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Pine Knob Music Theatre is Pine Knob again

Some of us never stopped calling it “The Knob.” And on January 14th, venue operator 313 Presents announced they are coming correct and rechristening Pine Knob Music Theatre in southeast Michigan “Pine Knob Music Theatre.” I doubt anyone will ever pine for the name “DTE Energy Music Theatre” (except maybe fans of energy music), but many of us definitely wax nostalgic for the original name and the beer-soaked summer nights spent with top-tier pop and rock acts that it evokes.

While new partners United Wholesale Mortgage and Trinity Health have a multi-year sponsorship deal with 313 Presents, it doesn’t appear it’s going to be a “The Suits present…” type deal. Good on United Wholesale Mortgage and Trinity Health for showing admirable corporate restraint. Their logos will no doubt be plastered all over the place, but we’re certainly used to that by now.

The retro name reversal comes as the amphitheater prepares for its 50th anniversary season. David Cassidy christened the venue with an afternoon concert on June 25, 1972. The Knob is now one of the oldest and most successful U.S. amphitheaters built expressly for popular music, and it routinely ranks among the top-grossing outdoor sheds in the country.

Although DTE Energy held the naming rights to the venue for 20 years, research showed that younger audiences were familiar with the Pine Knob name. Probably because us old farts wouldn’t shut up about it.

My sister and I were actually at that first Cassidy gig, and saw tons of other great acts there as kids, including The Beach Boys, the Carpenters, and Harry Chapin. My first unchaperoned show was at The Knob — the Doobie Brothers in ’78 (we sat 10th row for $8). Like many kids who grew up in the area, I worked maintenance at the venue, picking the hill and hosing down the pavilion. I went on to rock out with the likes of Tom Petty, Soundgarden and Ringo’s All-Stars. My last show there was Bob Seger’s farewell tour in 2019.

Sadly, the late David Cassidy isn’t available, but perhaps they could coax ol’ Seger out of retirement and have him do a Partridge Family set to kick off their 50th? In any case, I still won’t sit on that garbage mound they call a hill.

Check out my song-by-song shakedown of Bob Seger’s final shows at The Knob:

Bob at the Knob: Seger’s Final Tour

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