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CD/DVD Review: Grateful Dead's Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978

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The Deal: Legendary performances in front of Great Pyramids offered up as double-live CD and single-DVD set.

The Good: In many interviews, guitarist Bob Weir has called the 1978 Egypt concerts one of his most memorable experiences playing with the band. Fantastic audio quality abounds as the band rambles through a number of classic songs and a few tracks from the then-soon-to-be-released Shakedown Street. "I Need a Miracle," one of the Shakedown songs, sounds just as good as ever. The band finds plenty of time for noodling jams including a 15-minute version of "Shakedown Street," 14-minute "Fire on the Mountain" and 10-minute "Truckin'." For a live recording, the mix is spectacular – you can easily pick out the strumming of Weir, the bass lines of Phil Lesh, the keyboards of Keith Godchaux. The DVD focuses on the second night, during which a rare lunar eclipse took place. Also included on the DVD is 15 minutes of "Vacation Tapes" showing the Dead climbing the Pyramids, setting up the stage and spending three days on the Nile.

The Bad: It's a sample of music history that would have been better presented as full concerts instead of pieces of two out of the three nights. The DVD, however, is all from the same night. While better production on the angles, etc., may be desired, can you really complain about seeing live footage from 1978 ... taken in Egypt ... in front of the Pyramids?

The Verdict: More than two hours of music on CD and an hour-and-a-half concert DVD that documents one of the band's most famous concerts. Break out your tie-dye, mellow out and enjoy.

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