Classic Rock News

Kiss on May 10, 1976, (L-R): Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss.

Today, January 30th, 2023 marks the beginning of an incredible journey. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first KISS show.  It happened at a club in Queens called Popcorn and about 10 people showed up.  KISS has always had hustle and tenacity.  Obviously, they were not thwarted by the low attendance.  Here’s Gene Simmons talking about the events leading up:

Gene Simmons On The First Kiss Show

“Wicked Lester had just finished its album for Epic Records. There were five members in the band, including Paul [Stanley] and myself. Though we had a real recording contract with a major label, and though we had finished an entire album, we were depressed. It just wasn’t what we had envisioned.

“So, we started again. We tried firing the other three guys in Wicked Lester, but some wouldn’t leave. So, we quit. We started again with a vision. ‘Let’s put together the band we never saw on stage.’

“We got a manager named Lou Linet…and when he heard the newborn baby — KISS — he thought it was the worst crap he had ever heard. Needless to say, he was gone immediately. So, we were manager-less.  I put together a bio kit while I worked at the Puerto Rican Interagency Council, as assistant to the Director. Peter’s [Criss] friend owned a printing press and printed up our invites.

“But, where to play? We didn’t have a manager. We didn’t have an agent… I made a phone call cold to a place called Popcorn in Queens and on the phone convinced the guy to hire a band, who would soon be changing their name from Wicked Lester to KISS. We got the gig — three nights — Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the sum total of $150.

“That was the beginning.”  – (via, 

Check out more on the history of KISS at

The 50-Year History of Pine Knob

Pine Knob, Aka DTE Music Theater, Aka Pine Knob, has had a long history of hosting some of the biggest bands and performers of all time. Pine Knob just recently reverted back to the moniker of Pine Knob after having changed its name to DTE Music Theater after DTE Energy bought the naming rights back in 2001. The amphitheatre’s first concert was on June 25th, 1972 with teen heart throb, David Cassidy. Andy Williams followed Cassidy and Pine Knob was on a roll.

Starting with a capacity of 12,500 and then later expanding to over 15,000. The theater hosted bands and performers from a wide variety of genres. From The Temptations, KISS, Aerosmith, John Denver and Blondie just to name a very small few that have played there. There’s actually a neat little website called that tells you exactly what concerts were at Pine Knob and when (the database goes to the year 2000 as Pine Knob and then goes to 2015 as DTE).

The Oakland Press compiled a large list of 40 significant events that occurred in Pine Knob’s history (note: this list was done for Pine Knob’s 40th anniversary, so they’ve had another ten years of events after this). Some of the events included:

  • June 25, 1972 David Cassidy

    “Partridge Family” heartthrob David Cassidy opens Pine Knob with a 3 p.m. matinee performance.

  • June 27, 1972 Andy Williams and Quincy Jones

    Andy Williams and Quincy Jones join forces for a five-night run that was considered the venue’s “official” opening.

  • July 1, 1974 KISS

    KISS, already establishing itself in Detroit’s smaller venues, makes its first venue appearance opening for Blue Oyster Cult.

  • Sept. 2, 1978 Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen

    Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen meet for the first time backstage at Pine Knob. Springsteen had performed at the Masonic Temple the previous night and Seger was in the midst of a seven-show run.
    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Seger and Mr. Bruce Springsteen

    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Seger and Mr. Bruce Springsteen: Pine Knob ’78

  • Aug. 26, 1982 Heart and John Cougar

    Headliners Heart is upstaged by opener John Cougar (later known by his real name, Mellencamp) in the midst of his “American Fool” success.

  • July 27, 1983 Bette Midler

    July 27, 1983 — Bette Midler collapsed on stage during a performance and was treated for exhaustion and an upset stomach at Pontiac General Hospital. She made up the show later in the summer, with the road crew creating a diagram chronicling the collapse backstage.

  • June 29, 1985 Phil Collins

    Phil Collins halts the final show of a three-night stand because of voice problems, causing a fan furor and a major traffic jam on I-75 southbound.

  • June 14, 1996 Sarah McLachlan

    Sarah McLachlan plays on an all-female Lilith Fair prototype show with Patti Smith, Lisa Loeb, Paula Cole and Aimee Man. Lilith’s inaugural 1997 run was the top-grossing festival tour of that year.

  • July 10, 1998 Metallica

    Sod thrown by revellers on the lawn penetrates deep into the pavilion, knocking out the soundboard during Jerry Cantrell’s opening set for Metallica and jeopardizing the entire show. A Metallica crew member gives fans a stern talking-to before the band goes on.

  • Sept. 14, 1998 Aerosmith

    During a day-off in the middle of a two-show stand, Aerosmith films a performance of its chart-topping hit “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” for British TV and plays a few more songs for fans who turned up to be part of the taping. (The first concert I ever went to 🙂 ). 

  • Jan. 25, 2001 DTE Energy Music Theater

    Amidst much fan outrage, PS&E announces that the venue’s name will be changed to the DTE Energy Music Theatre. The first DTE show is the WDRQ Summer Heat Rave with Nelly, Jessica Simpson and more on May 25.

  • July 5, 2007 Toby Keith

    An intense storm knocks out DTE power, delaying Toby Keith’s sold-out concert by more than two hours. Opening act Flynville Train strolls the pavilion playing acoustically, and Keith ends at curfew-busting midnight.

  • May 21, 2021 Alice Cooper

    And in 2021, at the start of the return of concerts after Covid, WCSX and Alice Cooper returned to Pine Knob (still DTE at the moment) to promote his new album “Detroit Stories”.

    Alice Cooper 2021 Pine Knob

    Alice Cooper: Pine Knob 2021

  • Pine Knob and WCSX Through the Years

    Pine Knob and WCSX Through the Years 2022

Donielle Fynn is a Michigan native with two kids, two dogs, two cats, a love of yoga, and all things classic rock.

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