy Neil DeGrasse Tyson voice]

    That’s not what “difference engine” means


    Cool article though

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    sick track lu

  6. vapebraham Says:

    ^^^ agreed. digging dat beat and bassline. sax solo!

    sun hop fat folyphe

  7. vapebraham Says:

    trumpet solo also rad.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    Lu, I’m sure it’s just temporary but the Bandcamp link I had for the new album no longer works, and it doesn’t show at your main BC page

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    and yes the lead track is as good as anything you guys have put out if not better. Really clean arrangement with a lot of power and a great driving feel

  10. Wolf Like Me Says:

    superb track LU

    those grooves are great.

    Your group dynamic is on point, and your horn player really is doing a great job of carrying the solo without being too flashy or over thinking.

    Can’t wait for your New Orleans > Hattiesburg tour

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Thanks guys! ! !

    Yeah i kinda think this stuff is better then the last batch. At least i know i like the mix better. That first track is maybe the most straight ahead of the bunch. But it’s a bangar.

    New album isn’t out yet.. link on bandcamp was a leak. Soon;)

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    Im trippin cause O&FB finally gave me the legit offer on the gig to do the national tour opening for Chris Robinson doing Crows.

    So whoaw. Took so long i had almost let it go. Now i actually have to ask the job..
    and potentially make a scary decision.

  13. wilbard Says:

    NICE, congrats man!!

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    What Would Trane Do

  15. Joe Says:

    Great track to listen to but let me check the math first before making my final decision on how much I like it. Get sun hop fat to the east coast.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    The mix is certainly better

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    Speaking of piano players

    I’m on a Nikolai Kasputin binge this morning. He’s a Third Stream guy, means blending classical and jazz concepts. A lot of Bill Evans stuff is considered Third Stream for example. It tends to work really well for piano

    Paraphrase on Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca for 2 Pianos Op.129

    pretty insane really

  18. wilbard Says:

    ^ will be checking all these musics out asap, thx.

    I think Gunther Schuller and others often called Mingus ‘Third Stream’. I believe that’s where I first heard that term..

    Tigran Hamasyan comes to mind too, as far as new music goes:

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    Third stream is a really nebulous term when you look into it. Some Mingus is categorized that way. It’s all very “it depends” like most music classification

  20. bobby weird Says:

    Joe ^ ftw. second that.

  21. lumpyhead Says:

    damn LU sick tunage

  22. Stoney Case Says:


    Favorite small speaker/stereo set up for smallish apartment?

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    how small? like computer/desktop speakers or bookshelf size ok?

  24. joe Says:

    I love my sonos. have the play bar and 2 play 1s but not set up paired for true surround sound. The play bar in living room with tv and the play 1s in other rooms. Do most of my listening on spotify premium and tune in radio for the npr stuff.

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    Hit me with both recs

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