10 classic shows in 50 years of concerts

Happy birthday to Pine Knob, which turns 50 this year (the old hill doesn’t look like it’s more than 30!) and starts blowing out its cake candles on Friday with an opening concert by season of pop-rock trio AJR.

It’s the kickoff to a busy summer season that sees the venue welcome plenty of veterans (Chicago will play its 82nd show on July 26, the Doobie Brothers ring in July 4 with the band’s 60th Pine Knob show). like a handful of newbies (Halsey plays his first show there on May 29, and it’s also AJR’s first time at the Clarkston Amphitheater).

Of the thousands of concerts held on the site over the years, many stand out and all have stories to tell. Some are personal—everyone remembers their first show at the Knob—and others are shared, but all involve that hallowed Michigan summer ritual of outdoor concerts. (As long as they end before 11 p.m., because after that fines start accumulating to the tune of $1,000 per minute.)

We can’t tell all of Pine Knob’s stories or talk about all of its gigs, but here are 10 shows that stand out among the crowd. And if you have some of your own stories to share about the place, email them to the address listed at the bottom of this article, and we might use them in a future story.

David Cassidy, June 25, 1972

Pine Knob’s opening concert was a 3 p.m. Sunday engagement with teen idol David Cassidy, 22 at the time, who performed to a crowd of 6,000 cheering devotees; tickets were $7 and $5 for the pavilion and $2.50 for the lawn. Crews were still putting the finishing touches on the venue until showtime, having worked three shifts in the week leading up to the show. Cassidy took the stage an hour late, due to a delayed flight from Newark, but that didn’t bother the crowd of fans, who “rushed down the aisles, stomping on fellow fanatics and security guards, the better to see and ultimately touch,” the “Partridge Family” star wrote The News at the time. Fans are fans, yesterday and today; replace the instamatic cameras of yesterday with Instagram today, and not much has changed.

Crowds cheer David Cassidy at Pine Knob's inaugural concert on June 25, 1972.

Dolly Parton, August 28, 1978

When Dolly headlined Pine Knob in 1978, she was 32 and already 20 albums into her career. She kicked off the Monday night show, which featured opener Eddie Rabbit, with “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher,” her hit cover of Jackie Wilson’s original which was released a year prior. , and blazed through a steady set that included hits such as “Coat of Many Colors” and “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right.” If some audience members were there just to ogle Parton — a Detroit News review notes male audience members who watched the show through binoculars — Parton already knew how to silence them; when a participant shouted, “Dolly, I love you!” she replied, “Dad? I thought I told you to wait in the trailer.” Then like now, Dolly has the last word.

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Diana Ross, July 25, 1980

The Motown legend kicked off his four-night run at the venue – lawn tickets were just $10 – with a show “awash in Busby Berkley extravaganza and Las Vegas glitz,” noted The News at the time. Ms Ross, 36 and 10 years after the Supremes split, was touring behind her recent ‘Diana’, produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, and she soared throughout the hour-long performance. In order to beat the notorious grunts of traffic exiting the venue, some fans fled to the exits during closer “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – it was also her opener, bringing the show full circle – and she ended the show with a verse of “All for one and one for all” for those who stayed. “If you can’t like this show,” wrote Jim McFarlin of The News in his review, “it’s time to prepare the will.” Ross returned to Pine Knob in 1989 and again for two nights in 1991.

Steve Miller Band, September 25, 1982

The “Abracadabra” rocker brought some magic to the 10th anniversary season finale of Pine Knob, a show that aired live on 50 TV channels nationwide, including WKBD (Channel 50) here at home. The reality of the show made it somewhat eerie for live audiences, with large television cameras blocking some viewers’ view, the house lights remaining on for the majority of the show, and Miller taking breaks on stage and chatting with the audience during the show’s commercial breaks. . If the two-and-a-half-hour show itself proved somewhat contrived, Miller returned with a blazing encore once the cameras turned off, drumming his teeth with his tambourine during “Jungle Love” and leading the crowd in a single. of “Happy Birthday” to guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis to close the evening and the Pine Knob season. The show would be released a year later as a live album, “Steve Miller Band Live!”

Beastie Boys and Run-DMC, August 29, 1987

It was a big deal when the two rap groups teamed up for their “Together Forever” tour, not just for the fans, but for the local police, who were out in force to make sure everything went smoothly during the Pine Knob’s first rap gig. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department sent 17 uniformed officers, 15 plainclothes deputies and 20 members of their volunteer Mounted Division to the show, well above the usual nine uniformed and two plainclothes cops who typically enliven the Pine Knob shows. The problem was a Run DMC show in Long Beach the previous year, where gang violence erupted and injured 40 people. Since then, “everyone’s been tripping,” Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels told The News at the time. “We are not criminals…if you listen to our records, we do not promote violence in any way.” Sure enough, the show went off without a hitch, and both acts would eventually return to Pine Knob: the Beasties on Lollapalooza in 1994, and Run-DMC multiple times, including a headlining show in 1995.

Eddie Money, May 23, 1992

When Money Man took the stage in May 1992 – Dave Coulier and Bob Saget headlined the night before, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and Kriss Kross headlined radio station 96.3’s People’s Jam Too a few nights later – it was not particularly remarkable; he had already played Knob a few times since 1983, and was 15 years into a career that began when “Two Tickets to Paradise” released their self-titled debut album in 1977. But that Saturday night concert – the lawn tickets were $9.87, as part of a radio station promotion – launched a series of appearances where Money would baptize Pine Knob each season, onstage every May through 2019, when he is died aged 70 four months after his last Pine Knob appearance. Money became the site’s unofficial mascot and had a total of 38 appearances on the site during his career. “It’s the biggest show I have every year,” Money told The News in 2009. “Just for me to open it every year is a real feather in my cap.”

Lollapalooza, July 23, 1994

In the 90s, you didn’t go to festivals, the festivals came to you. And as alternative culture peaked with the massive Lollapalooza festival in 1994, Pine Knob’s four sold-out shows – July 23, 24, 25 and 29 – made it the tour’s most popular stop. in the country. In addition to headliners Smashing Pumpkins and Beastie Boys, the lineup also included L7, the Boredoms, Guided by Voices, Nick Cave and more, and Gen-X fans got excited during the day in the expansive “Mind Field” from the festival, which featured new-era technology such as a video dating booth and a program that took two people’s photos and merged them to find out what their potential children might look like. Ah, the 90s. As the decade draws to a close, Pine Knob will host an assortment of touring festivals, including Ozzfest, Lilith Fair, Vans Warped Tour, and HORDE Festival.

Iggy and the Stooges, August 25, 2003

Punk icons had been scattered for much of Pine Knob’s existence, so there wasn’t much chance for the band to play in the area’s largest outdoor amphitheater. (Iggy Pop himself exploded in 1997 on the short-lived ROAR Tour, short for Revelation Of Alternative Rhythms, to a lineup that included Sponge, Reverend Horton Heat and Tonic.) The Stooges – Iggy with brothers Ron and Scott Asheton, Steve MacKay and touring member Mike Watt were finally ready to make their long-awaited and long-awaited debut with Pine Knob on August 14, 2003, but the blackout that knocked out power to much of the Northeast and Midwest had other plans. So the show, featuring openers Sonic Youth and the Von Bondies, was postponed 11 days later and found Iggy and his motley crew ripping through a 14-song set like they’d been shot by a cannon. The crowd also got in on the action, with dozens of fans at one point storming the stage just to join in the mayhem. The show was finally released on a live DVD, “Iggy and The Stooges Live In Detroit,” and the whole ordeal was clearly worth the wait.

Big Sean, August 31, 2013

Hometown rapper Big Sean had just thrilled fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills six months earlier, bringing in an army of special guests – including Kanye West – to cap off his biggest local gig yet. . How would he get past it? On a glorious 75-degree night, Sean brought in special guests and hip-hop superstars Drake and Nicki Minaj, sending the audience into a frenzy, but it was the little moments that made the night memorable. At one point Sean brought his mother, Myra Anderson, out and the two kissed on stage for a full minute as he spoke in her ear and they laughed together like they were the only two people in the room. Sean cried after the performance – just as he had on stage at the Palace show – but he laughed it off. “You won’t see me cry anymore,” he said.

Big Sean and his mother, Myra Anderson, will host the first Uplifting Our Youth Scholarship fundraiser on Thursday in Birmingham.

Bob Seger, June 21, 2019

Pine Knob Street is named after him, did you think we were going to leave out Bob Seger? The Michigan icon performed his 33rd and final show at Pine Knob on June 21, 2019, the final night of a six-night adventure that took Seger back to his first show at the venue on July 24, 1972. That first gig was on a bill with the Jam Band and Guardian Angel on a night dubbed “Good Vibes Night”, and those good vibes continued for eight nights in 1977, seven nights in 1978, three nights in 1980, five nights in 1986 , two nights in 1996 and one night in 2017. Seger has since hung up his mic and wrapped up his tour, but if those “Hollywood Nights” ever come around, he knows where to go: Michigan’s summertime music cradle since 50 years. – and cash.

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