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Grateful Dead

Celebrating 50 Years of Concerts at the WVU Coliseum
April 10, 1983

Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia plays guitar during the Coliseum concert in 1983. Black and white photo from the Monticola
Photo from the 1983 Monticola depicting Bob  Weir playing guitar on the Coliseum stage.
Left: Jerry Garcia.
Top: Bob Weir
Photos from the 1983 Monticola.
SHOW DATE: Sunday, April 10, 1983 • 8:00pm describes the Grateful Dead as "rock's longest, strangest trip, ... the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love, and mind expansion across the globe throughout the better part of three decades."

They brought their message of peace, love and understanding to Morgantown on a Sunday in 1983, and while fans of their music were ecstatic about the concert, the WVU Security Police (now knowns as the University Police Department) and the Morgantown Police Department were not so enamored. Their greatest concern was the influx of band's followers aka Dead Heads who faithfully followed the band from gig to gig setting up camp wherever the urge struck.

Lee Maddex, Archives Processing Assistant, WVRHC, recounted Morgantown Chief of Police John Cease's fears as reported in a "Dominion Post" interview in a blog post about the 1983 concert.  Read Maddex's full blog post here.

The Dead played two sets, lasting 2 1/2 hours, for the nearly 12,500 fans in attendance. Newspaper reporter Rich Gaw noted that during the second set Jerry "Papa Bear" Garcia's guitar licks were "intricate perfection" and that the performance of "I Will Get By" was as "precise" as the studio version.

Gaw went on to note that most of the WVU students in attendance were merely observers but for those Dead Heads who packed up in their vans after the show ended with "Summertime" and embarked on the journey to the next concert it is a "way of life."
black and white photo from the Monticola showing members of the Grateful Dead performing in 1983