Published: Jan. 28, 2021 By

Folsom Field during the Rolling Stones Concert in 1981

Folsom Field during The Rolling Stones concert in 1981. Photo by Michael Goldman (Pharm'78).

Whether they're dancing until they can’t stand or simply watching the guitarist shred a solo, the people of Boulder love their concerts. CU has hosted many amazing artists over the years, representing everything from classical cello to electronic dance music. Here are 10 great concerts performed at CU Boulder.


1. The Eagles

Glenn Frey, singer and guitar player for The Eagles, was known for wearing University of Colorado T-shirts at concerts. Some think the five-night stint of shows the group played at Tulagi on the hill in their early career gave the school a special place in Frey’s heart. Once they garnered major fame, The Eagles played Folsom Field on July 29, 1978 during their Hotel California Tour. The band opened with “Hotel California” and ended with a four-song encore of “Rocky Mountain Way,” “James Dean,” “Take It Easy,” and “Tequila Sunrise.”

2. The Grateful Dead / Dead & Company

With their 1972 show, The Grateful Dead was one of the first bands to perform at Folsom Field, and Dead Heads came from far and wide to see the action. In July 2016, The Grateful Dead came back as the first band to play Folsom Field after a 15-year concert drought. Bob Weir, an original member of The Grateful Dead and a star of Dead & Company, said of CU before their return, “I’m looking forward to going back there in the biggest way.”

3. Dave Matthews 

In March 1999, the legendary Dave Matthews played with Tim Reynolds at Macky Auditorium. Later, in 2001, the Dave Matthews Band played Folsom Field on their promotional tour for the album Everyday. The group played 15 minutes over their allotted time and incurred a $15,000 fine from the university — $1,000 per minute. They played so long and so loudly that concerts were suspended from Folsom Field indefinitely. It wasn’t until Dead & Company played in 2016 that Folsom Field saw another show.

4. Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma, widely considered the world’s greatest living cellist, graced CU with his presence at Macky Auditorium in 2017. Ma is credited for invigorating classical music through his collaborations across all genres and cultures.

5. Van Halen

Van Halen played Folsom Field in July of 1986 as a part of their 5150 tour. They opened with a cover of “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks and closed with “Ain’t Talkin ‘bout Love” before a two-song encore.

6. The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger and the rest of the band played three times at Folsom Field. In July 1978, the group opened with a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock.” They came back in October 1981 to play two more shows in promotion of their “Tattoo You” album.

7. Cheap Trick

In July 1980, Cheap Trick played Folsom Field with three other bands as a part of the Colorado Sun Day series. The series featured concerts at both Folsom Field and Mile High Stadium throughout the '70s and '80s.

8. Zeds Dead

Representing the realm of newer music, Zeds Dead, a Toronto-based producer/DJ duo, performed at CU’s 2019 WelcomeFest. Although they play a variety of genres, Zeds Dead is best known for being a leader in electronic dance music.

9. Fleetwood Mac

In 1977, Fleetwood Mac played the Folsom Music Festival as a stop on their Rumors tour. They opened with “Don’t Stop” and closed with the iconic “Go Your Own Way.” The event drew a record crowd of 61,500 people.

10. Paul McCartney

The Beatles singer performed at Folsom Field in May 1993. His set included many of his most famous songs, like “My Love” and “Hey Jude.”