TVD Radar: Grateful Dead, Road Trips: From Egypt with Love 2CD and Dick’s Picks: Oklahoma City Fairgrounds Arena 6LP in stores 3/22 & 4/22

VIA PRESS RELEASE | There are only a few lucky souls who witnessed the Grateful Dead playing perhaps the most mysterious and majestic venue of them all, the desert grounds surrounding the Great Pyramid of Giza. So, when the newly inspired band returned home to San Francisco in the fall of 1978, they and promoter Bill Graham arranged for a five-night stand at Winterland complete with a slide show of their Egyptian escapades to bring a little Middle Eastern flavor to their beloved Bay Area venue.

But a slide show isn’t all they brought back from Egypt; master oud player Hamza El-Din accompanies them here on his composition “Ollin Arageed” (which segues into “Deal,” a transformation only the Dead could pull off). And this Road Trip—which excerpts the final two, October 21-22, 1978 shows of the Winterland run—brings in some heavyweight homegrown talent, too, in the persons of War harmonica player Lee Oskar (on the “Got My Mojo Working”/”The Other One”/”Stella Blue”/”Sugar Magnolia” medley) and Quicksilver Messenger Service guitar giant John Cipollina (on the “Not Fade Away”/”Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” medley).

But for many, the highlight just might be the “Scarlet Begonias”/“Fire on the Mountain” pairing, which captivatingly captures the exploratory nature of both the band and the occasion. This one’s a “Betty Board” in HDCD sound, augmented in places by audience recordings…first time available at music retail!

Our previous LP releases of Grateful Dead concerts from the Dick’s Picks series have encompassed the years of 1969, 1972, 1974, and 1977…but there’s one year on that list that is conspicuous by its absence. That’s right…we have yet to release a concert on vinyl from what is arguably the peak year of Dead touring, 1973! And what was the peak tour from that year? Yup, the fall Midwest tour. So, the choice of Dick’s Picks Vol. 19 as our next vinyl “trip” was an easy one.

It was the first concert of the tour, and in fact at the time it was the first full 1973 concert to be released. More importantly, with the release of Wake of the Flood just a few days prior, it finds the band invigorated with a wealth of fresh material to explore, highlighted by stellar (no pun intended) renditions of “Stella Blue” and “Eyes of the World.” And the two sidelong numbers on the set, “Playing in the Band” and “Dark Star” (which leads into a dazzling “Mind Left Body Jam” and a stirring “Morning Dew”), achieve sheer improvisational bliss.

The original sound mix on this one is superb, and we’ve taken great care to preserve it and even improve upon it for this release, with mastering for vinyl from the original tapes by the set’s original mastering engineer, Jeffrey Norman, lacquer cutting by Clint Holley and Dave Polster at Well Made Music, and a 180-gram black vinyl pressing at Gotta Groove Records. We’ve also included an insert sporting the graphics from the original release, housed inside a two-piece hardshell box that we’ve hand-numbered. Limited to 4500 6-LP sets.

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