Ever since the first time “Tweezer” was played on 3.28.90, the song has journeyed to far-away places. This was always a surety whenever Trey began playing the droning intro notes to the song. However, when the song returned from its journey, the possibilities were endless. In ’94, the year that took the song further than ever before, this changed temporarily as “Tweezer” found a temporary landing pad in “Lifeboy”. Two polar opposite songs – one a playful jam vehicle with meaningless lyrics, the other a lyrical masterpiece with simple instrumentals – joined forces to create one of the most powerful song combinations in Phish history.
It all began on March 30, 1993 in the Hilton Ballroom in Eugene, OR, when the first “Tweezer>Lifeboy” took place. From the inception, this duo formed a lasting effect. This wild version of Tweezer journeyed far-out before finally reaching the discombobulated ending section. As the tempo slowed to a near halt, Trey began the intro to “Lifeboy”, providing a sense of musical release. On that night a bond was forged that would reemerge a year later on4.22.94 in Columbia, SC. Again, in Columbia, the band continued to push “Tweezer” further outside only to land in the comfort of “Lifeboy” once again.
The combination appeared once more on 5.4.94 before the two became attached for seven consecutive shows. This run began on 5.17.94 in Santa Barbara, CA, and ended on 6.23.94 in Pontiac, MI. During this period, the band continued to explore the song combination through extended jams, resulting in some of the best versions of “Tweezer” ever. Some exceptional versions include 5.22 from Vancouver, 5.28 from Monterey, and 6.23 from Pontiac. Although, the most notable, and perhaps the best occurrence of “Tweezer>Lifeboy” took place on 6.18.94 at UIC Pavilion, a show I have discussed endlessly. The pair appeared again in Holmden, NJ on 7.2.94 and in Mansfield, MA on 7.9.94. Both of these versions carried the trend, and feature spectacular jams. It became apparent during this period, to the fans, and clearly to the band, that these two songs shared a special relationship.
The pair continued to join forces throughout the rest of ’94, although far more sporadically than in the spring and summer. The first appearance took place in the second set of the fall ’94 tour opener in Bethlehem, PA on 10.7.94. This version of “Tweezer” was the first of many during fall ’94, a time that witnessed the song reach musical heights unheard from the band before. Although the two songs were not attached anymore, the combination began to serve as a rare treat saved only for special occasions.
The magical combination of “Tweezer>Lifeboy” saw its end at the Fleet Center in Boston on 12.30.96. Perhaps the band had fully explored the link between the two, and chose to move on. Who knows what drives Phish to do anything that they do. The “Tweezer” from 7.31.09 at Red Rocks featured the discombobulated composed section that often led into “Lifeboy”, but unfortunately this was not the case. We still await the day that these two powerhouses join forces again, recreating the magic from the past. For now check out this gem from the legendary fall ’94 tour.
This is without question one of the best versions of “Tweezer” ever, from a very special show (available for download below). The jam reaches toward the divine at one point before returning to the songs original frame. Once again, the discombobulated ending feeds into “Lifeboy”. The connection between the two songs can clearly be heard here as the outside tension that is built during the “Tweezer” jam, is resolved as the intro notes to “Lifeboy” take hold.
Set 1: Wilson > Sparkle > Simple, It’s Ice, If I Could, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, The Divided Sky, Amazing Grace
Set 2: Maze, Fee, Scent of a Mule, Tweezer, Lifeboy, You Enjoy Myself -> The Vibration of Life -> You Enjoy Myself, Tweezer Reprise
Encore: Sample in a Jar