Category Archives: performance

rock on.

Standard
pine knob - the grateful dead

remembering 50 years of magical music memories at pine knob

one of the greatest outdoor amphitheaters ever, and still rocking.

i’m sure you can pick me out here,

on a typical night in the middle of the hill on the lawn

early 70s, where i saw my first live concert, Focus, performing their one hit, “Hocus-Pocus.” 

Pine Knob. A holy musical pilgrimage for metro Detroiters for 50 years. 

The award-winning theater was christened with a matinee concert by teenage heartthrob David Cassidy on June 25, 1972 (a few days later, old-school crooner Andy Williams and Quincy Jones hosted a five-night run at Pine Knob to mark the occasion). It was the largest venue of its type in the country at the time, currently able to accommodate 15,000 patrons.

A couple of weeks later, the first rock concert at Pine Knob forced the police to shut the place down — a sign that Clarkston’s new venue had a little something for everyone. 

When the James Gang rolled into Pine Knob that inaugural summer, an estimated 25,000 “young people” tried to storm the venue. That’s according to a report in the Detroit Free Press, which noted that the rest of the “hard rock” concerts scheduled for that summer would be canceled after the ruckus. That included an upcoming show by Detroit’s own Bob Seger, who would go on to play more than 25 sold-out shows at the venue over the years.

Maybe you were at that show, or the more than 3,000 other concerts that have taken place there. Thousands have made memories at Pine Knob over the years, whether blurry-eyed ones from the top of the hill or once-in-a-lifetime front row experiences from within the comfort of the pavilion (which, admittedly, could’ve been blurry-eyed, too).

When Pine Knob changed its name to DTE Energy Music Theatre in 2001, it was those memories that kept the original name alive. Even the bands that played there and recorded live albums there called it Pine Knob. “It’s always been Pine Knob to me. I always call it that from the stage,” Peter Frampton told Billboard earlier this year. “I am really happy Pine Knob’s true identity has finally been returned.” (Frampton recorded his 1999 album Live in Detroit at Pine Knob.) For its 50th anniversary, new sponsors made the wise move to tap into that well of nostalgia by bringing back the original name and some of the retro aesthetic to the signage and logo.

“you create a community with music, not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends.”

-david byrne

at the school show.

Standard

one of my favorite things

is to go to school shows

i love every kind of kid up there

 bored

nervous

awkward

moving

bouncing

spinning

hiding in back

 overly enthusiastic

staring straight ahead

giggling

belting it out

faking the lyrics

wearing mismatched shoes

in a fancy outfit

whispering to a stage neighbor

giving it their all

waving to family

looking proud

non-stop smiling

have their own rhythm different from the rest

whether

dancing

singing

acting

playing anything that makes a musical sound

performance art

athletic feats

comedy

any kind of talent show

poetry reading

costumed or not.

i am all in.

“sometimes I was in school plays,

but only when the kid they’d originally picked got sick and they asked me to substitute.”

-peter falk

“i remember acting in a school play about the melting pot when I was very little.

there was a great big pot onstage.

on the other side of the pot was a little girl who had dark hair,

and she and i were representing the italians.

and i thought: is that what an italian looked like?”

-al pacino

“i did a school play when I was 10 where I played a cold germ infecting a whole classroom of kids.

the play was called ‘Piffle It’s Only a Sniffle.’

i’d never had so much fun. It was a thrill.”

-kim cattrall

dark side of the moon.

Standard

sitting

in total darkness

 absolute silence

very slowly

one by one

notes

chords

pinpoints of light 

pierced the air

  sitting in my seat 

48 years ago

in detroit

pink floyd

unfolded their new album

dark side of the moon 

right before my eyes and ears

in real time

playing full out

the crowd

mesmerized 

just taking it all in

vibrating

then roaring in appreciation

one of my most memorable live concert experiences ever.

 

“it was like being in the eye of a hurricane. you’d wake up in a concert and think – wow how did i get here?”

-john lennon

 

48 years ago Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon.

It remained in the US charts from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history.

 

album cover photo: harvest records

poetic.

Standard

last weekend

at the 44th annual ann arbor folk festival

 5 live streamed hours on saturday night

every kind of music and performance

big and small

i once again

heard beautiful poems played

by my favorite pianist

george winston

whose song ‘thanksgiving’ i heard for the very first time

many years ago on the radio while on a road trip to toronto

having no idea who it was or what the song was

 being very moved by it

not knowing if i’d ever hear it again

  serendipity stepped in

when driving back home

with a windham hill artists’ compilation cd

an unexpected gift from my host

on which he was a featured artist playing that very song.

“music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”

-pablo casals

magic all around you.

Standard

One hundred years ago this month, the magician P.T. Selbit ushered his assistant into an upright wooden box, sealed it, laid it flat, and got down to business, sawing the box right down the middle. The show, according to magic experts, was the first time a performer ever sawed someone in half. Why has this trick survived, when so many others haven’t? If you ask magicians, NYT writer Alex Marshall spoke with six — they eventually land on one answer. “It’s just the simplicity of it,” said Mike Caveney, a magician who’s writing a history of this trick. “Magicians say a good trick is one that can be described in a few words, and ‘sawing a lady in half’ is very few words,” he added. As for being the assistant, “When you’re doing it you’re not a passive person,” one magician said. “It’s claustrophobic, and quite noisy, but such fun!”

” i believe your reality is what you make it, what you choose to see, and what you choose to allow yourself to do.

there are possibilities all around you – magic all around you – no matter what situation you’re in.”

-keke palmer

Story credit: Alex Marshall, NYT- Image credit: Nolan Pellitier

 

the circus arrives.

Standard
to avoid crowds, montreal’s circus festival will pop up in random places

Over the course of this week, some lucky residents in Montreal will be entertained with surprise circus acts that will pop up around the city at undisclosed locations.

The outdoor performances are organized as part of Montreal’s annual circus festival and are taking place from July 6 to 12 at random locations around the city in order to avoid huge crowds from gathering and maintain physical distancing.

As artistic director of Montréal Complètement Cirque, Nadine Marchand explains, a truck called the “Bonheur Mobile” will roll up to alleys, parks, streets, and squares in Saint-Michel, Anjou, St. Henri and the Quartier des Spectacles (to name a few) over the next week.

Ten Quebec circus performers will come rolling out and put on an hour-and-a-half-long show for any unsuspecting Montrealers who happen to be passing by or looking out the window.

Apart from breathing life and joy into the city, the festival has also been organized with the goal of providing work for the artists, as many have been out of work and unable to perform or tour due to the pandemic and it’s not clear when their industry will be back up and running.

Those lucky enough to happen upon one of these surprise performances are asked to stay on their front steps and balconies to avoid getting too close to others.

“the circus arrives without warning.”

-erin morgenstern, the night circus

 

 

 

story credits: marilla steuter- martin, cbc news, daily optimist magazine

%d bloggers like this: