The Grateful Dead – Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978 – review

The album marks the 30th anniversary of The Dead’s historic concerts at Giza-More than 3 hours of rare and previously unreleased music remastered in HDCD plus over 100 minutes of extremely rare, previously unseen concert and behind the scenes footage.

Grateful Dead
Artist: Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978
Title: Grateful Dead
Label: Rhino
Rating: 8/10

Corporate line:
The album marks the 30th anniversary of The Dead’s historic concerts at Giza-More than 3 hours of rare and previously unreleased music remastered in HDCD plus over 100 minutes of extremely rare, previously unseen concert and behind the scenes footage.

The review:
Fans have been experiencing the Grateful Dead Egypt concert on bootlegs with variable qualities. By all indications this is a concert that should have been released on CD/DVD or some other audio/visual release long ago. Just listening the CD you can feel the immensity of the concert and when you watch it on DVD you can see it–but the visual is never as good as the audible version.

The DVD version is far too herky-jerky. It’s amateurish but even that won’t deter fans of the Dead. With two days of footage spread out over an hour you get some tasty bits to enjoy. It’s just a shame the quality wasn’t above average. It seems clear no one realized at the time the enormity of the concert so it wasn’t given the due at the time. If the Dead had enlisted a professional camera crew this might have been one of the great concert videos of all time.

The best aspects of the CD are the vast number of great songs. The recordings aren’t perfect by any means. There are reports of equipment failures and other reasons why everything didn’t go as planned, but you can’t argue with a set list that looks like “Sugar Magnolia,” “Terrapin Station,” “Looks Like Rain” and “Ramble on Rose.” There is a lot to love aurally–as long as you aren’t expecting perfection.

Here is the full album setlist:

Disc 1

1. “Jack Straw”

2. “Row Jimmy”

3. “New, New Minglewood Blues”

4. “Candyman”

5. “Looks Like Rain”

6. “Stagger Lee”

7. “I Need A Miracle”

8. “It’s All Over Now”

9. “Deal”

Disc 2

1. “Ollin Arageed”

2. “Fire On The Mountain”

3. “Iko Iko”

4. “Shakedown Street”

5. “Drums”

6. “Space”

7. “Truckin’”

8. “Stella Blue”

9. “Around And Around”

DVD

Track Listing

1.“Bertha”

2. “Good Lovin’”

3. “Row Jimmy”

4. “New, Minglewood Blues”

5. “Candyman”

6. “Looks Like Rain”

7. “Deal”

8. “Ollin Arageed”

9. “Fire On The Mountain”

10. “Iko Iko”

11. “I Need A Miracle”

12. “It’s All Over Now”

13. “Truckin’”

Featurette: “The Vacation Tapes”