|Files » Who, The|
The Who - 1980-06-23 - Sports Aren, Los Angeles, CA (AUD)
Los Angeles, CA
June 23, 1980
Mike Millard Original Master Tapes via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 24
Recording Gear: AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder
JEMS 2020 Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassette > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX6 > iZotope Ozone 6 > MBIT+ resample to 1644> Audacity > TLH > FLAC
02 I Can’t Explain
03 Baba O’Riley
04 My Wife
05 Sister Disco
06 Behind Blue Eyes
07 Music Must Change
09 Who Are You
11 Pinball Wizard
12 See Me, Feel Me
13 Long Live Rock
14 My Generation
16 Won’t Get Fooled Again
17 Summertime Blues
18 Twist and Shout
19 You Belong To Us
20 The Real Me
Known Flaws: tape flip in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
Intro to the Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Series
Welcome to JEMS’ Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone series presenting recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin done in and around Los Angeles circa 1975-77. For further details on how tapes in this series came to be lost and found again, as well as JEMS' history with Mike Millard, please refer to the notes in Vol. One: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=500680
Until this year, the Lost and Found series presented fresh transfers of previously unavailable first-generation copies made by Mike himself for friends like Stan Gutoski of JEMS, Jim R and Barry G. These sources were upgrades to circulating copies and in most instances marked the only time verified first generation Millard sources had been directly digitized in the torrent era.
That all changed with the discovery of many of Mike Millard’s original master tapes.
Yes, you read that correctly, Mike Millard’s master cassettes, long rumored to be destroyed or lost, have been found. Not all of them but many, and with them a much more complete picture has emerged of what Millard recorded between his first show in late 1973 and his last in early 1992.
The reason the rediscovery of his master tapes is such a revelation is that we’ve been told for decades they were gone. Internet myths suggest Millard destroyed his master tapes before taking his own life, an imprudent detail likely concocted based on the assumption that because his master tapes never surfaced and Mike’s mental state was troubled he would do something rash WITH HIS LIFE’S WORK. There’s also a version of the story where Mike’s family dumps the tapes after he dies. Why would they do that?
The truth is Mike’s masters remained in his bedroom for many years after his death in 1994. We know at least a few of Millard’s friends and acquaintances contacted his mother Lia inquiring about the tapes at the time to no avail. But in the early 2000s, longtime Millard friend Rob S was the one she knew and trusted enough to preserve Mike’s work.
Here is Rob’s account of how Millard’s master tapes were saved:
After Mike left us, I visited his mom Lia occasionally, usually around the holidays. She’d talk about the grandkids and show me pictures. She had no one to help out around the house so I did some minor improvements like fixing a kitchen shelf that collapsed and another time a gate that hadn’t worked for years.
After a few visits, I explained to Lia how the tapes were metal, up to 25 years old already and would eventually deteriorate. She agreed to let me take the tapes and make copies. We went into Mike’s bedroom and it was exactly like I remembered it when I was there years before. I loaded up every tape I could find and went to work copying them. Oldest first, some requiring “surgery.”
Months later when I was done copying, I compared what I had copied to a list Mike had compiled of his masters and realized there were many shows missing. I returned the tapes and asked Lia if we could see if there were any more somewhere else in the house. We went into a back bedroom and found a bunch of boxes filled with more original master tapes. I loaded them up, thanked Lia and left. This was the last time I would see her. I copied the rest of the tapes and stored the masters in a cool dry place until late last year when Jim R. reached out. We had known each other through Mike. After speaking with Jim and later BK who had tracked him down, I knew their partnership was the “right way” to get this music out to everyone who wanted it. I’m sure Mike would agree.
Initially, Rob copied a large batch of Millard’s master cassettes to DAT and returned them to the house. The second time around, he was given a large portion of the cassette collection, different from what he had copied to DAT.
The first round of DAT transfers features some of Millard’s most famous recordings of Led Zeppelin, ELP, the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull. The second traunch of actual cassette masters includes his captures of Yes, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Rush and Pink Floyd.
As exciting as it is to access Millard’s masters of the shows we know and love, there are many new recordings in both batches from artists like Elton John, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Eric Clapton, The Who, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Guns N’ Roses, Linda Ronstadt, David Bowie, the Moody Blues, U2 and more.
Even with an information gap in the mid ‘80s (when Millard was surely taping but there is no tape or written evidence as to what he captured), we have confirmed nearly 300 shows Millard did record. Of those, there are master cassettes for approximately 100 shows, DATs off masters of another 75 and first generation analog copies for 30-35. Collectively, that nearly quadruples the number of extant Millard recordings.
Our original master tapes series began with Pink Floyd, which you can find here:
The Who, Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA, June 23, 1980
We continue our series with another one of Mike’s favorite bands, The Who, in the midst of a rejuvenated renaissance that would see them perform seven shows in Los Angeles in June 1980, a run that began with two nights at the Forum followed by five at the Sports Arena. 6/23/80 was the first show of the Sports Arena stand and captures the band in fighting form.
Because JEMS recorded many Who shows in this era ourselves (some of which we will release soon), I’m very familiar with the core 1979-80 set which starts with the one-two punch of “Substitute” and “I Can’t Explain” then “Baba O’Riley.”
While fans justifiably fetishize Who recordings with Keith Moon, the truth is the set lists on Moon’s last tour, 1976, grew a little stale. Here we get a great mix of the must-include songs along with fresh takes of “Sister Disco,” “Music Must Change,” “Drowned,” “Who Are You,” “5:15” and “The Real Me.” The inclusion of a three-piece horn section adds a new sonic layer, as does the keyboard work of John “Rabbit” Bundrick, who undoubtedly helped foster opening up the song selection.
I love Pete’s guitar tone in this era and the improvisations that frequently occurred in the encores. On this night, “Twist and Shout” eventually mutates into Pete singing lyrics that revolve around a chorus of “This Place Belongs to Us.” Some Who websites refer to the song as “You Belong to Us” but Townshend doesn’t really sing that.
Mike’s recording of the show is what I’ve come to appreciate as “classic Millard quality,” close but not too close, with wide fidelity that nails The Who’s sonic signature that runs from the rich rumble of Entwistle’s bass up to the ringing cymbal sound Moon made famous and Kenney Jones, even with his very different drumming style, maintained in spots. Samples provided.
Here’s what Jim R recalled about the show:
Mike and I together attended The Who show on June 23, 1980 at the LA Sports Arena. The wheelchair was not used for this show. A payoff was made to security staff to get in our gear. This same security supervisor was near the stage, close to our seats, so we were "protected" so to speak.
It was one of five LA area Who shows we attended within about a week's time.
We went to The Forum on 6/20 then to four out of the five LA Sports Arena nights.
For the June 23rd show, we sat in the 4th row, Section A on the inside aisle. These were our best seats of the five concerts. Mike's recording quality and my pictures reflect in our close proximity to the PA and stage.
As a fan looking to get the best possible seats at face value from the box office, the worst three words you can hear are "Mail Order Only" for a ticket sale.
“Mail Order Only” is code for box office corruption, as that system provides no visibility to the general public. The brokers would get all the best seats and even most of the average ones. Tickets for the LA Sports Arena were tightly controlled by the downtown LA ticket brokers. We had an "in" with a key person at Al Brooks’ agency who gave us a "deal" on all our tickets for the five shows. Even so, the tickets were very costly at the time; therefore, we could sanely afford to attend only five of the seven LA area performances.
The Who offers a little nostalgia. The first show Mike ever recorded was The Who in 1973 on the Quadrophenia tour. I was there, too, but we didn't know each other at the time. But destiny awaited us both. By the way, Keith Moon was a maniac on the drums.
Back to the June 23rd show. If I had to choose a few words to describe the concert they would be explosive, high energy. We rarely sat in our seats. In fact, at times we had to stand on our seats, even in the 4th row. With Mike standing on his seat, he relied on me to check the level meters on the Nak.
Roger Daltrey was in fine form, his voice was strong. Pete Townshend did his thing despite a brace on his right hand due to a previous hand injury. John Entwistle remains one of my favorite bass players of all time. At times he is a "Lead Bass" guitarist. Kenney Jones did a great job on the drums. The show was basically a Greatest Hits event. The Oldies section of the encore was a highlight.
JEMS is proud to partner with Rob, Jim R and Barry G to release Millard's historic recordings and to help set the record straight about the man himself. Mike held this particular run of Who recordings in high esteem, putting the tapes in a special zippered case that he labeled with the dates of the shows he recorded. He also made a compilation of performances from across the run, something he did with two other favorite multi-night stands, the Rolling Stones in 1975 and Peter Gabriel in 1977. His Who logo artwork for this run of shows is eye catching.
We can’t thank Rob enough for reconnecting with Jim and putting his trust in our Millard reissue campaign. He kept these precious tapes under wraps for two decades, but once Rob learned of our methods and stewardship, he agreed to contribute the Millard DATs and cassettes to the program.
Our series would not happen without the support of our post-production lead mjk5510, who has been working overtime to keep up our weekly pace of new JEMS projects. Thank you as always for your invaluable partnership.
In these unprecedented times we will attempt to accelerate our release schedule to put more music in your hands and ears while we are bunkered in. Please stay positive, help your neighbors, help strangers and let’s get to the other side of this intact. Better still, make a donation to a food bank or other key support organization helping out those who are struggling even more than you are to get by.
Lastly, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work never ceases to impress. May he rest in peace.
BK for JEMS
;flac fingerprints generated by xACT 2.37 on 2020-04-05 00:06:00 +0000
02 I Can't Explain.flac:49f6ef33476b7cf31f5022f019c4b738
03 Baba O'Riley.flac:f793bab34f2029c10bb05c4026093685
04 My Wife.flac:2788f65753852cf90311990ce7f1c1c8
05 Sister Disco.flac:a9f839a532e0721c605e100aeb63e8fb
06 Behind Blue Eyes.flac:ecbffc1fac355ca9a9e9072a2b33a464
07 Music Must Change.flac:84827269e1636703bcb496a0d3659d8a
09 Who Are You.flac:6fa7e93247dcccbd8fd75d08ac9ec4a5
11 Pinball Wizard.flac:01784c6827356ae02d7998f52b0d460e
12 See Me Feel Me.flac:615ad5667da0e23b223ab9473ccb3dae
13 Long Live Rock.flac:3fff7f3d2a3958817f0bdeb4ca4efbf3
14 My Generation.flac:c01a075a7857e1dc8f680d8f1c5f937a
16 Won't Get Fooled Again.flac:a75ad2460ec832c144c6521b7c286ea2
17 Summertime Blues.flac:615a3cd805e299d5ee580271fa63a8f8
18 Twist And Shout.flac:1b8d6801f313fe32891a8f74419fc70d
19 You Belong To Us.flac:aaf0bbc9d8b6328a73840d8802f2ee57
20 The Real Me.flac:d44693f8e290b205e1c2c5992fa84252
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