The Grateful Dead – “Road Trips Vol. 1, No. 4: From Egypt with Love” (2008)

August 14, 2012 at 8:34 am (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Grateful Dead)

The fourth installment of the Road Trips series. This review comes from Doug Collette, dated Dec. 8, 2008, from Glide magazine…

Approximately a month after returning from the historic adventure to the Great Pyramid (captured on Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978), the Grateful Dead staged a grand gesture of homecoming in the form of a three-night run at Winterland Arena. Little did they know at the time, these shows would be their last at the venue until they closed it at the end of the year or that these recordings of the October performances, thirty years later, would form the basis for the fourth installment of Road Trips.

From Egypt with Love is the latest edition compilation of this now year-old archive series. The third disc contains “If I Had the World to Give,” one of only three performances ever of this, one of Garcia and Hunter’s greatest love songs: Garcia marries melancholy and tenderness in his vocal here, so that it becomes an exquisite balance to a spacious exploration of Bob Weir’s “Estimated Prophet; ” within fifteen minutes, the band opens up the melody and the rhythm of the tune, to luxuriate in its basic riff.

Surprises abound throughout the two official discs as well. Bob Weir’s bottleneck playing, including some spirited interplay with Garcia, is tasteful and to the point. This rare rendition of Phil Lesh’s splendid rocker “Passenger” suggests the potential in the tune. Harpist Lee Oskar of War guests during fully half this first set and on  “Got My Mojo Working,” helps the group hearken back to the halcyon blues days of Pigpen and pay homage to their late comrade to boot.

Quicksilver Messenger Service’s John Cippolina isn’t so prominent the next night, but the delicate moment that is “Peggy-O” sets the tone for a gentle series of transitions from “Jack Straw” through “Scarlet Begonias” to “Fire on the Mountain,” prior to the appearance of the guitarist. Launched from an abbreviated interval of drums and further ignited by Lesh’s bass, the Grateful Dead certainly sound at home throughout the rousing closer, “Not Fade Away”/”Going Down the Road Feeling Bad.” But as suggested in the essay of Blair Jackson’s next to photos and memorabilia in the accompanying booklet, there’s an unusually warm glow emanating from all these performances.

Doug Collette


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