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. joe Says:

    asking less about the subject and more about the article. seems well thought out and written from the outside but narrative may be entirely different when you’re living in the heart of it.

  2. phishm Says:

    So captain merica is a bad teammate. Go figure.
    Same station for JRAD. Should start in about 15 minutes.

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    zappa roxy performances ’73 on spotify

  4. wilbard Says:

    2/25/03 Theme is fun

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    Heard that Zappa release goes great with This Is Us

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    C that would be a good joke if it was a new phish album

  7. Brandon Kayda Says:

    Anyone listening to the JRAD stream tonight? Just hopped in mid Eyes. Happy St Paddy’s day y’all. Hope you’re well.

  8. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    BK can’t wait to see you at MPP!

  9. Brandon Kayda Says:

    I’ll be there! Trying to hit GA but that’s a lot more involved. Need to see some of you guys in person! It’s been 9 years.

  10. phishm Says:

    I’m watching BK. Jimmy’s halftime is so fun.

  11. Brandon Kayda Says:

    How was the first half of set one phishm? I missed everything up to Eyes. Playin Althea and Dear Prudence sounds dope.

  12. phishm Says:

    I dug it

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    what’s GA? is that curveball?

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Gorge Amphitheatre?

  15. Brandon Kayda Says:

    Alpharetta, GA. @Lycan wants me to come up and stay with them but I need to save serious funds for that to come up from MD.

  16. Brandon Kayda Says:

    Also goddamn Phish tix are like $150 a pop now. Killin me

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Are you paying Canadian prices or something?

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    you’ve had 9 years to save up for curveball

  19. Brandon Kayda Says:

    This Dancin intro is dope as shit

  20. phishm Says:

    They have been playing like this the past few nights. Dope as shit.

  21. Brandon Kayda Says:

    Yeah phishm they’ve been on. There’s a 30min eyes from the other night that’s just wild

  22. Brandon Kayda Says:

    Wish more of you all were watching this rn – fucking stellar

  23. Brandon Kayda Says:

    can’t believe they still havent left Dancin yet…wild space jam in there

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yeah i’m still here

  25. Brandon Kayda Says:

    JRAD comes to play every damn night it seems. Love it

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