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. wilbard Says:

    Even weirder, my version of the Transition album doesn’t have Welcome on it… Just 3 tracks… It’s the 2011 Impulse! release

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    LOL wut

    well, I’m on the Spot version so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  3. wilbard Says:

    Ahhh looks like the Spot one is some kind of expanded release

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    funny that Vigil is listed as a bonus track but Welcome isn’t.

    I shrug once again

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    *shrugging intensifies*

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    I spun the spiritual jazz mix multiple times and have heard Kulu Se before but never picked up on the Happy Birthday reference until last night

  7. little umbrellas Says:

    Oh just chillin with Case at the apt across the street from the venue.

    Arcata sup. Shf tonight at jam.

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Go get em cowboy.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    word on Transition. glad y’all dig. def insane playing. love the style.

    The album is only 3 tracks—

    “Transition” – 15:31
    “Dear Lord” – 5:32
    “Suite” (Prayer and Meditation: Day, Peace and After, Prayer and Meditation: Evening, Affirmation, Prayer and Meditation: 4 A.M.) – 21:20

    I guess there is a subsequent expanded CD release. But my OG pressing is just the three tracks above.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    someone should compile all the recs dropped in the past few days. maybe? please? I will if nobody does 🙂

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    Notes on the album from Wiki—

    Recorded on May 26 (#2) and June 10 (#1, 3), 1965. “Dear Lord” would be moved to the CD issue of Dear Old Stockholm with the rest of the sessions from that LP.

    1993 CD
    “Transition” – 15:31
    “Welcome” – 5:34
    “Suite” (Prayer and Meditation: Day, Peace and After, Prayer and Meditation: Evening, Affirmation, Prayer and Meditation: 4 A.M.) – 21:20
    “Vigil” – 9:51
    CD track 2 and 4 not part of original LP.

    Never saw / heard the CD

  12. theBaker Says:

    ♫ Now Playing “Gumbo” Phish, 2012, Live Bait Vol. 07 via the @LivePhish App



  13. theBaker Says:

    …are there Multiple books ?

  14. theBaker Says:

    ♫ I’m listening to “Reba” by Phish, 2016, Live Bait Vol. 12 via the @LivePhish App and I thought you’d enjoy checking it out as well


  15. theBaker Says:

    9:Forbinty-9 hain’t baHd neither./.

  16. wilbard Says:

    Ha, yeah now that you mention it, that could def be a Happy Birthday tease

    If someone compiled a list of all these recs that’d be great. Gonna check out this Blues Farm business today, don’t think I’ve ever heard that

  17. MiA Says:

    René Redzepi

  18. vapebraham Says:

    getting down with a little Charles Earland today:

    Don’t Say Goodbye from Black Drops (1970). DSG is a C.Earland original. dig the solos.

  19. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Phish Fry Friday
    I Want to Kiss My Mexican Cousin: Celebrating Phish in México and Surfing- Part I

    Tonight’s Phish Fry is dedicated to my cousin Ryan aka Sergeant Sunshine aka Sargento de la Luz del Sol aka Larry (Remember Durango, Larry!?!?). For my 40th Birthday he is taking me surfing in México (flight and house covered). We leave on Monday. Thank you Sergeant Sunshine, oh so much. We used to go to Panama, Costa Rica, and MX in the early/mid 2000’s to surf. We haven’t been on a trip together in a long while. He is the same cousin that always puts MamaLos and me up while in NYC for Phish runs. I saw my first two GD shows with him. Lots of history between us. He turned 40 a few days ago, I turn 40 in a few days.

    Sand>Ghost>2001: 01.15.2016, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

    Cities>Light: 01.16.2016, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

    Down With Disease>Roggae>Crosseyed and Painless: 01.17.2016, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

    Tube: 01.14.2017, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

    Fuego>Prince Caspian>Twist>Seven Below: 01.13.2017, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

    Harry Hood: 01.16.2016, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

    Méxican Cousin: 01.17.2016, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, México

  20. jtran Says:

    I thought it was spelled “Twittle”, no?

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    Happy birthday kids. To many more.

    New Sun Hop track is bangin.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


    it’s kinda an homage to Harrison Wittels but different cuz wooks ya know?

  23. lumpyhead Says:

    someone SHOULD compile all the recs from the last few days.

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    everyone’s just hoping JG will do it. don’t lie

  25. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Guess I need to read back…& take notes…wait you kids been talkin bout Reba right?

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