and David Cassidy opened Pine Knob, Sue Plummer chose a career that would capture the vibe, energy, and excitement of decades of concerts in the Detroit area and nationally.
From an Instamatic camera taking snapshots at Pine Knob, to a 35 mm in the ’80’s, Sue snapped photos until the ‘no cameras allowed’ policy went into effect. For Sue live concerts and photography were inseparable. With her compilation of 8x10 photos, which included a 1981 shot of ‘Journey’, Sue showed her photos to a magazine editor and was hired on the spot! First professional assignment: Roxy Music 1982.
With drive, determination, and a solid work ethic, Sue was a regular in the photo pit. The only woman shooting on a regular basis, she recalls incidents of fans body slamming, beer drenching, sod throwing, the occasional undergarment flying overhead and catching guitar picks - just a normal day in the pit.
Her talent sought out by industry insiders and artists alike, Sue also photographed backstage meet & greets for most of the bands on tour, their promotional appearances, charity benefits, industry parties, and award ceremonies.
Through the ’80’s and ’90’s Sue’s photos were regularly featured in the Detroit Free Press and also appeared in magazines such as Musician, Rolling Stone, Creem, Guitar World, Parade, People, Playboy, music industry publications including Billboard, and also local papers into the 2000’s.
Career highlights are too many to count but Sue recalls some standouts:
The best music scene ever was catching a Bob Seger show at a high school or small club even without a camera!
By the ’80’s photographing from the pit, I felt a genuine sense of pride for our hard working hometown band made good. Countless concerts later….. additional assignments include Capitol Records award ceremonies, parties, and photographing what seemed like the entire population of Michigan at many of Bob’s meet & greets.
Photographed many shows at Pine Knob and was hired to shoot their 1989 Japan tour book at PK and in Nashville.
This band just blew me away from the very start in the 70’s and beside Seger they were a big influence on why I got into concert photography. There was never a dull moment shooting this band. Their remarkable talent and sound is above and beyond and is just as exciting to photograph them now as it was early on.
Opening night show and press conference 1989 in Chicago.
Photographers and journalists came in from the ends of the earth. The photo pit was very crowded but I stood my ground. With minimal light and only a few minutes to shoot, I got what I could. The result: the Free Press ran my ‘Paul’ shot as a Front page/Full page in the Sunday edition for a preview to the upcoming Palace concert. At the press conference Paul saw the paper and asked if it was mine, complimented it, autographed it, and posed for a photo in front of me with Linda on his shoulder. Ahhh.
From the first wail on ‘Turn the Page’, an instant roar from the crowd, Silver Bullet Band’s ambassador & Rock Star, Alto Reed, was a fan favorite and deservedly so.
Who can forget his dance moves during ‘Shakedown’ or his signature kicks while playing Rock n Roll Never Forgets - as we All were dancing along! A class act on stage and off, his talent and love for his craft, band, fans, and family shined bright.
A friend to many, he is greatly missed and forever holds a special place in our hearts.
1999, sold out shows at PK.
It was so crowded there wasn’t even a photo pit. Pressed to the stage I shot what I could. Putting my camera away and trying to make it to my seat was impossible. There I was in the crowd rockin’ out. Next thing I knew Peter Wolf was pulling me up on stage to dance to the song ‘So Sharp’! Well, that’s a first! Two weeks later at their final PK show Peter pulled me up again - this time with a few other girls dancing to ‘Centerfold’ during the encore! Nothin’ but a house party! OOOh yeah! Some of my fave photos are of this awesome band.
A private photo session before his show at the Fox Theatre 1993.
Supposedly a photo shoot with Prince’s band only, I arrived early and while loading my camera a voice blasted over a mic asked “are you readyyy?” Yes. It’s Prince - alone! From statues in the wall to straddling banisters, the photo op’s were endless. The photos were one of a kind exceptional, forever in my mind as all the film was handed over to Prince’s manager.
So worth it.