Last month, my inner deadhead reared its head when I read that an official compilation was being released featuring a smattering tracks from the Dead’s 1978 three-night run in Egypt. If you’re any kind of fan on the band’s late seventies work/theatrics you have more than likely read tomes dedicated to the group’s pilgrimage to the pyramids. If so, you’re also aware that, despite the majestic setting, a lunar eclipse, and various pageantry, the shows were, by most accounts, sub par. Based on a cassette bootleg I heard over a decade ago I would say that is a fair assessment. But wait, don’t stop reading.
In this new context/packaging (entitled Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978) the Dead’s pilgrimage to Egypt is shown in a different light. Now, through the revisionist history of compiling the best tracks from each night, we are presented with an alternate view of the Egypt run; one far more in tune with what the band must have had in mind (they had originally planned to get a live album out of the trip, but alas, shit happens). Sure, it might be 30 years late, but this collection is by no means shabby, and genuinely presents some interesting moments, including “Ollin Arageed,” an Egytian themed tune the band worked up with Hamza El Din and a variety of guesting, local, percussionists.
Is this collection essential? For the casual fan, probably not. But let’s be honest, besides the near universal appeal of the Americana staples Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty how many “casual” Grateful Dead fans do you really know? No, this is for the faithful, the die hard — those who long ago bought into the myth. Thankfully, I count myself among them and our number is legion.
MP3: Grateful Dead :: Stella Blue (Egypt 1978)
MP3: Grateful Dead :: Ollin Arageed (Egypt 1978)
MP3: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals :: Wharf Rat (Live, Grateful Dead cover)
Amazon: Grateful Dead – Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978
+ + + + + + + + + + + + +
Grateful Dead Egypt – 1978 Fire On The Mountain/Stealie Flag Planting