Rocking the Cradle: Grateful Dead, Egypt 1978
ROAD TRIPS 1.4
From Egypt With Love
The two-CD Road Trips set,
plus a third Bonus Disc,
is drawn from the two
shows of the series that are in the vault,
October 21 and 22, 1978.
More Egypt '78
Egypt In The Archives
The Egypt Shows
Enjoy a short video montage from the
Egypt '78 DVD.
Watch a Video of Bertha in Egypt,
Listen in on an interview
with Richard Loren on how Egypt
At Long Last...
2 Disc Set + 1 DVD
Good things come to those who wait! First, it took 30 years to produce this ultra-cool 2CD/DVD set from the Dead’s legendary September 1978 run at the Sound & Light Theater, outside Cairo, nestled in the dunes just a short mummy-walk from the Great Pyramid and the mysterious Sphinx. Then, Dead Heads had to endure the long, restless weeks between the announcement of the release and when they could actually order it. Well, ring them bells, because the wait is over! Dead.net is NOW accepting orders for this beautiful and historic package, Rocking the Cradle: Grateful Dead, Egypt 1978, which includes two exceptional music CDs and a DVD with over 95 minutes of concert footage from the Egypt shows (plus an impressionistic “Vacation Tapes” mini-documentary that shows the band and Dead family at play).
Much has been written about this storied adventure: About the band’s long-standing desire to play in “places of power,” as Phil put it years ago… The incredible logistical gymnastics necessary to get permission for this strangest of American rock bands to bring their peculiar alchemy to the cradle of the ancient world… The huge, scattered caravan of crazies that descended on Cairo from the U.S. and Europe, drawn to the desert by some irresistible force… The sheer magnitude of shipping in tons of sound equipment, setting up in 110-degree heat, maxing out the local power grid, trying to turn the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid into an echo chamber (alas, Osiris would have none of that!)… The wondrous interplay at each of the three concerts between Nubian drummers and singers and the Grateful Dead… The miraculous final show, during a total lunar eclipse… The synchronicity of that last show and the signing of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel… Magical horse and camel rides under the desert moon…Trips up and down the Nile… High adventure at every turn!
The three Egypt concerts—September 14, 15, 16, 1978—were captured on a 24-track tape recorder with an eye towards putting out a live album to help defray the (considerable) cost of the expedition. When the Dead got home, however, they discovered that the tapes of all of the first night and part of the second were not useable because of technical problems. Then the band got wrapped up in finishing their Shakedown Street album (begun before the Egypt venture), and soon the notion of putting out the Egypt album lost its momentum. But just as Howard Carter and all those other explorers in the ’20s and ’30s couldn’t stay away from the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the Dead weren’t about to let those Egypt multitracks stay buried by the sands of time. Next thing you know there’s a phone call to ace GD mixer Jeffrey Norman and he and vaultkeeper David Lemieux discover that despite the problems with the first night’s tapes, there’s still lots of great material available from nights two and three, including: a dynamite “Shakedown Street” (just the second live version ever), “Truckin’,” an exquisite “Stella Blue,” “Eyes of the World,” fresh takes on then-new songs such as “Stagger Lee” and “I Need A Miracle,” and the hypnotic Egyptian tune called “Ollin Arageed” that features Hamza El Din and other percussionists, who are then joined by the Dead for a jam into “Fire on the Mountain.” Wow!
And the concert video, though rough around the edges in places, is quite a revelation as well. Not only does the DVD include many of the best tunes on the CDs—you’ll dig seeing Jerry do some pretty energetic thrashing here and there—it contains two songs not on disc—“Bertha” and “Good Lovin’.” The concert material has been mixed in both stereo and surround sound, with two listening options: DTS 5.1 and PCM Stereo. The beautifully designed booklet (with cover inspired by the late, great Alton Kelley’s Egypt 1978 tour poster) contains a revealing essay by longtime Ice Nine Publishing chief (and Egypt trip co-organizer) Alan Trist, and many rare photos. All that’s missing is sand, the smell of camels and some “hubbly-bubbly”!
So don’t delay! Order Rocking the Cradle: Grateful Dead, Egypt 1978 today by going Here.
1. “Jack Straw”
2. “Row Jimmy”
3. “New, New Minglewood Blues”
5. “Looks Like Rain”
6. “Stagger Lee”
7. “I Need A Miracle”
8. “It’s All Over Now”
1. “Ollin Arageed”
2. “Fire On The Mountain”
3. “Iko Iko”
4. “Shakedown Street”
8. “Stella Blue”
9. “Around And Around”
2. “Good Lovin’”
3. “Row Jimmy”
4. “New, Minglewood Blues”
6. “Looks Like Rain”
8. “Ollin Arageed”
9. “Fire On The Mountain”
10. “Iko Iko”
11. “I Need A Miracle”
12. “It’s All Over Now”
Featurette: “The Vacation Tapes”
Road Trips Vol. 1, No. 4 features Winterland ’78 “From Egypt With Love” shows!
It must be the Curse of the Pharaoh’s Tomb or something, because once we’d put together Rocking the Cradle: Grateful Dead, Egypt ’78, we couldn’t get Egypt out of our system. Suddenly it seemed only natural that the next Road Trips should be culled from the great five-night “From Egypt With Love” run the Dead played at Winterland a month after they returned from Cairo. Each night the band treated the hometown fans to an extensive slide show of their travels, and at two of the concerts, Hamza El Din joined the Dead for versions of “Ollin Arageed” that helped summon even more of the flavor of Egypt. Harmonica ace Lee Oskar (of War) showed up a couple of nights, and at the final show, John Cipollina added his distinctive guitar to the back half of the second set. The two-CD Road Trips set is drawn from the final two shows of the series, October 11 and 22, 1978. Get complete order information Here.
...Smell the tail of the dragon...
I pre-ordered the large package (RT, Rockin' the Cradle, and t-shirt). My card has been charged, but it's 10-5-08 and I have nothing. I have called and e-mailed dead.net customer service and no response. As someone who pre-orders everything they release, even though compilations are a definite "step back", I am very disappointed with the way this order is being handled. Now, instead of listening to the tunes, I just get to read the reviews. THIS SUCKS!
If I had to choose between 'Rocking the Cradle' and 'From Egypt with Love', there is just no contest - 'From Egypt with Love' (Road Trips Vol 1 No 4) is head and shoulders above the Egypt performances. Fortunately, I don't have to choose, and although I think the playing on 'Rocking the Cradle' is not prime Dead, it is still the Dead - and I've yet to hear any Dead that isn't great.
Nonetheless, the playing on Rocking the Cradle, by Dead standards seems lackluster. At times it as if Jerry is trying to find the groove and is having trouble getting it to click - to use a oft quoted notion, he seems to be playing the music, rather than the other way around through much of the songs. This is just part of the deal though: part of the true beauty of Garcia is his ability to completely evolving new and shocking music on the spot - but when one tries to do that - takes those risks - there will always be moments it doesn't quite go off right. Still, there are some wonderul moments where he finds it and that state of musical bliss emerges. So, I would give it a B- or so (I need to listen to it again though). Don't get me wrong though: I am glad to have it and very pleased that Rhino released it. Part of the fun is really seeing the ebb and flow not just of one sequence of songs, or even one night, but how the band would find certain peaks and valleys throughout a year and throught their career. So it is great to have - and fun to be critical.
Road Trips Vol 1 No 4 is a different story all together: this music is the real deal! Probably an A- (and just so you know, I prefer '69-'74 stuff for the most part - again, it is all good - but this period was the best in my mind). The whole band is just hitting it. Here the music is playing them for sure. I've only listened once, but some of these versions of certain songs may be near the top of the list of those I've heard - and every song is played with passion and really takes off. The Passenger and Stagger Lee stood out on the first disc (of course the Got My Mojo Working>The Other One>Stella Blue is classic - that goes without saying). On the second, Jack Straw and NFA rip!
Now there is the whole issue of "drop outs" where a lower quality source was spliced on (sorry don't know the technical terms). Of course, it would be better without these patches (3 I can recall) ... but let's face it - this stuff is so good it is completely worthwhile to get even if there are some sound issues. Also, they really aren't that intrusive - for the most part the sound is great on these discs. I am happy this was released and I think a fine job was done with it. Imagine if Dick's Picks Vol 22 wasn't released because it has some sound issues!
Still, as a complaint (it wouldn't be a post without one): it probably should have been revealed up front that there were these three issues. Again, it is worth getting despite them - but full-disclosure is always nice. There is also the seeming lack of quality control - I say this not just to complain, but just to let the powers that be know, that many of us are encountering such issues, and so hopefully they can be addressed in the future (I am sure Rhino doesn't like having to send out replacement discs anymore than we like having to go through the hassel of getting them).
All and all, I am happy with the stuff - keep the jam coming! We are very lucky that there is a steady diet of Dead stuff coming our way. Sorry for the long post.
The sound is superb and the video quality is excellent on the DVD, better than I expected. The CD audio quality is much higher than recent Pick's from this era. The quality of some of the playing will have you realing and wondering if it was the kool aid.The second set has the most enjoyable and rewarding sounds and you will love it! I will mention the Shakedown, and the different key they jammed in, as the highlight. The bonus disc has a great Estimated> Eyes inwhich Bob forces a different tempo that I really love and Jerry's solos are quite nice. The SSDD is great with Bob & Donna laughing to start it.
I still have to watch the home movies
Here is my 2 cents. I have now had time to listen to the CDs and watch the DVD. I am really happy to have this set! To date, I have only heard low-sound quality MP3 crap which does not do this music any justice. Jeffrey Norman's work is spectacular and the Plangent processing sounds like it has benefited the old analog tapes. The Jerry and Phil show is amazing to watch on the DVD. Yes, Keith appears to be comatose so he doesn't step up when it seems Jerry wants him to, but Jerry takes over when he reads the deal and blasts off. It isn't spacy like everyone assumes it should have been-it is more like the 1971 Dead-shoot em up-but with some very tasty emotional and articulate performances in my opinion. I like the slower tempo on some of the stuff-it really works to me and I also like it when Jerry shreds. I, for one say "It is all good". Money well spent-keep them coming. Now "From Egypt with Love".
Why has nobody (including Rhino) mentioned the fact that they cut ten minutes out of the drums/space after Shakedown Street?!? What a total rip-off! I guess I could have calculated the available time on the disc, but I never IMAGINED they would do something like that. That was the only good outside playing from the whole run....
hot guitar wrote:
"Pardon me for saying the unthinkable, but I think the quality of the performance is rarely inspiring. Of course, the event itself was historic. But the music, the vocals, the playing is disappointing."
I can't disagree...I love this band, have for 35 years, collect everything that's released, but in my opinion Road Trips 4 is way better in terms of playing than Egypt, Keith is barely there, Jerry is out of sync with the others, they're just not together, not in sync with each other. I would have to think that this is why they did not release this 30 years ago.The audio quality is amazing, especially on the DVD, but something's missing playing-wise.
Here's my point: Why release these shows which are of definite HISTORICAL value but questionable AUDIO value? How many will listen to these shows again and again?
I've personally had copies of the Kesey films and the show footage for three years now and while it IS interesting to see the Boys and the family tour the ruins of Egypt, there is not alot high quality playing happening, for WHATEVER reason. The best part, IMHO is the “Ollin Arageed” section (which I think teases towards a Dark Star which doesn't happen, but what do I know?). Everything else is very so-so.
But here's the KEY point: Why not release an audio & DVD set of the Creamery show (8-27-72)? How many have seen that? Or perhaps the video of Copenhagen 4-17-72? The 2-14-70 film is decent also, but not high quality video. Bill Graham has an AMAZING store of film from his venues. Did you know he regularly set up cameras? Did you know that MANY venues have "house cameras" (Capitol Theatre, NJ is one with a HUGE amount of footage. I have an amazing, epic Springsteen from 78 from there, but I digress....)
The Rockpalast performance with the Who (3-28-81)? How about JGB 11-12-91? The Boys have alot of great material that they won't/can't/don't release. And they shouldn't use the "excuse" of a lack of interest. Who here doesn't want to see pre-74 film? Or for that matter pre-80 film?
If they release this performance, and the "mix-tape" RTs stuff, why not release the amazing partial shows that we all could probably list. This is disappointing. But perhaps the people at Rhino have a different sense of what "the fans" desire. But clearly there is better material aching for a home.
I suggest doing things "the old way", as I do, stick with "fan-made" production that are traded for free and made with love of the band in mind.
Also, remember, for YEARS the Boys didn't want aud tapes made. How many stories are there of Healy and others cutting mic cables in the 1970s? Keep that in mind.
I just got the Egypt package with t-shirt (no road trips) and I'm in the middle of the dvd and I gotta say it's awesome! I had some of the egypt footage on my computer and I can't believe how well they have restored this stuff... I love all of the shots of the heads in the crowd - too funny! And yeah, some of the tunes aren't the best they ever played, but wtf - it's the dead! we should be glad ANY of this ended up on film. That being said, some of these performances really rock and Jerry's playing is smokin'!
btw, I had no shipping issues - everything is in perfect shape. :-)
I don't have any glue issues, but....
From the performance, to the amateurish video, to the pop-up whatever you call them things in the cd case, this whole thing is a novelty item. And sure, it plays to the history of it and all.
And that's cool, and it is fun, and I'm not sorry I bought it, even though I'm not going to get much mileage out of it. But hey, there's a load of stuff in the vault I would like to see, and hear, much more than this. So I remain hopeful (and the 11/73 box set keeps me optimistic and patient).
I received mine as well, and I also had a minor glue issue here. The side where cd one slips into the glue came undone. (I am not a fan of the new packaging regarding the Road trips series. While I'm happy to see them using recycled paper packing for the cds, the art work will not last as long. The reason I purchase most of the cds is that I am a collector of music, and want it to last for years to come. I would like to see them go back to the same packaging as the Dicks picks. I'm sure its not as cost effective, but for the collector, it is much nicer.)
I just watched the dvd and its about what I expected. I knew the technology for recording wasn't all that great 30 years ago. Most of it is relatively clear, but there is one section during Minglewood it gets a bit fuzzy, but other than that it is similar to the quality of the Closing of Winterland dvds. Happy to have the footage at all is how I see it. I was happy that they put this all together for us, and am looking forward to the rest of the cds.