Pull the boot down (the 2000+ covers the lower part of the handle). The forward face of the base has a clip in it. It helps if you're in 1st gear on the shifter. Get a small screwdriver or knife point, and pull the clip straight out towards the front of the car. Lift the shifter handle up.
The 87-99 console shifters are identical, except the leather boot doesn't cover the lower part of the shifter handle.