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. vapebraham Says:

    ^^ and Buster Williams on Bass. of mwandishi and sextant fame.

  2. vapebraham Says:

    beer rec: Willful delusion of false perception from Foreign Objects out of Clifton Park, NY. That hazy NEIPA style, but super dry. aromas of sweet malt, pressed flowers, white pepper, and berries – strawberry and raspberry. melba and Topaz hops used.

  3. vapebraham Says:

    ^^^ and peach melba on toast

  4. Tghost Says:


    To be clear, I didn’t dine at said restaurant. Heard there is a 23,000 person waiting list. Seriously. Did winemaker dinner for 15 or so Danes in a 250 year old munitions plant nearby. Very cool spot.

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    I miss the good old days of the bb when IPAs were actually bitter

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    re: the archival release forthcoming

  7. vapebraham Says:

    These Foreign Objects IPA’s (I’ve had two tonight) are plenty bitter.

  8. vapebraham Says:

    Drinking the Foreign Objects In the Gold Dust Rush Ipa currently (had Willful delusion and Green Galaxy earlier). I have a feeling the Gold Dust Rush and Green Galaxy were older than the Willful Delusion, as the first two seem to be coming apart – lots of floaties. Still tasty. This Gold Dust Rush smelling and tasting a lot like a Jai Alai.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    Coltrane – Transition

    the fucking GOODS. Right in the sweet spot

  10. vapebraham Says:

    can’t resist. Ron Carter Blues Farm (1973)

    w/ hubert laws – flute. billy cobham drums. $$$+ They don’t make music like this anymore. so pocketed.

  11. vapebraham Says:

    agreed, C. so down with Transition. Miner knows jazz

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah really glad he called that one out. had slipped by me in recent years and it’s pretty much perfect for my taste

  13. vapebraham Says:

    ^^ don’t miss the second track off that Ron Carter album.. gorgeous piano ballad. so spacious. like ahmad Jamal. and Ron carter on the bass . . . the reason why if I was into tats, Ron carter at his bass would be tattooed on the forehead. Need this Blues Farm on vinyl. wow.

  14. vapebraham Says:

    third track (django) also a treat. “ron carter on the bass” – in Q-tip voice

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    That final tour release sounds like it’s gonna be amazing

  16. vapebraham Says:

    I like where Miner’s head is at these days. very inspiring. Thanks for keeping the lights on in this strange and beautiful place.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    is it just me or does is Welcome from Transition open with a reference to Happy Birthday. LOL

    Blues Farm saved in Spot for laters

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    oh yeah that’s “happy BIRTHday dear someone…”

    hilarious. sly dog

  19. vapebraham Says:

    been thinking about how music is primarily visceral and defies explanation in words. Music speaks the language of emotion. to attempt to describe it with something as clumsy as words is futile. all we can say is, “this resonates with me and it’s kinda like spring and herbie and trane.”. if we could see each other we’d simply exchange smiles and understand.

  20. vapebraham Says:

    Blues Farm is the most soulful, soothing, delightfully free albums i’ve heard in many moons. depth > ron takes you there.

  21. vapebraham Says:

    and after ron gives you a full bass showcase rainbow tickle. in comes hubert laws. love that man and his unparalleled flute tone and moves. such finesse. like a massage.

  22. lumpyhead Says:

    tomato, tomäto, Tzara’s!

  23. wilbard Says:

    Loving all the quality jazz recs.. makes it easy to decide what to put on after a long day..

    I wonder, is Welcome on Transition the same tune as the Welcome on Kulu Se Mama. I had picked the latter to open that spiritual jazz playlist that I worked pretty hard on last year (

  24. MrCompletely Says:

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    yes, same tune. Looks like same version. Not sure what’s up with that, release wise. Both albums from 67

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