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:

    If you dig Ole and Transition then this one’s for you too:

    McCoy Tyner’s Atlantis (1974)

    Azar Lawrence on saxes is a beast.

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    I don’t own Atlantis yet but it’s great. Expansions, Cosmos, Asante, Extensions and Sahara (running from 1968 to 72) are all excellent

  3. phishm Says:

    Pretty cool you got a 1 song first set Tela’s. Was it good?

  4. wilbard Says:

    Yes that early 70s Tyner era is $$$. Couple of concerts up on YT from that period:

  5. wilbard Says:

    Splitting that Zorn box is an intriguing proposition…

  6. dorn76 Says:

    Spafford can play.

    Turns>Tiers was a great way to spend a Thursday.

    Thx Uncle Muff and El Dusterino for making it happen, and for scooping my puddled ass off the floor of The Old Town Pub.

  7. phishm Says:

    oh wow. dorn was there too. How fun.

  8. sumodie Says:

    “Each installment of DIY Network’s Maine Cabin Masters program finds master builder Chase Morrill and a team that includes Ryan Eldridge and Jedi Baker saving historic old cabins in The Pine Tree State. The next episode premieres on Monday, March 19 at 10 p.m. ET and features the builders restoring a cabin owned by Phish drummer Jon Fishman and his wife Briar”

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    is there a wheatgrass enema station built in? no, actually don’t answer

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    word wilbard. like maybe one person wants the physical box. They pay half or something. split the rest between a couple people. idk something like that.

  11. aj Says:

    Was there a pirate (argh!) JRAD stream last night? Hook it up, please and thank you!

  12. vapebraham Says:

    I’m most likely repeating myself, but yall are familiar with the album Very Tall (1961), correct? OP and Milt Jackson. straight swing, but butter smooth. basically if OP plays on the sesh, you want it. and with bags . . .$$$

  13. vapebraham Says:

    one of the great pianists and piano soloists of all time – OP.

  14. phishm Says:

    check jimmy. He may be hooking it up. If not there’s grateful4music2 on Periscope. If not try

  15. phishm Says:

    Just took the stage.

  16. aj Says:

    Phishm, you the man! Thanks!!

  17. phishm Says:

    the more inside the music that get it the deeper it can be taken. They in the mood . Enjoy

  18. Aj Says:

    This let it grow piano solo in the middle of slipknot is bonkers

  19. phishm Says:

    As if. Teasing Bathtub Gin. Can’t these knock off bands that go to the same place Phish took us all these years stop playing stuff Phish played while they were learning how to go deep inside the music? how un original.

  20. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    I would hope of Gin tease is indicative of an eventual Trey sit in. It’s due to happen and could be quite good imo.

  21. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    …a Gin tease

    Come on phone

  22. sumodie Says:

    Never heard of #5

  23. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Heard a little CDT tease at the end of that set.


  24. phishm Says:

    Seems to me this band has a hand in the spot inside the place where the music used to do. And now it’s just this because of it.

  25. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Foam tease now. Somethings afoot.

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