BOOTLEGS: Led Zeppelin, L.A. Forum March 25, 1975, Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS, Mastered By Dadgad Edition,The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 125 – TTTTT-

13 Mag

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 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.

Led Zeppelin, L.A. Forum March 25, 1975, Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS, Mastered By Dadgad Edition,The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 125

Il tour americano del 1975 si sviluppa – da gennaio a marzo – in 35 date, le ultime tre (24-25-27 marzo) al Forum di Los Angeles, più precisamente a Inglewood, California. Sappiamo bene che – a parte qualche eccezione – dal vivo i Led Zeppelin dell’immaginario collettivo cessano d’esistere il 29 luglio 1973, dopo quella data, nei tour successivi Jimmy Page e Robert Plant non sono più gli stessi. Plant soprattutto nel tour del 1975, Page dal 1975 al 1980 (e oltre). Il nostro chitarrista preferito obnubilato dall’edonismo e dalle sostanze chimiche smette in pratica di applicarsi sulla chitarra come dovrebbe, i risultati sono assai meno brillanti che in passato e le esibizioni live del gruppo ne risentono. Ci sono momenti nei concerti dei tour dell’ultimo lustro comunque suggestivi, cerchiamo di capire se anche in questo sono presenti.

Aerial view of the Forum in the 1970s.

Aerial view of the Forum in the 1970s.

La registrazione di Rock And Roll non è completa (manca la prima strofa) comunque già dai primi minuti si capisce che la serata è frizzante, il gruppo pare vivace. Robert ha qualche problema di voce (come d’altra parte in quasi tutto il tour) ma la sorpresa è Page, consistente e fluido. Sick Again è affrontata con grande sicurezza. Bonham è uno spettacolo.

RP: Good evening, The Forum. A very aptly titled building. That spotlight’s gonna catch us sooner or later. In the light. Everybody makes it thru. Look at that, see? That guy’s jerkin’ himself off up there. …, what? We, last night we had a really really good time. We had a great concert here. Ah, it was one of the finest that we’ve had in California, I think, for a long time. On our part, and also, um, on the part of the audience. So tonight we’d like to try and get it a little bit better. This is determined by us and you. Ooh, we intend, for those people who aren’t already aware, to take, to take you down a sort of, um, a road of Led Zeppelin music passing, passing all different areas and all different climates of, of feelings of the music that we’ve performed in six years, six and a half years. And we must start it like this, looking into the distance.

Over The Hills & Far Away è snocciolata senza intoppi; ottima prestazione, l’assolo di Page è davvero intenso.

RP: So you remember that one, yeah? Ah, shut up, sshh. I’ve got something to tell you. It can hardly be called news really, but, uh, it’s important to us because it marks, I think, uh, five, six, fourteen sides of plastic in six and a half years. At last we got Physical Graffiti in the shops. A great … cry, I can imagine, but, uh, we’re gonna do some of the tracks from it tonight and this is, um, this is the first one. It comes from, I suppose it’s roots, long before we ever heard it, it must have been used as, uh, an evening song after the chain gang had stopped for the day. It goes like this.

Dopo il precedente momento gioioso il gruppo propone la tenebrosa In My Time Of Dying. Page è in accordatura aperta di sol con lo slide nell’anulare della mano sinistra. Il gruppo è davvero in forma. La qualità audio è stupefacente, tenendo conto – come dico sempre – che stiamo parlando di una registrazione audience. Già di per sé la registrazione è stellare se ci si mette anche il nostro amico dadgad a masterizzare il tutto, i giochi sono fatti.

Led Zeppelin 1975-03-25 Forum Mastered FRONT

RP: I feel the, uh, the atmosphere is starting to create itself between you and us. We must try and get it a little bit warmer than it is though, you know? I wanna see you sweat as much as me. Total satisfaction, you know, you, it’s like, you can’t give a lady satisfaction and you can’t get satisfaction yourself without giving it to the lady first, yeah? So we’d like to think that it’s a male and female relationship where we should both sweat. You and us. Hey. Try and work that one out. Ah, to enable us to try and take you to the point of, of, um, satisfactory climax, thank you very much, madame. I’m on me way. I’m on me way. We’d like to do a thing that you might have heard before when we came here. I think we’ve been to California before. t’s called ‘The Song Remains the Same

The Song Remains The Same corre come un treno, Robert è quasi in controllo, Page è molto sciolto, anche sugli assoli sulla 12 corde.

 The Rain Song è magnifica, sporcata solo dal Mellotron sempre leggermente scordato e poco altro.

RP: Good evening. That, uh, was quite a simple, cut and dried, song of love. Ah, I don’t think that it could have been appropriate the day after it was written or the day before. It’s just that day was the day. Never again will it be like that until the next time. And as I only fall in love once a week, it’s pretty hard to keep writing. This is, uh, I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. This is another track that features John Paul Jones on mellotron, a very, um, cheap form of orchestra, John Paul Jones. Ha ha ha. This is a song about the wasted wasted wasted lands, and it’s not the lobby of the Continental Hyatt House either. It’s ‘Kashmir

Al di là di piccole sbavature Kashmir è davvero bella..

Led Zeppelin 1975-03-25 Forum Mastered BACK

RP: Thank you very much. John Paul Jones, mellotron. Right, now we intend to, um, John moves across a keyboard or two, and takes to the piano and a piece which consists of a great deal of improvisation. It would be a good idea to have a brandy glass on top of the piano and pop a dollar in, you know? He’s so cheap, ha. Of course we’re crazy. This is a track called ‘No Quarter.’

No Quarter si dipana avvolta nella consueta aurea misteriosa. L’assolo di Jones è articolato e ben si ascolta (benché nei primi minuti vi sia un fastidioso rumore di sottofondo dovuto al probabile malfunzionamento di qualche cavo). Segue l’interludio tra tastiere e batteria e quindi l’assolo di chitarra. Page si esprime bene, magari non sempre le varie frasi sono collegate a dovere, ma ciò che racconta con la solista è da ascoltare con attenzione. Ed è un sollievo sentire una data del 1975 in cui il Dark Lord è di nuovo sciolto e chitarristicamente all’altezza. Sulla coda del pezzo Page è il Page dell’immaginario collettivo.

RP: John Paul Jones, grand piano, John Paul Jones. Ah, this next piece should be dedicated to, uh, all the good ladies of America who’ve helped us get rid of the blues from time to time on the road. That boils down to about two. This is a thing, ah, if your starter won’t start and you’ve got low compression, and maybe your oil isn’t circulating good enough, maybe you’re just a little bit ‘Trampled Underfoot.’

Trampled Underfoot è coesa e sfrenata, l’assolo di Page è furioso e convincente, con molta probabilità il miglior assolo live di TU mai sentito. Gran versione.

RP: Thank you very much. Was that alright? It’s amazing the similarity between a motor car and a human body, isn’t it? Uh, are we still crazy, what a question to ask? That man in the second row asks, Are we still crazy? We ain’t crazy. It’s our road crew who are crazy. We’re all very astute businessmen. I was training to be a chartered accountant. Jimmy was gonna be a poet. Right now we bring you something, that should never be missed. The man who broke every window in ten, in room ten nineteen last night. The man who smashed wardrobes. The man who set fire to his own bed. The amazing man with only two cavities, Mr. Quaalude, John Bonham! ‘Moby Dick!’

La chitarra in Moby Dick non sembra accordatissima, o meglio non sembra esserlo la sesta corda abbasata a RE. Comunque Page è di nuovo tecnicamente all’altezza.

RP: Mr. Ultraviolence. The only man who can purr like a cat and roar like a bear in three minutes. Mr. John Bonham’s playing guitar, no? John Bonham! We’re a very happy little musical outfit. There’s Mr. Peter Grant, Panama Pete with the white hat, by the curtain there. Peter Grant! Here’s a song that, um, gosh I feel quaint. I just had a wonderful experience in the drum solo. Um, here’s a song that came to us about four hours after we got together. When we got through the how do you do’s and shaking hands, and, and what sort of music do ya dig, man, and what sign are you, baby, and as soon as we’d rolled our first joint, this was it.

Dazed & Confused nel tour del 1975 raggiunge vette di improvvisazione mai toccate, in certe serate il pezzo dura fino 40 minuti, e se il gruppo è in una forma decente l’espressività si fa cosmica. Qui al Forum stasera il gruppo non fa quasi rimpiangere la versione di se stesso del lustro precedente. Jimmy Page è un portento. Veloce, preciso, infervorato, spettacolare, il sommo Jimmy Page davanti al quale noi ci inginocchiamo, l’unico dio che riconosciamo. La band lo segue con caparbietà e sentimento. Anche Robert è ispirato, nonostante i problemi alla voce. Versione quasi superlativa.

RP: Jimmy Page, master guitarist! Here’s, uh, here’s a song that should be dedicated to, uh, the sweeter, more gentle moments in life, that can occasionally be experienced in this year of 1975. This is for you.

Stairway To Heaven è ispirata e in più sospinta dalla eccellente qualità audio. Molto buono l’assolo di chitarra …  uno si chiede come Page facesse ad avere ancora cose da dire dopo una Dazed And Confused come quella appena suonata.

RP: Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been a most approving audience. We’ve had a good time. Thank you very much. Good night.

Good evening! Ah ha. I said good eveeeeening! (Everybody needs it so bad. Everybody needs it so bad.)
Whole Lotta Love è assai meno caotica del solito (sappiamo che i fine concerto del 1975 e 1977 furono quasi tutti slabbrati ), bello il giro d’accordi dopo Sex Machine e prima dell’ultima parte dedicata Theremin dove tra l’altro c’è un grande John Paul Jones.

Black Dog conferma quanto scritto finora e mi spinge a domandarmi se questo non sia davvero la migliore testimonianza del tour nordamericano del 1975. C’è un momento divertente: Robert dimentica le parole di una strofa, rimane quasi silente, il gruppo non ha riferimenti per riprendere il riff, Page improvvisa qualcosa in modo che tutti possano ritornare in careggiata. Guitar solo di carattere, sembra di ascoltare i LZ del 1973. Degno finale di un gran concerto.

RP: People of the Forum, thank you very much, ta. We’ve had a good time. It is the summer of all our smiles. Good night

In sostanza uno dei bootleg del 1975 da avere. Risentirlo (ri)masterizzato dal grande dadgad è stato un godimento.

◊ ◊ ◊

Led Zeppelin
The Forum
Inglewood, CA
March 25, 1975
Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS
Mastered By Dadgad Edition
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 125

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

Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassette > Yamaha KX-W592 Cassette Deck > Sony R-500 DAT > Analog Master DAT Clone > Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 > Sound Forge Audio Studio 13.0 capture > Adobe Audition > Dadgad Mastering > Audacity > TLH > FLAC

01 Rock And Roll
02 Sick Again
03 Over The Hills & 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 & Confused
12 Stairway To Heaven
13 Whole Lotta Love
14 Black Dog

Known Faults: “Rock and Roll” joined in progress.

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 Mike, 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 1993.

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, The Forum, Inglewood, CA, March 25, 1975

As we’ve written in recent weeks, Mike Millard loved the Stones, Yes, all things Genesis, Linda Ronstadt, The Who and many other artists. But one band was inarguably at the top of the list and that was Led Zeppelin.

Vol. 125 in the Lost and Found series drops us into the second show of Led Zeppelin’s three-night stand at the Forum in March 1975. As Jim notes below, it was Led Zeppelin’s return to Southern California for the first time since 1973 that prompted Mike to upgrade his equipment to the now legendary Nakamichi 550 and AKG 451e rig.

Two weeks prior, Millard recorded both shows at the Long Beach Arena. Ultimately he did all five So Cal dates, including the night before this one on March 24 and two nights later on March 27 at the Fabulous Forum.

There is so much to like about the 1975 tour. Compared to the inconsistency that followed in 1977, 1975 had more good nights than off nights. Fortunately, no matter what the tour, Zep always brought their A-game to Southern California.

It’s hard to quibble with the core 1975 setlist, especially the first seven songs, which for me showcase everything I love about Led Zeppelin’s musicianship and potency. Their performances this night are uniformly excellent. While I am less drawn to some of more ponderous numbers that follow, there’s no getting around these are fine version of “No Quarter” and “Dazed & Confused” in terms of their improvisations and explorations. “Moby Dick” you either love or skip past.

Beyond the music, the band is in fine spirits and Robert Plant in particular makes sure the SoCal audience knows how much they love playing for them.

We’re fortunate that Millard’s recordings of his favorite band also happen to be some of the very best captures of his illustrious career. March 25, 1975 is no exception, with outstanding up-close sound and full fidelity. The quality of John Bonham’s playing on this tape is especially striking, bass drum to toms to snare to cymbals. The way in which John Paul Jones’ bass comes through in a track like “The Song Remains The Same” is also a sonic marvel, a credit both to the volume and mix from the PA and Mike’s uncanny ability to pull it down to tape. Jimmy Page’s guitar is the blade that slices, crunches and trudges through it all.

As is the case with all of Mike’s Led Zeppelin recordings, our source transfer was made by Rob S in the early 2000s from Mike’s cassette masters to DAT. The DAT was then ripped to a .flac file. That .flac was provided to esteemed LZ mastering engineer dadgad to again assist on this release. He prepared both a flat transfer edition (fixing only levels, pitch and phase issues, with no EQ or other mastering applied) and a second, “respectfully mastered” edition as he puts it, that fine tunes the sound for what we feel is optimum listening pleasure. Samples provided.

Here’s what Jim R recalled about Led Zeppelin’s second show at the Forum in 1975:

I went with Mike Millard to the Led Zeppelin concert on March 25, 1975. It was the middle date of a three-night stand at The Forum. A show that’s a little overlooked, you know? It’s not opening night or closing night. A case of middle-child syndrome?

Keep in mind, this was still only the fifth show of the Nakamichi 550 + AKG 451e era and only the 15th show Millard had ever taped. At this time, his recordings were only known to a handful of friends in the LA area.

We got our equipment into the building using Mike’s dad’s wheelchair, the classic method. We were escorted by security down to floor level in the service elevator–full VIP treatment. Little did they know what was inside Mike’s seat cushion. LOL.

Mike and I sat in Section A, Row 3, Seats 3-4. Seat 1 is on the inside aisle, closest to the center. Our seats put us a little closer to PA, maybe 15 feet away, so you might hear a bit of buzzing due to our proximity and the volume.

March 25 was an excellent show. All four members were in top shape. Great jamming in “No Quarter” and “Dazed & Confused.” After the concert, we continued our new tradition of drinking beers in the parking lot listening to the recording on headphones. Those walking by Mike’s car would get a listen.

I am pretty sure the pictures included in the artwork are from this March 25 show, but don’t hold me to it. Keep in mind, this was almost 47 years ago. Man, I’m getting old!

As usual, I hope you enjoy the sights and sounds of this great show. Cheers to my buddy Mike. RIP.

###

JEMS is proud to partner with Rob, Jim R, Ed F, Barry G and many others 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 Mike’s 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, photos and other background contributions. As many of you have noted, the stories offer an entertaining complement to Mike’s incredible audio documents.

This week’s honor roll is topped by Dadgad who handled both the flat and mastered versions. We’re pleased to continue our partnership with him on Mike’s Led Zeppelin releases. Extra shoutouts to Rob S for his original transfer, Jim R for providing his great notes, photos and ticket stub, and to mjk5510 for final post production support and artwork.

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

BK for JEMS

Una Risposta a “BOOTLEGS: Led Zeppelin, L.A. Forum March 25, 1975, Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS, Mastered By Dadgad Edition,The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 125 – TTTTT-”

  1. lucatod 14/05/2022 a 13:22 #

    Per quanto mi riguarda i Led Zeppelin al Forum di L.A e al MSG di N.Y suonavano sempre al meglio. Le loro performance nella “provincia americana” e in Europa non reggono il confronto.
    Le registrazioni di MM hanno la capacità di catapultare l’ascoltatore nella frenesia delle prime file , restituendo il vero umore dello spettacolo. D’altro canto è arduo trovare delle esecuzioni migliori di TSRTS , il complicato taglia&cuci operato da Jimmy Page ha creato in parecchi casi l’esecuzioni definitive dei loro pezzi.

    Piace a 1 persona

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