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:

    RTJ w R&M

  2. BooVT Says:

    Visited Nectars tonight. Phish nerds Mecca. Home of my misspent youth. Couldn’t help but wondering if this young band “Eggers” was the next greatest thing like Phish or just another tier type band. I can’t believe I used to watch Phish there back in the day (late 80’s ) …
    Who knew? Not me… wish I did…

  3. gavinsdad Says:

    ^boo – still salty that I lived in BVT summer ’90 and they decided to take that summer off. I woulda been at the Front on the reg by that time but alas…never got to nectars or front. Only two VT shows were the townshends but we’ve been over that before.

  4. phishm Says:

    JRAD teasing Gin, Foam, Dust and Divided Sky. Making the music do weird bendy things. That show was off the hook. Taking the old man and the young man out for St. Patty day shenanigans. Should be fun.

  5. Dusty Says:

    Turns to tiers back to turns has me tired out. Fun time for me but now dabs and dunks today in recover mode. Fest training at altitude really.

  6. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Fest training is definitely prudent. Summer is just around the corner.

  7. realoutcasty Says:

    It’s a bunch, really.

  8. wilbard Says:

    Monday at 10 p.m. ET on Maine Cabin Masters: “we’ve got a dream project as we fix up a cabin for the drummer of Phish!”

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    Bobby and Joe,

    What’s up with Belicek dismantling the team and culture in New England over the Garropolo v Brady issue? Guess I answered that. The real head scratcher, is why did Josh McDaniel‘s stick around to pick up the pieces? What an absolute disaster over there since the Garopalo trade

  10. Guitarpicker420! Says:

    As a Colts fan, it is clear that McDaniel has whatever crap he gets coming to him. He better make it work because I can’t see any other team offering him a job after the stunt he pulled.

  11. Stoney Case Says:

    Sun hop Fat was a great time in Arcata. Room was too small for their big sound! Well received and a great turn out for a Thursday during spring break. Arcata bars have a long standing, Ill- advised policy, of not having headliners start until 12:30 AM. It is a bad formula for dad rockers. It’s really a bad formula for everyone except college students. Everyone around here either has a night job, or gets up very early but we stuck it out. Cool cats in the band as well. Probably got them too irie before the show.

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    GP, I would be glad if I was a Colts fan. He was an absolute, unmitigated disaster as a head coach in Denver.

  13. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    The Lions would probably hire him.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    When it’s all over, Billy and Tommy will have the harshest reentry of all time. I do not envy them that.

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    We signed Blount!

  16. joe Says:

    seems like it’s a RIFT (phish thought) with the krafts siding with Brady vs Belichick according to local chatter of which I mostly tune out. Does look like the end is near but I’ve come to peace with the idea that they could never win another game and I’d still be happy with the stretch that we just witnessed. Just sucks that it’s going to get a lot uglier by the time it’s over for good.

    Actual Phish thought: flipped through the app while not looking to choose a random show driving last night. Was lucky enough that I ended up with FuckYourFace. I guess that wasn’t much of a thought after all. I did really enjoy it though. A reminder of how much goodness they’ve dished out in 3.0

  17. Stoney Case Says:

    Joe. My thoughts exactly. After watching the bill and bill 30 for 30, it all makes more sense.

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    Joe: that’s the ESPN narrative. It might be true but keep in mind the ESPN attitude towards the pats in recent years. They’ve been pushing that angle. It’s plausible of course. But for example Simmons is skeptical, Boston sports insider that he is.

  19. bobby weird Says:

    Belichick got super fucking pissed b/c Kraft insisted on keeping Brady, meaning Jimmy had to be traded, as team couldn’t afford both. also, rumor has it that Brady basically insisted it was him or Jimmy. this chafed BB b/c his contract says Kraft has no role in football decisions, but this, of course, is Tom Brady (and Kraft’s team), so he stuck to his guns. BB seemed to check out somewhat after Kraft’s interference inn football decisions. some here think BB may actually be done, and is sabotaging the team with recent moves to get back at kraft. who knows. but keeping Jimmy was obviously the right move for the future. but, again, we’re talking about Tom Brady here. also, Gronk and Brady are both said to not be having as much fun recently. Brady b/c BB interferes with Alex Guererro (Brady’s “body engineer”) Gronk, b/c he is a “planet player,” but is required too keep to the BB rules and say nothing and have no public fun. he feels he is too good to have to put up with that shit. this is my understanding from about daily discussions on these issues, many spanning hhouurs and hours. sad, i know.

  20. bobby weird Says:

    there is a semi credible rumor that when it was still “Jimmy or me [Brady],” Jimmy went to work out at the TB12 facility but he was literally locked out. he was said to be peering in and knocking on the windows, seeing all the guys he usually worked out with inside ignoring him. at Tom’s direction. Jimmy went to Kraft with this (or word from Jimmy did) and that was what it took for Kraft to make the move to trade Jimmy. supposedly this is from multiple sources with inside knowledge of TB12. again, who knows. soap opera, to be sure. losing the Super Bowl certainly didn’t help matters.

  21. Stoney Case Says:

    Bobby to me it’s pretty apparent. Letting Solder walk? Amendola, Butler, Lewis? Then signing who he did. That white RB is useless. The guy from cincy is a borderline “thug” for lack of better word. And the dude from ATL is injury prone. I’m surprised he hasn’t been fired by Kraft.

    Is Brandon cooks alive after the SB head hit?

  22. bobby weird Says:

    oh, last piece (in direct response to Stoney), Josh was going to be out the door but seeing BB so disgruntled (or, after BB opened the kimono to Josh about this), Josh decided to stay to take over as head coach, seeing as BB is not long for this team by most accounts. (when the Giants head coach spot was open, one faction thought BB would go there to fuck Kraft, the prodigal son finally returning home to end his career.)

  23. joe Says:

    I won’t worry about roster construction till after CURVEBALL

  24. bobby weird Says:

    BB can certainly sabotage the team (if that’s what he’s doing), by exercising his exclusive control over football decisions, and thereby gets back at Kraft and then some for Kraft’s insistence to trade Jimmy. using the very power he was given to exact revenge on Kraft for his single act of interference.

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    Yeah who lets a left tackle walk in their prime? Dion Lewis is a stud and could be a poor mans LeVeon Bell in Tennessee Mark my words. Seriously they signed the dude from buffalo who blows and was hurt all last year.

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