Houston Calling

Review: Grateful Dead, Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978

October 12th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Grateful Dead
Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978

For many, the Grateful Dead bring to mind a period of time best left in the past. Since Jerry Garcia’s passing in the mid-90s, the band’s legacy has mostly diminished from the public eye. The Deadhead, hippy culture that thrived in the 60s and 70s automatically turns a lot of people off of the Dead’s music–and I can understand why. However, the output of live material released over the past decade never ceases to renew my interest in their music. With the release of the long-revered 1978 shows played among the pyramids of Egypt outside Cairo, the Dead finally give the mass public the chance to hear the music from these legendary shows. However, sometimes the legend is better than the real thing.

Obviously, the setting of these concerts makes them unique. This 2-CD/1-DVD set catches the band in front of pyramids that adds to the mystical and spacey feel of favorites like “Jack Straw,” “New, New Minglewood Blues,” and “Fire On The Mountain.” This period of the Dead’s music isn’t their finest by any stretch and Egypt 1978 isn’t likely to attract any new converts. Vocalist Donna Godcheaux’s off-key warbling makes much of the two-night set nearly unlistenable, and excessive guitar solos–long the trademark of the Dead’s live sets–tend to quickly lose focus. Egyptian pyramids are an excellent setting for a concert; in this case, however, the setting is much more interesting than the concert itself.

The set includes a booklet with a historial perspective of the shows and the live DVD also includes home videos of the band’s trip overseas.

Tags: Music · Reviews

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