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DTE Energy Music Theatre
DTE Energy Music Theatre 20130225.JPG
Signage for the venue (c.2013)
Former names Pine Knob Music Theatre (1972–2001)
Address 33 Bob Seger Dr
Clarkston, MI 48348-4784
Location Pine Knob Ski Resort
Owner Palace Sports and Entertainment
Operator 313 Presents
Capacity 15,274 (7,202 in pavilion; 8,072 on lawn)
Opened June 25, 1972

DTE Energy Music Theatre (originally Pine Knob Music Theatre) is an outdoor amphitheater located in Independence Township, Michigan, approximately 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Detroit (it has a Clarkston, Michigan mailing address). Built by the Nederlander Organization in the early 1970s, it was originally known as "Pine Knob Music Theatre" due to its proximity to the nearby Pine Knobski area and golf course. The name was changed before the 2001 concert season when DTE Energy (the parent company of Detroit Edison) purchased the naming rights to the amphitheater in a ten-year, $10 million deal. Despite this change, many people still continue to call the venue "Pine Knob", "The Knob", or "The Hill".

Palace Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Detroit Pistons, The Palace of Auburn Hills, and operates Meadow Brook Music Festival, purchased the amphitheater in 1990. Annually, it ranks among the top-selling outdoor concert venues in the world and has won dozens of awards in the industry, including Pollstar's Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue (2000), Billboard's Top Amphitheater for attendance (2011) and Pollstar's Top Amphitheater Venue Worldwide for total tickets sold (2011).


The amphitheater held its grand opening on June 25, 1972, with a matinee performance by teen idol David Cassidy. Andy Williams performed the first evening concert two nights later. At the time of its opening, Pine Knob was the largest amphitheater in the United States with a capacity of 12,500.

One of the features of the first years of Pine Knob was the entrance way to the amphitheater. Long cement retaining walls that cut through the hill/lawn were professionally hand-painted with the logos of every artist or group that had performed there. The walls were filled in and replaced by stairs and more lawn seating during the early 1980s, thus increasing the amphitheater's capacity to more than 15,000. The original sound system was novel in its day, a huge theatrical performance system designed for an outdoor theater with a custom console and large-array distributed speaker system.

On November 29, 1990, Palace Sports and Entertainment purchased Pine Knob and spent $8 million on renovations. Included in the upgrades were video screens in the pavilion. In 1995, additional video screens were installed in the pavilion's roof for spectators to see from the lawn.

On January 25, 2001, Palace Sports and Entertainment announced that the venue's name would be changed to DTE Energy Music Theatre. The deal was worth an average of $1 million per year over a 10-year term.

Before the 2012 season, the amphitheater received a new audio system - the Meyer MILO Line Array sound system. The amphitheater was also redesigned with forest green colors, new signage, expanded food options and a new open-air beer garden called The Pine Tap.

Many musicians have performed at DTE. For more than 20 years (with the exception of 1995) beginning in 1989, Eddie Money opened the concert season each May. Through 2014, Chicago has appeared at the venue 70 times, more than any other act. Linda Ronstadt also performed there nearly every summer throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Bob Seger has played more than 25 sold-out shows at the amphitheater, including eight in 1977, a record for most performances in one season that was matched by Kid Rock in 2013, then surpassed by Kid Rock again in 2015, with ten consecutive sold-out shows. Bob Dylan played Pine Knob nine times between 1981 and 2000. Detroit's own Diana Ross often made it her hometown stop during her summer schedules.

DTE is the usual Detroit-area stop for some of the biggest tours of the summer concert season, including The Area:One and Area2 Festival, Crüe Fest, Ozzfest, Curiosa, Projekt Revolution, The Gigantour, Reggae Sunsplash and The Family Values Tour. Lilith Fair made a stop at the venue in every year it toured in the 1990s (1997-1999) and also during its revival tour in 2010. It was the Detroit-area stop for Warped Tour in 1996 and 1997, and also for the Lollapalooza tour in every year of its existence but one before the tour signed an exclusive deal with the city of Chicago. The venue also hosts the Lake Orion High School and Clarkston High School graduation ceremonies, typically held at the end of May or beginning of June.

Time restrictions

Because of the venue's close proximity to nearby residents, it is known for having a strict 11:00 pm noise curfew. The performers are subject to a $1,000 fine for every minute played past the curfew.

The time restriction is said to be the reason behind the incident backstage between Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie on October 12, 2012. Opening for Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson took the stage late, thus forcing Rob Zombie's set short to avoid the curfew.

Video, audio, photographic appearances

A variety of concerts from the venue have been videotaped and recorded through the years.

As one of the first modern FM/broadcast television "simulcasts," in the summer of 1983, the Steve Miller Band was shown on Detroit broadcast station WKBD-TV and heard simultaneously on FM 98.7 WLLZ. This concert was a timely promotion for Miller's single, "Abracadabra", and featured an unseasonably cold and wet audience which weathered the event with excitement. Late in the afternoon, prior to the evening concert, tickets were made available at local record stores so Pine Knob could ensure a full venue, even with bad weather approaching.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Peter Frampton released a live CD and DVD, titled Live in Detroit, featuring a July 17, 1999 Pine Knob appearance.

On the black market, many bootleg recordings from the Pine Knob soundboard exist, as well as freely traded concerts like those of the Grateful Dead and Phish. The Dead's June 19 and 20, 1991 performances (featuring Bruce Hornsby on piano) saw an official release in 2006 as Grateful Dead Download Series Volume 11.

As an additional note, Genesis drummer and frontman Phil Collins is clearly seen wearing a Pine Knob logo golf shirt in the music video for the studio version of the song "No Reply At All". Alternate live versions of the song from the Three Sides Live recordings are not the same.

Dave Matthews Band have included various live recordings on their limited edition Warehouse bonus discs, which are mailed out yearly to members of their fan association. These selections include "One Sweet World", "Hello Again", and "You Might Die Trying" from the 2018 show. They also selected "Come Tomorrow" from the 2018 show for their live compilation, "Rhino's Choice". They also broadcast a video recording of the show from July 9, 2019 as part of their “DMB Drive-In” series due to their 2020 summer tour being rescheduled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jackson Browne used a photograph of himself and future wife Lynne Sweeney standing in the Pine Knob loading dock door in the booklet of his Running On Empty album. The photo was taken on August 21, 1977, by photographer Joel Bernstein.

The front cover of Joni Mitchell's 1974 live album, Miles of Aisles, features the interior of the pavilion as it appeared at the time, although the tracks on the album were recorded at venues in California.

The J. Geils Band recorded their third live album, Showtime!, during a sold-out week-long stand at Pine Knob in early September, 1982.

The fourth incarnation of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, featuring Peter Frampton, Gary Brooker, Jack Bruce and Simon Kirke, filmed their performance at Pine Knob in May 1998 for home video release. To date, "Ringo Starr & His Fourth All-Starr Band" has only been released on VHS and has not been re-issued, although clips appear on 2001's "The Best of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band So Far".

Steely Dan's Alive in America album features four tracks ("Bodhisattva", "Peg", "Kid Charlemagne" and "Sign in Stranger") that were recorded during the band's August 27, 1994 performance at Pine Knob.

Def Leppard released a live CD/DVD And There Will Be a Next Time... Live from Detroit which was recorded at a concert at DTE in July 2016.

Roxy Music Live contains two songs, (Remake/Remodel) and (Oh Yeah!), recorded from their July 29, 2001 show at Pine Knob.

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