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. bobby weird Says:

    and taking away Brady’s blind side, taboot. pretty Belichickian, actually, if you think about it.

  2. bobby weird Says:

    Lewis has been injury prone, tho not last year. kinda small, too. but, yeah, not happy to see him go. or Soldier. or Malcolm. or …

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Somewhere, Richard Seymour just shrugged and finished his coffee

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    What happened to Brandon cooks? I literally have not heard a word about the guy since that head hit in the Super Bowl.

  5. bobby weird Says:

    he’s good, i heard.

  6. bobby weird Says:

    how do you trade Danny Fucking Playoff, tho, nahmean?

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    BB sabotaging the team seems totally ridiculous to me. I think the Boston sports scene has talked itself into a corner on this one. The key to any good conspiracy theory is that once you accept the premise you can find evidence that seems to fit everywhere. Looks to me like ESPN dropped this narrative into the mix and everyone bought in and now the feeding frenzy is on

    But as a wise berserker has said: not my circus, not my monkeys

    Excited to have a good Niners team…

    It’s hoops season for me though so admittedly I’m not really tracking all this super closely

    And at least you have the Celtics *ducks*

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    Trading guys like that when he thinks they’re washed or overpriced is vintage BB. Least surprising thing ever though I get that it hurts. What a gamer

  9. bobby weird Says:

    Boston hates ESPN, obviously. and disagrees with, refutes ESPN as much as possible. if anything, its the reverse.

  10. bobby weird Says:

    Bruins, brah. fire

  11. Stoney Case Says:

    Mr. completely, for what it is worth, I don’t tune in to ESPN very often. FS one, mad dog sports, Twitter, random newsfeeds. I don’t even really check the Boston Globe. I base this on my observations from a far, enhanced by watching the 30 for 30 special and getting more insight into coach. He always pulls head scratching moves that usually work out in the end. Something feels different though.

  12. bobby weird Says:

    the stuff i relayed came from guys with deep sources in Foxboro, they say. no one from ESPN can get a dinner reservation on that campus.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    Go trailblazers. And yes, I am extremely excited about the 49ers and really glad that they were the recipient of the Jimmy giveaway

  14. bobby weird Says:

    it is very different here. fact. its obvious, palpably different.

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    And I think Bobby, they were one or two plays away from winning the Super Bowl despite it all. Hard to fathom the greatness of Tom Brady

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    Maybe so but this entire narrative started with that one ESPN article. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong though. And voices from the inside can have any agenda. Just leaves me skeptical

    To me Occam’s Razor says BB has lost his fastball and the constant (brilliant) personnel shell game has run out of steam – which has happened before, but this time there’s no way Brady can stick around for another personnel cycle.

    But it’s not my team so I’ll stay out of it.

  17. bobby weird Says:

    most of that is probably right, C. someone once said, there’s nothing you can hold for very long, right?

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    Good stuff C and BW. Always dig the FB thoughts

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    On the other hand…if true it’s one of the most insane sports stories of all time

  20. bobby weird Says:

    well that’s probably true to, C. but BB is quite the thinker, planner, plotter, executioner. or was anyway

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    BB is a coach. And a coaches coach. He is many things, but at heart, he is a coach. And a true coach could never sabotage his team. It’s unforgivable.

  22. joe Says:

    did I miss Stoney’s comments on this story?

  23. joe Says:

    less curious about the weed part than the local economic impact

  24. bobby weird Says:

    well, but coaches aren’t widgets

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    Oh Stoney has thoughts on that subject for sure

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