Grateful Dead

Road Trips, Vol. 1 No.4: From Egypt With Love

In 1978, the Dead played a series of shows at a venue many Deadheads swear was just built for the band – The Great Pyramid of Giza. Still high from the shows, the band opened a five-night homecoming stand at San Francisco’s Winterland. The best of the two nights taped that October 21-22 is collected on this two-disc set of soundboard recordings, now in HDCD sound.

Along with usual suspects “Sugaree,” “U.S. Blues,” and “Jack Straw,” Egyptian master oud player Hamza El Din accompanies the band on his “Ollin Arageed.” His micro-tonal melodic lines providing a lovely cross-cultural with Jerry Garcia’s flowery phrasing as they segued seemlessly into the Dead’s “Deal.” Other guests include War harmonica player Lee Oskar (on “Got My Mojo Working”/“The Other One”/“Stella Blue”/“Sugar Magnolia”) and Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina (on “Not Fade Away”/“Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad”).

Still, the highlight here is the band’s stellar “Scarlet Begonias”/“Fire On The Mountain” medley. Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and bassist Phil Lesh interweave rhythm riffs and snaking lead lines. The extended jam blending these songs – and then the funky auto-wah solos in “Fire” – provide Garcia free rein to unreel his freest improvisations. Throughout, the Dead sound alive with born-again inspiration from their desert sojourn.

This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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