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:

    Fine, forget i asked.

  2. jdub Says:

    I knew this would spark goodness. Alpha uber duex would be a treat.

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    The best thing about revisiting the AÜ is that I did that in like 2010 so there are a bunch I’d songs that didn’t even exist that will feature brightly

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Also, you might want to check phinest version as that essentially gets to what you are looking for here in theory

  5. sumodie Says:

    If the entire BB agreed upon a top 10 GOAT then I would be forced to disagree with at least one pick

    So realoutcasty comes from The Sloth? Yet more proof that the only lyrics I know are for Happy Birthday

  6. jdub Says:

    Tbh, and i hope it is obvious, i am only trying to spark discussion while giving me reason to listen to primo phish as i fall prey to old listening habits and dont stray from my faves.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    A lot of what I do lately is to look at shows from the day’s date and go through em. I’ve found so many unsung gems that way

  8. jdub Says:

    Yeah, fall 97 20 yl has been awesome. Been doing that more or less.

  9. Random Poster...Nutbag 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.

    ^^Wow. They should call you the Sloth for that one. LLFA.

  10. BooVT Says:

    Riverport Gin

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    I wonder which Alpine Tweezer Miner meant. There are a few contenders. 98, 2000, 2015. I dig em all.

    Vegas Wolf and Quad Halleys I’ll commit too. 7/23/97 Ghost my #1 usually.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    If you want to get a group thing together I could make a spreadsheet for it.

    Suggested method:

    Put the top 20 or so nominees on it. Everyone gets 10 votes, ranked, weighted in order so your #1 gets 10 points, #2 gets 9, etc. Highest vote totals win. No anonymous voting only known posters with handles and you gotta put your name on it.


  13. MrCompletely Says:

    Vegas Wolf and the big MLT are my top two then a bunch of all that

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    And every ambient jam played all at once, overlapping

  15. phishm Says:

    I could of sworn that one night they played my favorite jam ever. It was so intense. It just had to be the best jam ever. I mean how could it not? Just everything that ever made sense was played in a way I never thought it could be played. Just phenomenal. Awestruck ever since.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    If you pay for Sirius XM you’re now paying Steve Bannon’s salary


    Ya know

    Think about that for a sec

  17. Diego Says:

    Mann Twist

    also huge fan of 2003 Nassua Tweezer but likely not a top 10er I guess.

  18. stapes Says:

    Underdog choice : IT Ghost

  19. jdub Says:

    IT Waves, totally forgot about that one.

  20. Diego Says:

    Cypress Drowned>After Midnight

    IT Waves

  21. MiA Says:

    Cypress Drowned>After Midnight great choice.

    I’m all in on all of these, and realized my top 10 GOAT is now top 30 GOAT.

    Miner’s list is spot on.

    Any 20 minute BAG is up there.

    07-09-99 MPP Mike’s > Sweet Emotion > Twist > Groove

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

  23. realoutcasty Says:

    Sirius not renewed after that news.

    MR C – i think you should do that.

  24. jtran Says:

    penn state simple soundboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. MiA Says:

    IT Ghost floored me with the largest glowstick war I’ve ever seen in my life. Way above and beyond Great Went’s Hood or anything even at Big Cypress. I had to sit down for a few seconds.

    I have maybe listened to it 3x since then, because I haven’t been able to experience that headful, smears and stutters and orangeness again.

    Top 20 concert experience too.

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