Mickey Hart Discusses Grateful Dead’s 1978 Egypt Trip

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Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart appeared as the special guest on the Shakedown Stream pre-show on Friday. Hart discussed The Dead’s 1978 trip to Egypt with hosts David Lemieux and Gary Lambert ahead of the webcast of Rocking The Cradle and The Vacation Tapes documenting GD’s September 1978 appearance at the pyramid complex on the famed Giza Plateau.

After Gary introduced Mickey as one of “the biggest Deadheads” he knows, Hart touted the livestream beneficiary, the Grateful Dead HeadCount Democracy Fund, and encouraged viewers to get out there and vote. Mickey then jumped right into discussing the Egypt trip and talked a bit about how the legendary event came together. “In the early days we always pondered playing some sacred places,” he said. “In about ‘76 or something like that, Phil [Lesh] and I had the idea that we needed somebody to take us to Eygpt, because we couldn’t do it ourselves. But we said, ‘let’s go see Uncle Bobo.’ So we went to see Bill Graham.” While the famed concert promoter thought Mickey and Phil were crazy, the wheels were in motion.

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Mickey also rapped about riding through the desert with Graham, who had secured “40 horses and 40 camels” to ride after the show to an oasis where the Dead family held an after party and the infamous “Great Tray Race” took place, which there is physical evidence of. Hart then talked about the scene from the stage as they played in front of the pyramids and the locals joining in to dance. Mickey also fielded a question from Gary about collaborating with Egyptian musician Hamza El Din. “Hamza, he was the soft side of percussion,” Mickey said. David then asked a question about the American Deadheads who made the trip to Eygpt to which Hart replied “it was hangout time,” among other things. It’s fascinating stuff.

Watch Mickey Hart’s entire interview on the Shakedown Stream pre-show below:

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