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. jdub Says:

    Quad C Halley’s is a prime example of the searching for 15 minutes before finding pay dirt that Page speaks of during the IT video. A nice raging jam but shit don’t get real until like 20 minutes in. Then the heavens open up and my soul is violated once again by Trey.

  2. Sally Says:

    12/7/99 Halley’s is a def top 5 GOAT for me. I was listening to the Chicago Carini and Simple today and it gives me the same feels. This band, we are so lucky!

    Winds are crazy today, our fence blew over…that’s fine so long as there are no embers

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’ll take all 27 minutes of that beauty please and thank you. Sometimes the search is the goal.

    By the way, tonight want to speak with a professional about all this violation business.

  4. jdub Says:

    I have issues T3.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Uh… tonight should be you might. Weird autocorrect

  6. realoutcasty Says:

    so much violation

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Only a noob wouldn’t remember to bring the mental lube to an aural assault

  8. jdub Says:

    So what are peoples GOATs? Seems pretty arbitrary but I am curious what people hold dear.

    I haven’t listened to enough jams so I don’t count.

  9. jdub Says:

    That’s my problem right there T3.

  10. realoutcasty Says:

    i’m at the 8min mark of this Halley’s and fully ready to spin n my office.

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’ll throw a few out

    Quad C Halleys
    Raleigh 99 tweezer
    Providence Bowie
    Rupp Gin
    Vegas 96 mikes->simple->hood->paug
    Lowell Reba

    This could go on for a while…

  12. Sally Says:

    Dicks Light 2012

    Gonna be hard to pin down but I’m sure it will include a 1.0 Ghost, Tweezer, and Wolfmans

    Vegas 16 GA, DWD ?

  13. jdub Says:

    From 2000 alone I love

    6/14/00 Twist/jam
    5/22/00 Ghost
    9/14/00 Drowned

  14. jdub Says:

    A consensus top 10 BB GOAT would be telling. I love statistics and rankings btw.

  15. realoutcasty Says:

    Hampton Halleys
    Rupp Gin
    RCMH Ghost
    Cypress Disease
    Cincy Melt
    Quad C Halley

    This could go on for a while

  16. jdub Says:

    I am serious though, I wonder if we could whittle it down to 10 that we all agree on.

  17. realoutcasty Says:

    @jdub – consensus top 10 BB GOAT, played through the PA, on the hill over the firepit?? there’s an idea…..

  18. jdub Says:

    9/14/99 Bag

  19. jdub Says:

    I like it outcasty.

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    good luck agreeing upon 10. Here are some ideas off top of head.

    palace tweeze
    rc ghost
    nassau roses
    nassau twist
    fukuoka twist
    greek reba
    riverport gin
    raleigh tweeze
    worcester jim
    amsterdam stash
    alpine tweeze
    mchnichols ghost
    randall’s chalk
    vegas wolf
    star lake MLT

    gotta bounce…

  21. jdub Says:

    So I’ll start based on this page and my personal preference

    Palace Tweezer
    Fukuoka Twist
    Cypress Disease
    RCMH Ghost
    Providence Bowie
    Boise Bag
    Quad C Halley’s (not in my top 10)
    9/14/00 Drowned (I love love love the alien landscape)
    Amsterdam Stash

    Edit away…
    Rupp Gin

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Haha miner. I didn’t want to spam the page with a massive list. They are like my children. I could never pick or rank!

  23. jdub Says:

    oh come on T3, I rank my kids all the time. Right now my son is #1 and my daughter is in the doghouse, so she #2.

  24. realoutcasty Says:

    there are so many out many

    Gorge RnR? I could easily throw the Dicks Carini in there.

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    This just reminds me that I am seriously overdue in updating the AlphaÜber

    LLFA @jdub

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