That Time ABC News Covered The 1978 Grateful Dead Egyptian Shows

Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978 is a live album by the Grateful Dead, consisting of two CDs and one DVD. It was recorded at the Gizah Sound and Light Theater in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt on September 15 and 16, 1978.

Most of the tracks on the DVD also appear on the two CDs. Besides the concert material, the DVD includes a 15-minute feature called The Vacation Tapes, containing footage, shot on 8 mm film, of the band and crew visiting tourist attractions in Egypt. A bonus disc of additional tracks recorded at these dates was included with early shipments of the album.

Bassist Phil Lesh was instrumental in arranging the concert. Describing the planning he said “it sort of became my project because I was one of the first people in the band who was on the trip of playing at places of power. You know, power that’s been preserved from the ancient world. The pyramids are like the obvious number one choice because no matter what anyone thinks they might be, there is definitely some kind of mojo about the pyramids.” Lesh contacted promoter Bill Graham in January 1976 but found that he was too busy. Through an introduction to Joe Malone, a professor at the American University of Beirut, Lesh made contacts with the Egyptian government. Lesh did not want the band to take any money from Egypt, and asked that proceeds from the concert be donated to the Department of Antiquities, the charity preferred by Jehan Sadat.

The Grateful Dead only played three concerts in Egypt in their thirty-year history — September 14, 15, and 16, 1978. The shows were performed very close to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid. A total lunar eclipse occurred during the third concert.