Donielle Flynn

Ken Settle behind the lens

Pine Knob has had its share of great photographers snap iconic pictures of the world’s greatest musicians and there are so many stories behind the lens. Ken Settle is one of these amazing photographers. With the 50th anniversary of Pine Knob coming soon, Donielle Flynn asked Ken to share some of his amazing stories behind his Pine Knob images.  Here are Ken’s reflections on Pine Knob:

 “In the sweet summertime, summertime”…..

That classic line from Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” manages to capture the essence of lusty youthful adventure. And to countless Detroit area concert aficionados, it also brilliantly expresses the emotion of sitting beneath the stars out at Pine Knob, soaking up every nuance of the one-of-a-kind concert experience that the legendary venue gives us every summer.

I have so many great memories of shows at Pine Knob. Bob Seger bringing original Silver Bullet drummer, Charlie Martin, onstage in 1977, 1978 and 1996 to join the band after his tragic accident. Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits doing the quiet passages in “Brothers In Arms” in 1985. The audience was so spellbound and quiet that you could literally hear the hum in Knopfler’s amps. Guns’n’ Roses’ searing performance opening for Aerosmith in 1988.  Man…what awesome memories!

Bob Seger w Charlie Martin--final show of 1996 tour on 6-21-1996 at Pine Knob

Bob Seger w Charlie Martin–final show of 1996 tour on 6-21-1996 at Pine Knob

Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits 1985

Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits 1985

Guns'n'Roses--Axl Rose at Pine Knob on 8-11-1988

Guns’n’Roses–Axl Rose at Pine Knob on 8-11-1988

I have such vivid and fond recollections of making that long trek from Detroit out Telegraph Road to Dixie Highway. Back when everything seemed so much larger, it might as well have been on the other side of the world!  Such precious times. Even before I was old enough to drive…hitching a ride with older friends.  Back in the day, for the major shows, tickets would go on sale at the Pine Knob box office, and sometimes hundreds (maybe more!) of fans would show up the night before to camp out in the parking lot, waiting on their chance to score some prime seats.   Car radios and 8 tracks blasting, coolers full of refreshments…it was kind of the festival before the concert.

I remember how stellar the sound always was at Pine Knob, even before sound systems were as advanced as they are today. Having no reflective parallel walls for the sound to bounce off of gave even the high decibel rock shows a hi-fi smoothness.  It occurs to me that every new concert season at Pine Knob is much like seeing an old friend that you haven’t seen for a while. You reminisce with the old stories and treasure the new memories in the making.  “Hello, once again Pine Knob, old friend! Remember that time when…..”?

Check out more of Ken Settle’s favorite Pine Knob moments below… I thought it made sense to go in chronological order, but I’d like to start with Tom Petty first…. such an amazing moment in the history of Pine Knob. – Doni

  • Tom Petty - 2017

    This shot of Tom Petty was taken at Tom’s final Detroit-area show at Pine Knob on July 18, 2017.  Tom and the band had just taken the stage, and the Pine Knob audience all came to their feet and gave Tom the longest and loudest ovation I have ever heardbefore the band even played a note!  Tom was CLEARLY moved by this great show of affection, putting his hand over his heart to show the affection was mutual.

    Tom Petty - Pine Knob

    Tom Petty – Pine Knob 2017

  • Rod Stewart honors The Boss. 7/31/1984

    Rod Stewart had some stiff competition with Bruce Springsteen downtown at Joe Louis Arena on the same night!  So…Rod worked up a great acoustic version of Bruce’s “Hungry Heart”  to honor The Boss.

    Rod Stewart 7-31-1984 Pine Knob

    Rod Stewart 7-31-1984 Pine Knob


  • Phil Collins loses it. 6/29/1985.

    Phil Collins had a two night stand at Pine Knob in 1985.  It was a good thing that I shot the first night, because, on the second night, Phil came out and sang one song and then told the audience he had lost his voice, and then he left the stage!!  That left 15,000 disappointed people all leaving at the same time, snarling traffic for hours! June 29, 1985. 

    Phil Collins 6-27-1985 Pine Knob

    Phil Collins–6-27-1985 at Pine Knob

  • Bob Seger kicks off show. 8/26/1986

    Bob Seger launches into “American Storm” to kick off his 1986 stand of shows at Pine Knob. 

    Bob Seger Pine Knob 1986

    Bob Seger at Pine Knob on 8-28- 1986

  • John Fogerty and Slugger. 9/20/1986

    John Fogerty playing “Centerfield” on Slugger, the baseball bat guitar that he had guitar maker, Philip Kubicki make for him just for that song.  The guitar now resides in the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown.  This photo was taken at Pine Knob on John Fogerty’s first concert tour since Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up in 1972. 9-20-1986

    John Fogerty Slugger 1986

    John Fogerty–Pine Knob–9-20-1986 (2)


  • Storms won't stop Chicago. 8/5/1988

    Though Pine Knob was in the middle of torrential rains and tornado warnings on 8/5/1988, that didn’t stop Henry Lee Summer, opening for Chicago, to run out to the lawn and serenade fans in the rain.  Here he is, rain-soaked, and leaping back onto the stage.

    Henry Lee Summer 1988

    Henry Lee Summer–at Pine Knob on 8-5-1988


  • Guns'n'Roses or Aerosmith? 8/11/1988

    Axl Rose and Guns’n’Roses gave Aerosmith a serious run for their money when they opened the show at Pine Knob on 8/11/1988

    Axl Rose at Pine Knob 1988

    Guns’n’Roses–Axl Rose at Pine Knob on 8-11-1988

  • Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Cocker 6/23/1990

    Stevie Ray Vaughan opened the show for Joe Cocker on 6/23/1990 at Pine Knob.  Tragically, this would be Stevie Ray’s final Detroit area show.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan on 6-23-1990 at Pine Knob

    Stevie Ray Vaughan on 6-23-1990 at Pine Knob

  • Bob Seger and Charlie Martin. 6/21/1996

    Bob Seger welcomes original Silver Bullet Band drummer, Charlie Martin, onstage at Pine Knob on 6/21/1996 to sing on “Jody Girl,” and sing and play the piano on “Get Out Of Denver” and “Rock’n’Roll Never Forgets” as a finale to his final show of the 1996 tour.

    Bob Seger and Charlie Martin

    Bob Seger w Charlie Martin–final show of 1996 tour on 6-21-1996 at Pine Knob

  • Prince for one time only. 7/21/1997.

    This would be the only time that Prince would play Pine Knob. July 21, 1997.

    Prince Pine Knob 1997

    Prince at Pine Knob on 7-21-1997

  • OW! Dave Grohl breaks a leg. 8/24/2015

    Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters broke his leg, but that didn’t stop him from rocking Pine Knob on 8/24/2015.   Dave later loaned the chair to Axl Rose after he suffered a broken foot.  Axl thanked Dave by gifting him with a guitar!

    Foo Fighters Dave Grohl

    Foo Fighters Dave Grohl on 8-24-15 at DTE

  • Bob Seger, one last time 6/21/19

    Bob Seger rocks the Detroit-area audience one final time at Pine Knob on 6-21-19

    Bob Seger Final Show Ken Settle

    Bob Seger at final Detroit area show ever on 6-21-2019 at DTE

  • Pine Knob: Behind the Lens, Ken Settle Gallery

    And here is an incredible wealth of photos at Pine Knob by Ken Settle! (you can also CLICK HERE for larger images on PC viewing)

  • About Ken Settle

    Ken Settle is a Detroit-area music photographer who began his career while barely in his teens, photographing rock legend Bob Seger in his early years, in the clubs and skating rinks around the Motor City. Through the years, Ken’s photos have been published worldwide in magazines such as Guitar Player, Premier Guitar; Rolling Stone, the original Creem Magazine, People, Playboy, Guitar World, Japan’s Player, France’s Guitarist, and England’s Kerrang!  Check out more of Ken’s photos at

    Ken Settle

    Ken Settle

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