***Note: Although the pyramids are in GIZA I am posting this information in both the GIZA and CAIRO forums, since many people ask about the S&L show in the Cairo forum.
I did a quick scan and didn't find any other posts about this so I thought it would be helpful to share this information about the new system and schedule for the S&L show.
For the last several years there have been 3 or 4 shows per night, each one broadcast in a different language… there was always an English show every night, and the other two or three shows were in either Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese or Arabic. Each language's time slot varied from day to day, for example the order of the shows on Wednesdays was English - French - German - Spanish, whereas on Thursdays it was Japanese - English - French - Arabic.
Under the newly instituted system, there will now be just TWO shows per night - the first one will always be English, and the second show will be broadcast in the language of the nationality of the majority of the audience(!). Everyone else will have to use headsets (which they charmingly call "translation devices") that will simultaneously transmit the show in the language of your choice. I believe that they use such headsets for the S&L show at Abu Simbel.
Now, I am all for the idea of having the first show every night in English, as it often appears that the majority of the audience are English speakers - that simplifies things enormously in my opinion - however I don't quite see how their system for the second show will work. According to my contact in the Sales & Marketing department of the company that puts on the S&L show, each night they will wait and see what the make up of the audience will be via ticket sales, and then broadcast the show in the language of the majority… which means that the rest of the audience will need to have the headsets.
Since the organizers obviously won’t know what nationality the majority of the audience are until everyone has bought a ticket and gone in, what happens to the people who are already inside? I imagine it means that EVERYONE has to state their nationality on the way in, EVERYONE has to take a headset for their native language, and then once everyone's inside and seated and the organizers tally up the nationalities, the lucky ones get to hear the show broadcast in their language (at great volume I might add) while the rest of the audience have to use their headsets and hope that it’s loud enough (and sufficiently synchronized) to compliment the visual spectacle unfolding before them. It strikes me as a kind Russian roulette - or should we call it Egyptian S&L roulette? "Good evening folks, and tonight's lucky winner is........................ Italy! Congratulazioni!!" Wheeeeeeee! :-)
If any recent visitors have had the fortune (or misfortune) to experience this new system I would certainly welcome your feedback!
As far as the timing of the shows under the new system, regular visitors to Egypt or long-term Trip Advisor users that have read my previous posts on this subject will know that there is no fixed (i.e. immutable) schedule for the S&L show... the timing of it varies according to the calendar (i.e. summer vs. winter schedule), the dates of the holy month of Ramadan (which change from year to year) and the date on which the clocks in Egypt are changed. (For background, see: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294201-i9404-k1429134-l8712726-Sound_Light_show_schedule_for_September_October-Cairo.html#8712726)
As I said, it can get pretty complicated!
Under the new system however I can tell you that, for now at least, things are a little simpler. I was told today by my S&L company contact today that the two nightly shows will be at 8.30pm and 10pm at least until mid/late September, at which point the timing of the changeover to the winter schedule will be decided…. i.e. the shows will start earlier. Unfortunately the S&L company's official web site has not yet been updated (no surprises there) so the show timetable therein (soundandlight.com.eg/Shows/…Timetable.aspx) is inaccurate as it still shows the former show times and languages. I will endeavour to add updates to this post as I receive them.
I have posted a lot of information in the past about the S&L show at Giza, such as how to get there by public transport, buying tickets, the best place to sit, etc. (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294201-i9404-k1429134-l8712726-Cairo.html#8712726 & http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294201-i9404-k240017-GIZA_Pyramid_Sound_and_Light_Show-Cairo.html) and, while much of it still applies, certain facts have changed… e.g. the show schedule (as mentioned above) and the cancelling of the stunning pre-show entertainment (awwww!) However, as mentioned in one of my posts, I always recommend that solo travellers (i.e. those of you not partaking of an organized package tour) who want to see the show check in advance with the ticket office to make sure that the show will take place on the night of your choice, since sometimes the whole program is cancelled when they put on special concerts or hire the area out for private parties, weddings, corporate events, etc. Tour companies and travel agents are normally informed in advance by the organizers and so they can change their clients' programs accordingly, however for solo travellers it’s a bit of a crap shoot. On at least 2 occasions in recent years (e.g. September 2007 and April 2009) the show was cancelled for three consecutive nights while the area was prepared for a special concert. As I said, it's always better to check. The phone numbers for the Giza S&L office can be found on their web site: soundandlight.com.eg/Shows/…HowtoReach.aspx
Best of luck everyone, and enjoy the show!