Don’s Pick: Grateful Dead Live at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT – May 11, 1981

In the annals of Grateful Dead history, certain concerts stand out as shining examples of the band’s unparalleled prowess and ability to captivate audiences. Among these legendary performances is the show at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 11th, 1981. This week, Dead Set Live is proud to present “Don’s Pick,” a special spotlight on this iconic concert that has become a cherished favorite among Deadheads worldwide.

An Unforgettable Evening of Music on this day but 1981. From the moment the Grateful Dead took the stage at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, it was clear that something magical was in the air. The evening kicked off with the infectious energy of “New Minglewood Blues,” immediately drawing listeners into the groove and setting the stage for an unforgettable journey through the band’s extensive catalog.

As the night unfolded, the Dead treated the audience to a masterful blend of classic tunes and mesmerizing improvisations. Highlights of the set included soulful renditions of favorites like “Sugaree,” “El Paso,” and “Jack-A-Roe,” each delivered with the trademark passion and precision that defined the band’s live performances.

Musical Exploration and Adventure. One of the defining characteristics of the Grateful Dead’s live shows was their commitment to musical exploration and adventure. This concert was no exception, with the band diving into extended improvisations and transcendent jams that pushed the boundaries of traditional song structures.

A standout moment of the evening came during the performance of “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire On The Mountain,” where the Dead seamlessly blended intricate melodies and hypnotic grooves to create a sonic tapestry that enveloped the audience in pure bliss. The journey continued with “C.C. Rider,” “To Lay Me Down,” and a mesmerizing rendition of “Playing In The Band” that served as a launching pad for musical exploration.

A Fitting Conclusion as the night drew to a close, the Grateful Dead treated the crowd to a rousing encore that included “China Doll,” “Around And Around,” and “Good Lovin’,” leaving fans on a high note and craving more. The show concluded with a high-energy rendition of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” sending everyone home with smiles on their faces and memories to last a lifetime.

A Timeless Tribute to Musical Excellence. The Grateful Dead’s performance at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 11th, 1981, remains a timeless tribute to the band’s enduring legacy and their ability to create magic on stage. With its diverse setlist, mesmerizing improvisations, and electrifying energy, this concert continues to resonate with Deadheads and music lovers alike, serving as a testament to the transcendent power of live music.

New Minglewood Blues
El Paso
Beat it on Down the Line
Row Jimmy
It’s All Over Now
Lazy Lightnin’
Don’t Ease Me In

Scarlet Begonias
Fire on the Mountain
C.C. Rider
To Lay Me Down
Playin’ in the Band
The Wheel
Playin’ in the Band
China Doll
Around and Around
Good Lovin’


1 thought on “Don’s Pick: Grateful Dead Live at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT – May 11, 1981”

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