Friday, October 10, 2008

Grateful Dead - Road Trips Vol. 1 #4: From Egypt with Love

The one that got away. Most of the attention in Dead land is going to the somewhat disappointing Egypt release. While it has its moments (particularly on the DVD) this release is the one that deserves the accolades. Shortly after returning to the U.S. the band played a legendary set of shows at the soon to be demolished Winterland in San Francisco. The shows were heavily influenced by the Egyptian trip, with slides being shown and Hamza El Din reprising his role as bridger of worlds. This two CD set brings together the best moments of two of those shows. Highlights include a rare and stellar version of “Got My Mojo Working” that leads into what are some of the highest energy versions of “The Other One” and “Stella Blue” from the second half of the band’s career. The power of these versions can’t be overstated. The second disc contains one of the sweetest “Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain” medleys ever. Following that is a long, jammed-out and fully realized “Not Fade Away/Goin’ Down The Road” featuring Quicksilver’s John Cipollina. For once, this coupling really hits all the right notes. This is the Dead just at the end of the silver era. After these shows they became a highly competent touring machine for another decade and a half, but much of the “mystery” of the early days was gone. This set comes with a bonus disc of even more great stuff from this classic run including one of only a couple of versions of “If I Had The World To Give” ever played.

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