BOOTLEGS: Led Zeppelin, Long Beach, CA March 11, 1975 (Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS and Dadgad) TTT½

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BOOTLEGS: Led Zeppelin,Long Beach, CA March 11, 1975 (Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS and Dadgad The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 37) – TTT½

Mike Millard Legacy intro

Di Mike Millard su questo blog ne abbiamo parlato più volte, amante del rock proveniente dalla west coast americana, dal 1973 al 1992 registrò parecchi concerti tenutisi in quell’area. Lo fece con una strumentazione di qualità, per quei tempi davvero notevole, portandola all’interno delle arene in questione usando diversi stratagemmi (a volte anche fingendosi disabile e quindi su una sedia a rotelle). Le sue sono dunque registrazioni audience, cioè prese dal pubblico, ma di una qualità micidiale; non è un un caso che ancora oggi – tra il giro di appassionati – siano considerate tra i documenti migliori per quanto riguarda l’epoca d’oro della musica rock. Sì perché con le registrazione audience si ha l’idea esatta di cosa fosse andare ad un concerto rock, la performance dell’artista catturato nella sua essenza più pura: l’umore e le scosse emotive del pubblico, la musica messa su nastro senza artifici (e dunque senza le modifiche e i trucchetti presenti nei dischi dal vivo ufficiali), i commenti dei fans che a tratti finivano sul nastro. La fortuna ha voluto che i LZ fossero tra i suoi gruppi preferiti e, ad esempio, le sue registrazione di alcuni dei sei concerti tenuti nel 1977 a Los Angeles sono per tutti noi testimonianze preziosissime. Nel 1994 Millard decise di togliersi la vita, decisione che non ci permettiamo di giudicare e quindi tralasciamo di commentare gli abissi di dolore a cui deve essere andato incontro. Per moltissimo tempo le sue cassette rimasero archiviate nella sua stanza a casa di sua madre, le registrazioni che circolavano provenivano infatti da copie che lo stesso Millard aveva fatto per amici e altri collezionisti. Successe poi che sua madre finalmente affidò ad amici intimi di suo figlio le tante cassette (si parla di 280 concerti registrati) in modo che potessero essere trasferite e quindi salvate su DAT. Sotto all’articolo riporto (oltre al testo che accompagna la registrazione di RP di cui tra poco parleremo) tutta la lunga storia in caso qualcuno fosse interessato. Per chiudere questo breve riassunto, quando si pensava che i master originali di Millard fossero andati persi, ecco che vengono ritrovati, rimasterizzati e messi gratuitamente in circolo da generosi collezionisti e amanti del rock come noi. E’ dunque doveroso mandare un pensiero a Mike Millard perché grazie ai suoi nastri il rock si mantiene vivo e noi possiamo ancora illuderci di vivere in prima persona i momenti più esaltanti della musica che amiamo.

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Live Recording reflections

Benché in molti considerino i concerti tenuti dai LZ negli anni che vanno dal 1968 al 1980 delle esperienze cosmiche, degli eventi determinanti per le vite di chi gli ha vissuti (e io non ho nessun dubbio a tal proposito), è ben essere realisti e schietti (e chi frequenta questo blog sa che cerchiamo di esserlo con buona determinazione) e ammettere che dal 1975 in poi i tour del gruppo furono grandiosi dal punto di vista dello spettacolo, del botteghino, del business, ma che non sempre lo furono dal punto di vista musicale. Il chitarrista spento e disconnesso causa uso di sostanze chimiche, il cantante alle prese con grossi problemi alla voce dovuti ad una presunta operazione alle corde vocali (avvenuta forse tra il 1973 e il 1974), a continue bronchiti e influenze e soprattutto ad un uso scriteriato della (incredibile) voce nei primi 5 anni di esistenza del gruppo (se entri a freddo – senza nessun riscaldamento vocale – e parti con Immigrant Song, sera dopo sera, è chiaro che prima o poi paghi dazio). Il tour del 1975 ne è la prova più evidente: il gruppo arriva a Chicago nel gennaio del 1975, Robert Plant si becca l’influenza che per tutta la durata della tournée tormenterà lui e di conseguenza gli spettatori presenti ai concerti. Questo concerto di Long Beach di cui scriviamo oggi non ha grandi estimatori tra i fan storici del gruppo eppure a me a tratti non sembra niente male ma è chiaro che ne parlo perché di questo concerto esiste la registrazione del leggendario Mike Millard, registrazione recentemente rimasterizzata dal Team JEMS in collaborazione con Dadgad (tra l’altro nostro personale amico, che il Dark Lord lo abbia in gloria); sebbene esista da qualche anno anche una eccellente versione soundboard, quello che riescono a dare le Mike Millard recording in termini di pathos non ha confronto, dunque versione questa da preferire.

Il tour del 1975 si apre con due warm-up gig a Rotterdam (11/01) e a Brussels (12/01) per poi prendere il largo nel Nord America dal 18/01 in Minnesota al 27/03 in California e ritornare in Europa in maggio per le cinque date di Earls Court a Londra. Lo show dell’11/03 è la prima di due date che si tengono alla Long Beach Arena, un edificio con una capacità di 15.000 posti per quanto riguarda i concerti.

Long Beach Arena

Long Beach Arena

ANNOUNCER: the house lights are down, now, so you’ll have a good view. The people behind the stage, keep your seats. You have a good seats now. Thank you very much. The American return of Led Zeppelin.”The American return of Led Zeppelin”.

E’ questo che dice l’annunciatore prima che il gruppo si lanci in Rock And Roll. La qualità audio è sin da subito fantastica (come sottolineo sempre, tenendo presente che si tratta di una registrazione audience … presa dal pubblico insomma). Ti sembra di essere al concerto, posizionato nelle prime file. Voce e strumenti sono ben bilanciati e perfettamente distinguibili, i ragazzi della Showco sapevano davvero il fatto loro. La voce di Robert non è disastrosa come mi sembrava di ricordare. Non amo molto Sick Again, un discreto per quanto anonimo brano rock che i LZ hanno comunque spesso suonato dal vivo. Durante l’uso dell’effetto Phaser 90 della MXR, il suo della chitarra copre un po’ troppo gli altri strumenti.

RP: Good evenin’! Good eveeenin’! We must apologize for the, um, the slight delay, but, um, we couldn’t get into the building. And, we haven’t got any tickets. Um, it’s a fact. A sort of well known scalper, well, he, he, you know, I mean, we blew it, you know. And it was blown as well. So tonight we’re gonna tell you what we intend to do. We intend to take six and a half years of changes and give you, and give you just a little taste of the six and a half years. A little bit from here, a pinch of the best. The best rock, if you take my meaning. It starts like this.

Over The Hills And Far Away non è niente male. La qualità audio si conferma altissima. Nel tour del 1975 il suono di chitarra di Page era più pulito del solito, forse persino troppo, un pelo di sustain in più non avrebbe guastato. Buono il lungo assolo di Page, sostenuto come sempre da un inarrestabile Bonham e da un perfetto Jones.

RP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Ah, feeling really invigorated by the English weather you, you’ve been havin’, you know. It’s, uh, it’s put us back into the healthy, um, you know, sometimes on the road you gets a bit, uh, and then you get the English weather in L.A., that’s too much. So watch out. If you intend to sit still, forget it. We just managed, uh, not only to get a record label together, but to get an album together, Physical Graffiti. And, um, once again it has a large variety of material and, um, thoughts of our consciousness. We gonna play some of it for you. This is the first one. It comes from way way back, older than my boots.

In My Time Of Dying è suonata molto bene, d’altra parte è un brano in accordatura aperta e con questo accorgimento di solito i chitarristi sono facilitati nell’adempiere al loro dovere. La voce di Robert regge, il chilometraggio blues le dà suggestive sfumature. Bonham è di nuovo uno spettacolo, e Jones tiene tutti agganciati al terreno. Che magnifico bassista.

RP Thank you. I see the front row’s filling up very slowly. Who is Atlantic Records? Bloody state. Right, now this is a song that you definitely will have heard before, unless you’ve had your ears shut for two and a half years. It depicts a tale, or rather it, it lends itself to a series of events and, and places and ports of call throughout the world that we stopped at where, fortunately, the foot of Western man hadn’t trodden too often. And it was in these places that everything seemed to be good and wholesome and cheap and clean. And the red lights always shone brightly. In fact, ‘The Song Always Remained the Same.’

The Song Remains The Same / The Rain Song. L’introduzione di TSRTS è uno di quei momenti che ti fa comprendere come il buraccione LZ sia componente fondamentale del successo interplanetario della band. Qualità audio sempre altissima, tanto che una volta di più occorre mandare un pensiero al grande, grandissimo Mike Millard. The Rain Song in alcuni momenti pare disgiunta, forse a causa dei problemi al Mellotron.

RP: Ladies and gentlemen. For the benefit of anybody who was making a bootleg then, the twelve-string was out of tune on ‘Song Remains the Same.’ Sunny California. Hang on, tick. Is that gonna be alright? We gonna, um, we gonna continue with John Paul Jones trying to manipulate a mobile orchestra. John Paul Jones on mellotron, who I might add is looking a little bit harassed with the sounds that are coming out of it. Harassed. Excuse me. This song is, um, it’s a song that we created, or it created itself in amongst a lot of chaos and, um, change. And yet the song is basically quite a very straight forward, straight thinking thing. Lateral thinking, as my friend James puts it. Uh, this is a song about the wasted land, the land that was once green and fertile. ‘Kashmir.’

In Kashmir (altro pezzo in accordatura aperta) la batteria trattata con effetti non crea l’atmosfera giusta secondo me, il Mellotron continua ad avere problemi ma la versione del pezzo è buona. Robert la canta con grinta.

RP: John Paul Jones on mellotron. A complete Pakistani orchestra, all in one pool player. John’s been studying and concentrating a lot on the keyboards. He’s also got into Chuck Randall and, uh. You will excuse us if we have a good time, won’t you? This is another track that features, uh, hang on, John’s in trouble. And, this short break should be really filled up with a bit of schpeel, but, um, I really can’t tell schpeely things. There’s a man in the wings who is very good at doing Lenny Bruce imitations. This is a track about another song about a journey, um, a journey which will never, ever be finished for anybody. It’s called ‘No Quarter.’ 

Ogni volta che parte No Quarter ho i brividi: il suono di tastiera galleggiante, quello tondo, corposo e pieno della batteria di Bonham, l’alone di mistero e di sopranaturale del pezzo, la profondità del cosmo che ci schiaccia verso paure ancestrali … ec lavòr, ragàs (come diciamo qui in Emilia)! L’assolo di piano (con qualche problema di collegamento tra i vari cavi che genera fastidiosi rumori di fondo) di Jones e di chitarra di Page stasera sono poco ispirati e un po’ tediosi, alla batteria Bonham invece è sempre superlativo.

RP: John Paul Jones, grand piano. The taste of naughty equipment. We seem to have a little trouble on the keyboard side of things at the moment. There’s a little bit of buzzin’ and hummin’. But nevertheless, we shall hot things up a little bit. Now, a long time ago, in the South of Ameri, in the South of North America, there was a guy called Robert Johnson who wrote a lot of really good blues things, and this maybe should be a tribute to his art, or capabilities, this next song, ‘cuz anyway, it’s, it’s slightly relative in its, where it comes from. This is a song all about motorcars, but on the other hand. The drumming and the hammering is by courtesy of Acme Quaalude Company, Limited, in the back. This is a guy building a chicken pen. Can you hear it? I mean, over to our roving reporter. Shithead. This is called ‘Trampled Underfoot.’

In Trampled Underfoot Robert fatica, ma con stile ed esperienza rende le sbavature quasi un marchio distintivo. Anche qui John Paul Jones e Jimmy Page hanno problemi di ispirazione ma la carica del brano riesce a celare queste performance opache.

RP: Yes, that’s one for the motor car trade, or the trade or the motorcar. Uh, Jimmy just broke two strings, and John Bonham is just about to have a hernia. Hang on a bit. We’d like to dedicate this next song to, uh, The Chateaux Marmont, and the Continental Hyatt House, and all the places where there’s cockroaches on the floor. And, um, we’re gonna feature now, in fact, the, the grand work and the grand percussion skills of the one and only Mr Dynamo! Mr Cockstarch! John Bonham! ‘Moby Dick!’

Durante il giro di Moby Dick, il gruppo pare a tratti fuori tempo, sarà forse per il suono di batteria completamente cambiato e sicuramente peggiorato. Verso la fine il solito lavoro sui timpani sintetizzati, ma anche qui il sound non sembra funzionare e quindi convincere. Ad ogni modo 21 minuti di follia tambureggiante.

RP: Bonzo Bonham! Let’s hear it for John Bonham, ‘Moby Dick!’ John Bonham. John Henry Bonham. Gardener of the year. Good evening. Nice of you to make it. Ahh. I didn’t see you on the way in. …, hold on, vocal diarrhea. A long time ago, uh, when I was nineteen, and we all got together in a room that cost two dollars fifty for a week. Just in case it didn’t work. To see if it could work. The second thing that we tried made us sure. The first thing that we did was sign a contracts. Second thing that we did, we were really sure that we should be together from now until the ultimate finale of the big bright light. And this is the second thing.

Devo ancora rimarcare l’ottima qualità audio, in cuffia a buon volume l’inizio di Dazed And Confused è una meraviglia. Considerati i problemi alla voce, Robert si dimostra un grande: coraggioso e impavido. Benché il gruppo non fosse al suo massimo, la Dazed And Confused del 1975 rappresenta uno dei picchi dei LZ. Tra i 28 e i 40 minuti di esoterismo musicale, dipinto con i colori della decadente grandeur che il gruppo sfoggiava a quel tempo. Scrivo questo al minuto 5:30, sembra incredibile che nel 1975 avessero questa forza espressiva. L’entrata di Bonham prima del magniloquente arpeggio MI- / DO (su cui stasera Robert canta il testo di Woodstock) è uno di momenti ritmici patrimonio della umanità. Se avessi potuto essere presente ad un concerto – seppur standard – come questo e dunque aver vissuto una Dazed And Confused di tale spessore, ne sarei uscito pronto per imbarcarmi su un vascello diretto a sfidare le maestose insidie di Capo Horn. L’uscita di Bonham dalla sezione dell’arpeggio citato è di nuovo un esempio del suo grandissimo talento. Il lavoro del Dark Lord con l’archetto di violino è efficace e seducente. Quando va sugli alti sembra di soccombere al canto delirante delle sirene di Ulisse. Mi fanno davvero pena i fan dei LZ che non vanno oltre il 1972, perché una Dazed And Confused come questa vale tantissimo. La qualità sonora è semplicemente perfetta, che razza di nastro audience questo! Durante la sfuriata elettrica Page è un portento (sporco, illuminato, ispirato) e Bonhan e Jones sono poderosi. 28 minuti di estasi e tempesta elettrica. Solo i Led Zeppelin!

( assente nella registrazione: RP: On guitar, Jimmy Page. That was a combination of, um, key signatures that just will never occur again. Amidst the, um, rushing and the screaming of cowboys. (Our cowboy in the sand.) Um, now and again there comes, uh, a song that we really, really really dig and we find that we can get right across with no trouble at all. This is for the people beyond the third row. The people in the darkness)

Stairway To Heaven inizia bene, la voce di Robert non ha scricchioli e quando entra Bonham tutto sembra paradossalmente ancora più chiaro. La pedaliera basso si sente benissimo, quelli delli Showco erano davvero i numeri uno al quel tempo per quanto riguarda la amplificazione dei concerti Rock. Buono l’assolo di chitarra, che comprende il 4 giri di bicordi che qui alla Domus Saurea appassionano molto.

RP: Long Beach! Thank you very much for your time and, uh, goodnight.
Well?

Come spesso capitava in quegli anni, di ritorno sul palco per i bis, il gruppo si presentava in condizioni discutibili. Il riff di Whole Lotta Love è suonato da Page con poca dinamica e la band sembra scollata. Peggiora anche il suono degli strumenti., Solo il basso di Jones sembra essere all’altezza. The Crunge è un po’ approssimativa, la sezione Theremin invece funziona a dovere. L’intenzione di Plant in Black Dog è quella giusta, peccato il sound meno definito di chitarra e batteria.

Ladies and gentlemen of Long Beach, goodnight. Sleep well. Half a quaalude with water

Registrazione dunque eccellente di un discreto (a tratti ottimo) concerto dei LZ.

Qui l’audio pubblicato due settimane fa su youtube:

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(macaroni)ENGLISH

Mike Millard Legacy intro

We have talked about Mike Millard on this blog few times, he was a rock music lover from the US west coast and from 1973 to 1992 he recorded several concerts held in that area. He did it with quality equipment, for those times truly remarkable, bringing it inside the arenas in question using different stratagems (sometimes even pretending to be disabled and therefore in a wheelchair). His are therefore audience recordings, that is, taken by the public, but of a deadly quality; it is no coincidence that even today – among the circle of fans – they are considered among the best documents regarding the golden age of rock music. Yes, because with audience recording you have the exact idea of ​​what it was like to go to a rock concert, the artist’s performance captured in its purest essence: the mood and emotional shocks of the audience, the music put on tape without artifice (and therefore without the edits and the tricks present in the official live records), the comments of the fans who sometimes ended up on the tape. Luckily LZ were among his favorite bands and, for example, his recordings of some of the six concerts held in 1977 in Los Angeles are precious testimonies for all of us. In 1994 Millard decided to take his own life, a decision that we do not allow ourselves to judge and therefore we neglect to comment on the abysses of pain that he must have gone through. For a very long time his cassettes remained archived in his room at his mother’s house, the records circulating in fact came from copies that Millard himself had made for friends and other collectors. Then it happened that his mother finally entrusted the many tapes (we are talking about 280 recorded concerts) to close friends of his son so that they could be transferred and then saved on DAT. Under the article I carry over (in addition to the text that accompanies the registration of RP which we will shortly talk about) the whole long story in case anyone is interested. To close this short summary, when it was thought that the original Millard masters had been lost, here they are found, remastered and put into free circulation by generous collectors and rock lovers like us. It is therefore a duty to send a thought to Mike Millard because thanks to his tapes rock remains alive and we can still delude ourselves to experience firsthand the most exciting moments of the music we love.

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Live Recording reflections

Although many consider the concerts held by the LZ in the years from 1968 to 1980 of cosmic experiences, of the decisive events for the lives of those who lived them (and I have no doubt about it), we got to be realistic and frank (and those who frequent this blog know that we are straight shooters ) and admit that from 1975 onwards the group tours were great from the point of view of the show, the box office, the business, but that it was not always the case from the musical point of view. The guitarist turned off and disconnected due to the use of chemical substances, the singer struggling with major voice problems due to an alleged vocal cord operation (perhaps between 1973 and 1974), to continuous bronchitis and influences and above all to a reckless use of the (incredible) voice in the first 5 years of existence of the group (if without any vocal warming you start a show with Immigrant Song, evening after evening, it is clear that sooner or later you pay duty). The 1975 tour is the most evident proof of this: the group arrives in Chicago in January 1975, Robert Plant gets the influence that for the duration of the tour will torment him and consequently the spectators present at the concerts. This Long Beach concert we are writing about today does not have great admirers among the historical fans of the group and yet at times it does not seem that bad but it is clear that I am talking about it because of this concert there is the recording of the legendary Mike Millard, a recording recently remastered by the JEMS team in collaboration with Dadgad (our personal friend, may the Dark Lord bless him); although an excellent soundboard version  exists, what Mike Millard recordings can do in terms of pathos has no comparison, so this version is preferred.

The 1975 tour opens with two gig warm-ups in Rotterdam (11/01) and Brussels (12/01) and then take off in North America from 18/01 in Minnesota to 27/03 in California and return to Europe in may for the five dates of Earls Court in London. The 11/03 show is the first of two dates held at the Long Beach Arena, a building with a capacity of 15,000 seats for concerts.

ANNOUNCER: the house lights are down, now, so you’ll have a good view. The people behind the stage, keep your seats. You have a good seats now. Thank you very much. The American return of Led Zeppelin. “The American return of Led Zeppelin”.

This is what the announcer says before the group launches into Rock And Roll. The audio quality is immediately fantastic (as I always emphasize, bearing in mind that it is an audience recording … taken by the public in short). You seem to be at the concert, positioned in the front rows. Voice and instruments are well balanced and perfectly distinguishable, the Showco guys really knew what they were doing. Robert’s voice is not as disastrous as I seemed to remember. I don’t like Sick Again, a discreet though anonymous rock song that LZ have often played live anyway. While using the MXR’s Phaser 90 effect, the guitar covers a little too much the other instruments.

RP: Good evenin ‘! Good eveeenin ‘! We must apologize for the, um, the slight delay, but, um, we couldn’t get into the building. And, we haven’t got any tickets. Um, it’s a fact. A sort of well known scalper, well, he, he, you know, I mean, we blew it, you know. And it was blown as well. So tonight we’re gonna tell you what we intend to do. We intend to take six and a half years of changes and give you, and give you just a little taste of the six and a half years. A little bit from here, a pinch of the best. The best rock, if you take my meaning. It starts like this.

Over The Hills And Far Away is not bad. The audio quality is confirmed to be very high. On the 1975 tour, Page’s guitar sound was cleaner than usual, perhaps even too much, a hair of more sustain would have helped the general impression. Page’s long solo is good, supported as always by an unstoppable Bonham and a perfect Jones.

RP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Ah, feeling really invigorated by the English weather you, you’ve been havin ‘, you know. It’s, uh, it’s put us back into the healthy, um, you know, sometimes on the road you get a bit, uh, and then you get the English weather in L.A., that’s too much. I know watch out. If you intend to sit still, forget it. We just managed, uh, not only to get a record label together, but to get an album together, Physical Graffiti. And, um, once again it has a large variety of material and, um, thoughts of our consciousness. We gonna play some of it for you. This is the first one. It comes from way way back, older than my boots.

In My Time Of Dying it played very well, on the other hand it is a piece in open tuning and with this trick guitarists are usually facilitated in fulfilling their duty. Robert’s voice is okay, the blues mileage gives it suggestive nuances. Bonham is again sublime, and Jones keeps everyone hooked to the ground. What a magnificent bass player.

RP Thank you. I see the front row’s filling up very slowly. Who is Atlantic Records? Bloody state. Right, now this is a song that you definitely will have heard before, unless you’ve had your ears shut for two and a half years. It depicts a tale, or rather it, it lends itself to a series of events and, and places and ports of call throughout the world that we stopped at where, fortunately, the foot of Western man hadn’t trodden too often. And it was in these places that everything seemed to be good and wholesome and cheap and clean. And the red lights always shone brightly. In fact, ‘The Song Always Remained the Same.’

The Song Remains The Same / The Rain Song. The introduction of TSRTS is one of those moments that makes you understand how the LZ “buraccione” (sound impact) is a fundamental component of the band’s interplanetary success. Audio quality is always very high, so much so that once more it is necessary to send a thought to the great, great Mike Millard. The Rain Song at times seems disjointed, perhaps due to problems with the Mellotron.

RP: Ladies and gentlemen. For the benefit of anybody who was making a bootleg then, the twelve-string was out of tune on ‘Song Remains the Same.’ Sunny California. Hang on, tick. Is that gonna be alright? We gonna, um, we gonna continue with John Paul Jones trying to manipulate a mobile orchestra. John Paul Jones on mellotron, who I might add is looking a little bit harassed with the sounds that are coming out of it. Harassed. Excuse me. This song is, um, it’s a song that we created, or it created itself in among a lot of chaos and, um, change. And yet the song is basically quite a very straight forward, straight thinking thing. Lateral thinking, as my friend James puts it. Uh, this is a song about the wasted land, the land that was once green and fertile. ‘Kashmir.’

In Kashmir (another piece in open tuning) the drumes are treated with effects  and they does not create the right atmosphere in my opinion, the Mellotron continues to have problems but the version of the piece is nice enough. Robert sings it with determination.

RP: John Paul Jones on mellotron. A complete Pakistani orchestra, all in one pool player. John’s been studying and concentrating a lot on the keyboards. He’s also got into Chuck Randall and, uh. You will excuse us if we have a good time, won’t you? This is another track that features, uh, hang on, John’s in trouble. And, this short break should be really filled up with a bit of schpeel, but, um, I really can’t tell schpeely things. There’s a man in the wings who is very good at doing Lenny Bruce imitations. This is a track about another song about a journey, um, a journey which will never, ever be finished for anybody. It’s called ‘No Quarter.’

Every time No Quarter starts I get chills: the floating keyboard sound, the round, full-bodied Bonham’s drums, the halo of mystery and supernatural of the piece, the depth of the cosmos that crushes us towards ancestral fears .. . ec lavòr, ragàs (as we say here in Emilia, what a great work, boys!)! The piano solo (with some connection problems between the various cables that generate annoying background noises) of Jones and Page’s guita solo tonight are not very inspired and a little tedious, Bonham drums it is always superlative.

RP: John Paul Jones, grand piano. The taste of naughty equipment. We seem to have a little trouble on the keyboard side of things at the moment. There’s a little bit of buzzin ‘and hummin’. But nevertheless, we shall hot things up a little bit. Now, a long time ago, in the South of Ameri, in the South of North America, there was a guy called Robert Johnson who wrote a lot of really good blues things, and this maybe should be a tribute to his art, or capabilities , this next song, ‘cuz anyway, it’s, it’s slightly relative in its, where it comes from. This is a song all about motorcars, but on the other hand. The drumming and the hammering is by courtesy of Acme Quaalude Company, Limited, in the back. This is a guy building a chicken pen. Can you hear it? I mean, over to our roving reporter. Shithead. This is called ‘Trampled Underfoot.’

In Trampled Underfoot Robert struggles, but with style and experience makes the burrs almost a distinctive brand. Here, too, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page have problems of inspiration but the charge of the song manages to conceal these opaque performances.

RP: Yes, that’s one for the motor car trade, or the trade or the motorcar. Uh, Jimmy just broke two strings, and John Bonham is just about to have a hernia. Hang on a bit. We’d like to dedicate this next song to, uh, The Chateaux Marmont, and the Continental Hyatt House, and all the places where there’s cockroaches on the floor. And, um, we’re gonna feature now, in fact, the, the grand work and the grand percussion skills of the one and only Mr Dynamo! Mr Cockstarch! John Bonham! ‘Moby Dick!’

During the Moby Dick riff section, the group seems maybe out of time, perhaps due to the completely changed and certainly worsened drums sound. Towards the end we have the usual work on the synthesized timpani, but even here the sound does not seem to work and therefore convinces. Anyway 21 minutes of drumming madness.

RP: Bonzo Bonham! Let’s hear it for John Bonham, ‘Moby Dick!’ John Bonham. John Henry Bonham. Gardener of the year. Good evening. Nice of you to make it. Ahh. I didn’t see you on the way in. …, hold on, vocal diarrhea. A long time ago, uh, when I was nineteen, and we all got together in a room that cost two dollars fifty for a week. Just in case it didn’t work. To see if it could work. The second thing that we tried made us sure. The first thing that we did was sign a contracts. Second thing that we did, we were really sure that we should be together from now until the ultimate finale of the big bright light. And this is the second thing.

Still I have to point out the excellent audio quality, in headphones at good volume the beginning of Dazed And Confused is a marvel. Considering the problems with the voice, Robert proves to be great: brave and fearless. Although the group was not at its best, the 1975 Dazed And Confused represents one of the peaks of LZ. Between 28 and 40 minutes of musical esotericism, painted in the colors of the decadent grandeur that the group sported at that time. I write this at 5:30, it seems incredible that in 1975 they had this expressive force. Bonham’s entry before the magniloquent E- / C arpeggio (on which Robert sings Woodstock’s text tonight) is one of humanity’s rhythmic moments. If I could have been present at a concert – albeit standard – like this and therefore had lived a Dazed And Confused of such thickness, I would have come out ready to embark on a vessel directed to challenge the majestic pitfalls of Cape Horn. Bonham’s exit from the aforementioned arpeggio section is again an example of his tremendous talent. The Dark Lord’s work with the violin bow is effective and seductive. When he goes on high tones we seems to succumb to the delusional song of the sirens of Ulysses. I really pity LZ fans who don’t go beyond 1972, because a Dazed And Confused like this is worth a lot. The sound quality is simply perfect, what kind of audience tape this is! During the electric outburst Page is a portent (dirty, illuminated, inspired) and Bonhan and Jones are powerful. 28 minutes of ecstasy and electric storm. Only Led Zeppelin!

(absent in this recording: RP: On guitar, Jimmy Page. That was a combination of, um, key signatures that just will never occur again. Amidst the, um, rushing and the screaming of cowboys. (Our cowboy in the sand.) Um, now and again there comes, uh, a song that we really, really really dig and we find that we can get right across with no trouble at all. This is for the people beyond the third row. The people in the darkness)

Stairway To Heaven starts well, Robert’s voice has no creaks and when Bonham enters everything seems paradoxically even clearer. Jones’ bass pedal is so clear, Showco was really the number one at that time as regards the amplification of the Rock concerts. The guitar solo is focused enough and it includes the 4 bichords lickes that here at Domus Saurea we are very passionate about.

RP: Long Beach! Thank you very much for your time and, uh, goodnight.
Well?

As often happened in those years, returning on stage for encores, the group presented itself in questionable conditions. The Whole Lotta Love riff is played by Page with little dynamics and the band seems to be unglued. The sound of the instruments also worsens. Only Jones’ bass seems to be up to par. The Crunge is a bit rough, the Theremin section works properly. The attitude of Plant in Black Dog is the right one, too bad the less defined sound of guitar and drums make things worse.

Ladies and gentlemen of Long Beach, goodnight. Sleep well. Half a quaalude with water

Therefore excellent recording of a discreet (sometimes excellent) concert by LZ.

Here the audio published two weeks ago on youtube:

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[Youtube = http: //www.youtube.com/watch? V = flGMqcj9Nv4 & t = 428s]

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Note che accompagnano la registrazione / Notes accompanying the recording:

Led Zeppelin
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA, March 11, 1975
Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS and Dadgad
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 37

Recording Gear: AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder

Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassettes > Yamaha KX-W592 Cassette Deck (Dolby off) > Sony R-500 DAT > Analog Master DAT Clone > Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 > Sound Forge Audio Studio 13.0 capture > Adobe Audition 3.0 > iZotope RX and Ozone > Peak Pro 6 > FLAC

01 Rock And Roll
02 Sick Again
03 Over The Hills And Far Away
04 In My Time Of Dying
05 The Song Remains The Same
06 The Rain Song
07 Kashmir
08 No Quarter
09 Trampled Underfoot
10 Moby Dick
11 Dazed And Confused
12 Stairway To Heaven
13 Whole Lotta Love / The Crunge
14 Black Dog

Known Faults: None

Introduction 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 the complete details on how tapes in this series came to be lost and found again, as well as JEMS’ long history with Mike Millard, please refer to the notes in Vol. One: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=500680.

Until 2020, 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, Bill C. 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.

The full back story on how Mike’s master tapes were saved can be found in the notes for Vol. 18 Pink Floyd, which was the first release in our series transferred from Millard’s original master tapes:

http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=667745&hit=1
http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=667750&hit=1

Led Zeppelin, Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA, March 11, 1975

The time has come.

We now know Mike Millard captured hundreds of great concerts, but without question Mike The Mike’s most famous works are his recordings of Led Zeppelin. Mike recorded his favorite band a total of ten times, five shows in 1975 and another five in 1977.

His now legendary rig, AKG 451 microphones and Nakamichi 550 cassette deck, was purchased in early 1975 for the express purpose of recording the upcoming Zeppelin shows at the Long Beach Arena and The Forum. Mike wanted to upgrade his gear to get the best possible results. Did he ever.

He tested out his new rig at a March 5, 1975 show by Rod Stewart and Faces at the Forum, six days prior to Zeppelin’s first SoCal date in Long Beach. The new equipment passed with flying colors: The Faces tape (Vol. 13 in our series) is outstanding. Mike was ready for “the American return of Led Zeppelin” as the stage announcer says just before the band takes the stage.

Since our Millard series resumed we’ve seen a few message board posts asking why we were waiting to do Mike’s Zeppelin tapes. The answer is we wanted to do them right, which isn’t as simple as it sounds as I will attempt to explain.

All of Mike’s Zeppelin masters in our possession come from the first batch of tapes Rob S borrowed from Mike’s mother and transferred to DAT. It’s no surprise Rob started with Mike’s best-known recordings, but that means our source is a 1644 DAT, not the master cassettes themselves.

The good news is Rob made excellent transfers from cassette to DAT, and while it would have been ideal to do azimuth correction on playback (as we do with all of Mike’s master cassettes), tape alignment doesn’t appear to be a material issue.

Mike’s Led Zeppelin recordings have been widely circulated for decades and exist in bootleg and download form in myriad versions, largely owning to the many remasters in circulation.

The provenance of extant Millard Zeppelin recordings can be cloudy. Around 2010, JEMS transferred a verified, unmarked set of first generation cassettes made by Mike himself. These tapes were transferred Dolby On, though Millard almost certainly played back his masters Dolby Off, which was his standard practice when making copies: master off, copy on.

Where other sources originate is murkier, though we know some trace back to a set of VHS Hi-Fi tapes Mike made from his masters for a collector who sent him a VHS recorder to do the transfers. These VHS tapes were then converted to DAT and often circulate as first-gen sources.

Anyone who has compared JEMS’ flat, Dolby-on transfers with the various remasters from other sources know they sound quite different. Many of us have grown accustomed to the remasters’ sound, which have often gone through a fair amount of processing to boost or drop frequencies, tame hiss, compress, expand, etc. That’s not a criticism of them, simply stating a fact. In fact, some of them are uncanny in terms of the fidelity they derived from the circulating sources.

Given that, the question I pondered about the transfers of Mike’s LZ cassette masters to DAT Rob made in the early 2000s is how would they compare to the remasters? Would they disappoint because the sound we are all used to is somewhat removed from the original sound? Or would that one true generation closer make a difference?

I did a few comparisons between Rob’s DATs and circulating versions, and struggled to land on a clear POV. Because we had a lot of other Millard tapes to work through, I figured the Zep masters could wait.

But a couple of months ago I decided to reach out to Dadgad, as I admired the work he had done on some key Zeppelin soundboards and the JEMS transfer of 6/27/77. Of the folks who had done a substantial number of Zep remasters, I liked what he and Winston did best. That’s my subjective opinion and it is a subject for which many collectors seem to have strong opinions.

There was also a decision to be made about what order to release the Zeppelin shows given the hodgepodge approach we have taken with Millard’s work so far. Chronological felt like the obvious and correct answer. With that decided, I sent Dadgad a sample of the Millard 3/11/75 Long Beach recording and what he sent back convinced me we had found the right path for this tape.

After some back and forth we settled on a version that polishes and sharpens Mike’s master tape while still keeping the music sounding natural. Dadgad found the power in the recording and the performance has never sounded fresher to my ears. Of course, we’re fortunate to have a soundboard recording of this particular show, and a good one at that, but it doesn’t diminish the appeal of Mike’s master which captures the performance and the atmosphere in excellent quality. Samples provided.

The performance itself surely needs no endorsement. As Jim says below, the SoCal run is one of the peaks of the ’75 tour. While I personally lose a little interest in the “Moby Dick” and “Dazed and Confused” portions of these shows, the first half of the set, “Rock and Roll” through “Trampled Underfoot” is pretty fucking great. Listening anew, I found appreciation for Robert Plant’s friendly, casual manner. He may have looked like a rock god fronting the biggest band in the land, but he addressed the audience in a charmingly informal manner.

Here’s what Jim R recalled about the first Led Zeppelin ’75 Long Beach show:

I attended the Led Zeppelin concert with Mike Millard on March 11th, 1975. It was at the Long Beach Arena.

This was the beginning of the wheelchair era, which itself had two phases. Initially, a friend of ours named Mike L (who was partially paralyzed) offered to bring in Mike’s equipment using his personal wheelchair. Mike L got the gear in for this show but was extremely late the following night (3/12) which explains why Mike only got a partial recording of the second Long Beach show. More on that when we post the 3/12 recording. By the time Zep was back in LA for the start of the Forum run on March 24, Millard had gotten his own chair and I pushed him in. “If you want a job done right, you do it yourself.”

We sat in Riser Section 20, Row B. One row up off the floor and even with about the 10th row of the floor. Definitely a PA recording.

During the show, you can hear Plant comment, “I see the front row is filling up slowly… bloody Atlantic Records.” It was opening night in the LA area, and because this was a highly anticipated show, the music industry had numerous ticket holds. Limited inventory due to those holds likely explains why Mike and I sat in the Risers. We had much better seats for the other nights; 5th row on the floor was our “worst” seat.

On March 10, the night before Long Beach, Mike and I actually drove down to San Diego and timed that show for tape flips to make sure we didn’t miss a note in Long Beach. Which begs the question, why didn’t we record the first San Diego show? The answer is the San Diego show was general admission in a venue that was already acoustically challenged. Mike only wanted to record from his preferred locations, which is why we went to such lengths to get the seats he desired for Long Beach and Inglewood. Hard as it is to believe now, if Millard couldn’t record from the location he wanted, he would stand down, preferring no tape at all to a recording not up to his high standards.

Speaking of questions, we have seen a few message board posts inquiring if Mike ever met any rock stars. The answer is yes. Here’s one of those stories.

Between the Long Beach and Forum shows there was a 12-day gap where the band performed in Seattle, Vancouver and a second San Diego concert (bizarrely there was no Bay Area stop on the ’75 tour). LA was their hub for all the West Coast dates. Knowing this, we checked the tour schedule, and on an off night took a drive to the Continental Riot House in Hollywood (Riot instead of Hyatt, as Plant had renamed it). As luck would have it, three of the four members of the group were in the lobby: Plant, Bonham and Jones. Page was presumably up in his room.

I brought along printed photos from the Long Beach 3/12 show where I shot from the 3rd row. Mike and I got autographs from all three guys, who were cordial and liked the pictures. Bonham was especially boisterous and fun. We then followed them to the Rainbow Room where we watched them eat hamburgers.

Led Zeppelin was still near their peak for these ’75 shows. An electric buzz in the building. Awesome shows every night. Mike and I attended all seven Long Beach, LA Forum and San Diego performances. We couldn’t get enough Zep. But it still bugged Mike for years that he didn’t record the full 3/12 show.

I hope you enjoy the March 11 recording. I’ve included some pictures from the show. Keep in mind my pictures from the other performances turned out much better since we had much closer seats.

Cheers to Mike.

###

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.

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 releases would not be nearly as compelling without Jim’s memories and photos. As many of you have noted, the stories offer  a wonderful complement to Mike’s incredible audio documents.

As always, post-production support comes from the skilled hand of mjk5510, our partner and friend.

Finally, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work never ceases to impress. May he rest in peace.

BK for JEMS

2 Risposte a “BOOTLEGS: Led Zeppelin, Long Beach, CA March 11, 1975 (Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS and Dadgad) TTT½”

  1. lucatod 27/07/2020 a 11:33 #

    Nel mio immaginario i Led Zeppelin sono quelli che vanno dal 1973 al 1980, un gruppo ancora più avventuroso con arrangiamenti che non ho mai ritrovato in nessuna altra grande band. Recentemente mi sono rivisto il bootleg video dell’ultima data ad Earls Court e alcune mie riserve (voce rauca e chitarra poco distorta) verso quel particolare anno sono andate a farsi benedire.

    "Mi piace"

  2. mikebravo 31/07/2020 a 10:56 #

    Non ho dubbi sul fatto che avrei voluto assistere ad una data dei primissimi anni.
    Forse la data del 26 aprile 1969.
    Quella in cui si dice che abbiano suonato whole lotta love per la prima volta.
    Energia allo stato puro .
    Senza ma e senza se, i led zeppelin allo stato puro, primitivi, selvaggi e tesi
    alla conquista del mondo.

    "Mi piace"

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