photo by sypsyn

Every dedicated Phish fan has a favorite “Tweezer.” Some like the older versions that are strange and quirky, some like their Tweezers as funky as possible, and others like them super spacey. Of course, because this song has long been considered one of the band’s biggest “jam vehicles,” there are many versions of “Tweezer” that feature any and all styles of Phish improvisation…

I don’t doubt that there might be better versions out there, but this one from 12-6-97 — right smack in the middle of the band’s fall ’97 funk phase — gets my top spot for ‘epic’ Tweezers:

I think my favorite aspect of this version is the way it progresses. The band creates these long jamming ‘movements,’ going from deep, dark funk to a spacey, major-chord jam (with Trey’s lead lines soaring), only to end up in some sort of post-rock, atmospheric breakdown of noise. And just as it begins to move into complete outer space, the band somehow locates a rock beat and Trey drops the opening chords of Jimi Hendrix’s “Izabella.”

Of course, in fine Phish fashion, the band brings back the funkiness in a sweet “Izabella” outro jam that features some great solo breakdowns by Mike, Page, and finally by Trey. With all the “Cow Funk” shenanigans of this second set, I had to at least offer these two tracks for good measure:

(Unfortunately, there’s just no good spot to break up any of these tracks. I highly recommend checking out the entire show, which you can grab here)

Those of you familiar with most of the gems from the Fall ‘97 tour probably already know these tracks well. But whether you’re new to this era of Phish or have been hearing these for years, it doesn’t matter….tracks like these just never really get old.

So what’s your favorite ‘epic Tweezer?’

  • Hiddenaway

    First discussion I’ve found on the web with so much respect given to 11/17/97.  It’s usually not even thrown in the top 10.  My favorite is also McNichols (can you imagine that it was the first song of the FIRST SET??).  I haven’t heard all of the others so can’t say for sure of best of all time, but I’d also throw Atlanta 6/24/00 into the mix.  While the Denver Tweezer had beautiful melodic and rhythmic passages and perfect band synchronization based on the gorgeous 97 space funk, the Atlanta Tweezer has more variety, switching keys at least three times and moving through multiple, very different sections, from deep funk, to prog rock to raging Phish major chord epicness at the end

  • cookiepuss

    02-28-2003 Nassau!!!  I am VERY partial to Fall ’97 on every level.  But the 26-minute Tweezer and the entire rest of the show (especially the magnificent 1st set ‘Gin’ and ‘Back On the Train’) rival anything from that legendary run.  Even before the jam, you can tell the band is just blazing and about to go supernova.  02-26-03 from Worcester two nights before is a great companion show and is equally superb (check out the YEM, Moma, Maze, Stash and Ghost for “best ever”-type versions). 

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