Phish Unleashes Stellar ‘Tweezer’ In Raleigh On Fall Tour 1999

By Scott Bernstein Dec 16, 2020 6:34 am PST

This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.

Phish‘s penultimate stop of Fall Tour 1999 was one of the band’s two shows to take place on this date over the past 25 years. The band’s December 16, 1999 concert at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina was highlighted by a +21-minute “Tweezer” worthy of any list compiling the 10 best versions of the song in Phish history.

Reynolds Coliseum is located on the campus of North Carolina State University and is the former home of the school’s men’s basketball team. Phish’s visit 21 years ago today still stands as their only performance at the 14,000-person capacity venue.

More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
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The first set contained 10 songs and was a fairly uneventful frame. Both “Chalk Dust Torture” and “Limb By Limb” feature stellar guitar work from Trey Anastasio yet never get “out there.” The “Roggae” is also worth hearing for the powerful fills provided by bassist Mike Gordon and a particularly slow and frothy “Camel Walk” was one of just two played in 1999.

Phish took it up a few notches for the second set in Raleigh. A 23-minute “Sand” got the action underway and saw the band explore dark and evil soundscapes. Anastasio spent a bulk of the jam playing the keyboard that was part of his rig at the time, while Page McConnell moved between synths during the adventurous “Sand.” Drummer Jon Fishman rarely alternated the beat at any point throughout the lengthy version. “Sand” came to a close with a strong peak and gave way to one of just two versions of “The Mango Song” performed that year. Oddly, the other 1999 renditions of “Camel Walk” and “The Mango Song” both came on July 24, 1999 at Alpine Valley.

A gorgeous “Wading In The Velvet Sea” followed “The Mango Song” and led into an ambient jam that connected the ballad to “Tweezer.” The improv is unlike any other to emerge out of “Wading” with Fish playing vacuum at one point. Fans at the Reynolds Coliseum went wild when Trey kicked into the “Tweezer” riff. The band joined forces on a powerful groove to start the jam as Anastasio laid down a delay loop and spent a few minutes on keys.

Trey finally reached for his guitar around the eight-minute mark and the jam took on a new dimension when Fishman changed up the beat to a groove akin to “Buffalo Bill.” Fish shined throughout the “Raleigh Tweezer,” which was a vast contrast to the “Sand” from earlier when he stuck to the same beat for the whole jam. Phish patiently explored various jam spaces before modulating to a major key and connecting on a pretty chord progression. The quartet was in lockstep with Trey focusing on an anthemic riff he varied ever so slightly.

While Anastasio’s guitar soared atop the mix, each of his mates made fine contributions to the majestic “Tweezer.” The four-piece built to the biggest climax of the evening and there were few in the building who weren’t dancing their hearts out. Phish found the promised land. Once there, they milked the mammoth chord progression for all it was worth. Fish finally went back to the standard “Tweezer” beat as Anastasio let a distorted riff ring out for what seemed like 10 minutes but in actuality was just two.

Phish capped the set with a potent “Runaway Jim.” The encore featured the tour debut of “Bittersweet Motel” and the expected “Tweezer Reprise.” Listen to the “Raleigh Tweezer” below and head to LivePhish.com to stream the entire show:

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