After multi-night stands during the 70s and 80s, the Pine Knob Music Theatre -- and, yes, that's what he still calls it -- means quite a bit to Carlos Santana and his namesake band.
"We've played so many times there," says Santana, 64, who returns to the now-DTE Energy Music Theatre this weekend promoting his new, mostly instrumental album "Shape Shifter," which came out in May. "When I think of Pine Knob, I think of many things that have been done in Detroit. Motown -- how can you think of Detroit and not think of all the incredible things Santana learned from Motown, about doing time in 'Cloud Nine' and Marvin Gaye and the Temptations and everybody.
"Venues like that...they are, to me, the Vaticans where holy music is presented. If you could scrape the music out of the walls at places like that and put it in hot water in a pot, whoo! Can you imagine?"
One particularly memorable Pine Knob stop was Santana's five-night run over Independence Day weekend during 1982, hot on the heels of the group's opening stint for the Rolling Stones the previous December at the Pontiac Silverdome.
"The (review) said something like, 'Damn, last time we saw Santana, they beat up the Rolling Stones,' and I felt like, 'Whoa, that's not necessary,' " recalls Santana, who's planning to make an album soon with some of the original Santana band members. "I don't go in with those intentions. They're my brothers. Why would I want to do that?
"So I said something into the microphone (at Pine Knob), saying I don't like it when people do that to my brothers and myself, put us in a situation of adversary and conflict. I love the Rolling Stones, I love the Doors, Led Zeppelin, all of them. So the next day the guy writes, 'I don't care what you say, (Santana) still beat 'em up.' "
Santana performs at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $80 and $45 pavilion, $29.50 lawn with a $74 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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