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. jtran Says:

    oh sorry i was referring to 12/7/97. i’ll listen to 99 in 2 years yo.

    12/7/99 is $$$$

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    ^jtran just took a peak. 7 minute wolfs and what not ouch.

    Reba the longest jam in there hmm.

  3. realoutcasty Says:

    ^LU must be “Josh” from Twitter… 😉

  4. realoutcasty Says:

    Josh @nolasox – 12/5/17, 4:05PM

    “Can we all agree that while Fall ’97 was a great tour, it’s also overrated and maybe even – at times – a little boring?”

    little umbrella – 12/7/17, 11:46AM

    “7 minute wolfs and what not ouch. Reba the longest jam in there hmm”

    ^when Phish fans jump the shark

  5. lumpyhead Says:

    new post!?

    i’m alive, thanks to the LAFD

  6. vapebraham Says:

    vibes, Lumps.

  7. realoutcasty Says:

    Lump! glad you’re oK!

  8. lumpyhead Says:

    i hear that, thanks. time to secure new years tickets since it looks like we gonna make it

  9. phlorida phan Says:

    Damn, Son!!!!

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    Ha! So funny, def haven’t heard a lick of the show it’s true.

    Although even if the show sucks all the way through (which i doubt), there’d be no way that saying ‘fall 97 is overrated’ would be applicable or a sane comment.

    How you gonna try and pin that in me dawg? Harsh!

    But after jtran’s post, i looked at the set.. and yeah.. so .. @Tela’s, do you think there is a show worse then that one from Fall 97?

  11. garretcorncob Says:

    Yeah, I’m enjoying Godless so far after a couple episodes.

    Really enjoyed Broadchurch season 1, but the season 2 premiere basically turned me off watching any more entirely, even though I saw that it was still well reviewed that season.

    Alias Grace is good too, but a hard watch in some ways (definitely not a pick-me-up kinda vibe)

  12. stapes Says:

    Spin the first set and report back.

  13. jtran Says:

    LU hasn’t spun the show. lol.

    Spin it first LU 😉 That first set is a tough act to follow.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    I mean Nutter Tube is one of my all time fav phish jams. Have listened to it maybe more then any other single Phish jam.

    12/7 still seems like it isn’t in the top tier of Fall 97.

    Even when youre talking best ever, there’s still room for hierarchy. 😉

  15. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    this 12.07.1997 noob talk must stop, now- ha!! Reba is agruably the weakest link in the set. The Timber is so good- more uplifting than dark; the goods of Wolfman’s can be found in the Boogie On- this is like on smooth piece of music. The first Boogie On in, like, 1000 shows or something and it is a dope fucking awakening. The Camel Walk laced Possum. Add that fucking bananas First Set to the highlights of the Second Set… no doubt about it. 12.07.1997 is such a good show.

    i find people, who find Fall ’97 boring, rather jejune themselves- ha!

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    4 min Bag
    … .. .. .. .. (okay TH is always a good thing)
    Blues song
    2 min bluegrass ditty


    Okay yeah It’s Ice, Theme, and Tube is great first set material.
    ☆☆ Tube an all time highlight. ☆☆
    ^the only absolute keeper from the set.

    Sorry guys, I dont do Slaves. That one i just got at Dicks was fun but filled my quota for the year.

  17. realoutcasty Says:

    interestingly enough LU (sorry to pin that on you, i couldn’t resist) that very discussion was had on twitter the other day, in regards to 12/7 being “worst” of the tour.

    need T3, Verno, and MiA to jump in here…

    but from a phish nerd analytical breakdown of the tour, is 12/7 the worst? i think from a jam perspective its not in the same convo as the rest of the shows from this tour. no debate there, from a simple check of the timings.

    that being said, Timber was a fire song that tour (as it usually is), and a brief funky Wolfman into a massive Boogie On bustout? that bustout has to rank very high in the all-time bustout chart. followed by the first Reba since Denver, mid second set? come on man. that means something. where the set loses me is the Guyute Possum, but I don’t know how Guyute was viewed back then. I didn’t start finding it annoying until 3.0. back pre-97 any time i got a Guyute I freaked out.

    i think they purposefully constructed a show light on big jams, but with impeccable flow, creative setlist construction, and 2 of the biggest bustouts of all-time, thus making it one of the most beloved shows in their career, in the middle of their most popular tours ever, based upon the fact they jammed everything at any time.

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    Not sure i get the defensive remarks.

    ((No one can say anything except perfect glowing reviews of the whole tour?))
    ^ nah dude, some of it is only ‘really good’ and not ‘All Time.’

    Peeps got their panties in a bunch!!!
    I was happy to see jtran, commented cause his post seemed right on , when comparing shows inside of Fall 97 as a container.

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Love you gents.

    Always happy to see actual phish talk. This 20YL fall 97 listening is the best.

  20. realoutcasty Says:

    the BEST thing about Fall ’97 is that I can look at the timings, and see a long jam, and immediately know it was awesome. the whole, “just because it’s 20 mins doesn’t mean it was a good jam” argument does not apply this tour. If they jammed, it was f’in hot.

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    Actually listened to the 12/7 Timber to start my day. And was lovin it,♡
    was thinking bout how they used that song to kick off sets, and spring board into more classic style ‘psych phish’ jamming before bringing out the new found funk.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    Nice ROC.. if you see 20 min from Fall 97. Do not miss it. No chances it’s anything except full grandeur.

  23. Drew Cluley Says:

    FWIW – 12/6/97 was a “saturday night special” – 12/7/97 was a “never miss a sunday” –
    Or ???? I’m not versed enough to know when Sunday’s became do not miss, and saturday’s often became jukebox shows. I guess for Fall 97 it was not a yet set that way.

  24. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    I’m just being silly, LU. More silly ball busting than panties ruffled. Maybe a little wedgie. Tone is hard to convey on a message board, know what I mean

  25. realoutcasty Says:

    BTW – listening to Telluride ’88 and Sloth comes on. Never paid attention after 24 years to notice the Real Out Casty lyric in Sloth. Now my handle makes sense. Thanks T3.

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