2023 Year in review! 51 Years of Live Music: Pine Knob Music Theatre

2023 was a huge year for Pine Knob Music Theatre. Following the virus outbreak and people getting stuck in their homes in 2020, everything’s finally feeling a bit more normal. People have gotten comfortable with being in crowds again thus, the concert games were back in business. Music fans had a lot to look forward to in 2023 as the events at Pine Knob just kept piling up. From Dierks Bentley, The Lumineers, Fall Out Boy, and The Smashing Pumpkins, there was something for nearly everybody. 

Here’s a brief recap of some of the biggest shows this year at the Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan…

Pine Knob Music Theatre 2023Pine Knob Music Theatre 2023 concert photo

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley has certainly given his fans a lot to remember. In the past 20 years of his career, he’s released 10 studio albums — including this year’s “Gravel & Gold.” A whopping 22 of his tracks became No. 1 country singles. He’s also won three awards each from the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music and been nominated for 14 Grammys. This year, he brought his Gravel & Gold Tour to Clarkston, Michigan. And as you can expect, it was nothing short of spectacular. “There’s a reason why Pine Knob is on the opening weekend, y’all — ’cause I knew you were gonna set the bar so high,” the singer said as he got on stage.

The country singer put on a solid show on stage at the Pine Knob Amphitheatre and played hits like “Gold,” “Same Ol’ Me,” “Am I The Only One,” and more. 

Fall Out Boy

Punk rock band Fall Out Boy had the opportunity to kick off a world tour in 2023 and they began hitting stages in North America in the middle of 2023. Of course, the band couldn’t forget to make a stop in Clarkston, Michigan! Their show at the Pine Knob Music Theatre was a huge success and sold out within hours. For the show, the band brought out very special guests along: Bring Me The Horizon, Royal And The Serpent, and Games We Play.

The band gave an unforgettable performance and played songs both old and new. It was a 28-song setlist that spanned their entire discography. From classics like “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Dance, Dance” to more recent hits like “Uma Thurman” and “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”, the crowd sang along. For everyone who was at the show, it felt like a unified voice under the night sky. The stage production itself was a sight to see – pyrotechnics, confetti, concussion cannons, and even Pete Wentz brandishing a flamethrower on his bass.

The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins brought a near-sellout Pine Knob Music Theatre show to Clarkston, Michigan this year too. With their insane performance, the band showed the crowd exactly why they are considered among the top acts of the grunge era. The band opened with  “Everlasting Gaze,” a high-energy intro track from their 2000 album Machina/The Machines of God. It was indeed a signal to fans that The Pumpkins meant business – and they came to bring an unforgettable show. They also performed the Talking Heads’ cover, “Once in a Lifetime.” It brought out some excitement among fans because this was a cover they used to play on tour in the 2000s. Super nostalgic!

Halfway through the performance, lightning was striking behind Pine Knob’s lawn. It was evident that the weather wasn’t in favor of the show that night but that didn’t stop The Smashing Pumpkins from continuing on with their performance. They sang “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” from their Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness double album and continued on to their final song, “Jellybelly.” 

The Lumineers

The Lumineers played its second sold-out appearance in Clarkston, Michigan in 14 months. The crowd of 15,000 were on their feet from start to finish, singing along to every single line. It’s said that the band took familiarity to its advantage at this show, seeing as 20 out of the 23 songs they played were the same ones in their setlist from their previous show. This was not an issue though because fans loved every bit of the show! Their performance lasted an hour and 45 minutes where they played big hits such as “Cleopatra,” “Ho Hey” and “Angela.” They ended their set with “Donna,” “Submarines,” “Remington,” “Reprise” and “Stubborn Love” – and it was as awesome as you can think. 

According to The Oakland Press, “It was, yes, identical to 2022, but the effect was like the visit from a much-loved friend who had a lot of the same things to say but that we were nevertheless happy to hear.”

Honorable Mentions

Foreigner held its farewell tour this year and they took the show right here. The band’s gearing up for retirement but that didn’t stop them from putting on a show as if they were still in their prime. They played hits like “Double Vision,” “Head Games,” “Cold as Ice,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Urgent,” “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Hot Blooded.”

Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa brought their High School Reunion Tour to town this year too. The two brought out Too $hort, Warren G, Berner, and DJ Drama as special guests too. To say that the venue was engulfed in a massive plume of smoke would be an understatement – everyone was really out there having a good time as the rappers took the stage!

2023 Pine Knob amphitheater2023 concerts

What’s next for Pine Knob?

It’s no doubt that the Pine Knob Music Theatre had its fair share of stellar performances in its 51st year. From pop, rock, and country, to even family-friendly shows, the renowned theatre has acted as a host for it all!  Acts from every genre came to town to visit and every music fan had the opportunity to catch one of their favorites live.

In case you missed seeing a show this year, don’t worry! We’re excited to share that plenty of other artists are coming in the next year – and you can get tickets right here. To ensure that you get your spots for the show you want, book your tickets in advance. 

Pine Knob Music Theatre 2024 Schedule