Surrender to the Air was an effort of Trey Anastasio to bring contemporary musicians together to improvise in the free form style of the jazz musician Sun Ra and the Sun Ra Arkestra. This performance, and the previous night were, in conjunction with the previous month’s release of the Surrender to the Air album. The two sets featured entirely improvisational music. In addition to the performers listed, Page sat in keyboards for the second set. This was the final performance at The Academy.

Show Reviews

, attached to 1996-04-02


I_Run_OUTOFCONTROL These two shows are incredible displays of improv. The music is challenging to the ear, much like a deep Jim or some of the crazed ADHD-rock of 94-95 Phish, however this isn't our phavorite phour testing their jazz improvisational/technical boundaries within rock n roll. Surrender to the Air has strength in stylistic commitment and strength in numbers. The group are pioneers of the cosmos for two hours each night with the goal of deliberate exploration. Loss of control is the risk, and 11 virtuosos are the insurance. When one musician ventures too far, he can step back to safety and let the others steer the ship. As you'd expect, Fishman is in his element, and Trey can flex his abstract jazz chops without the pressure to lead the show. //

I like to think these shows were formative for Phish's late 90s development, especially for Trey. In 95 and earlier, Phish's improv is centered more on the rapid-fire introduction of and Hey-Hole practiced adaptation to new musical ideas. In these shows, Trey is patient and meticulous with his contributions, relying on the band to lead. This is a method we see more and more in 96 (see Rupp Gin), which becomes truly polished in 97 (see Amsterdam Stash and any cow phunk filth), and peaks at The Show (see Sand>Quadrophonic Toppling). //

I'm a fan of N2 over N1, mainly because we get fun vocal antics and grooves that leave a slim thread grounded to reality. Plus the Mad Scientist makes a guest appearance. Listen for the crowd reaction to Page taking the stage. The crowd is vocal and lively, assumingly atypical for a free form jazz show. Thankfully, this isn't your typical free form jazz show and the band feeds off the crowd. //

Must download AUD from Verno's Phish Odds and Ends blog post
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