December 1, 2020 – 5:26 am

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Los Angeles 1981 [Mike Millard First Generation Tapes via JEMS, 3CD]

The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 54. Live at the Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA; August 23, 1981. Bonus Track: Springsteen With The Pretenders, Perkins Palace, Pasadena, September 5, 1981. Very good audience recording.

Thanks to Mike Millard; Rob, Jim R; Barry G; JEMS; BK; and mjk5510 for sharing the show at Dime.

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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.

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.

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Bruce Springsteen - Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA; August 23, 1981

With the release of Bruce Springsteen’s new album with the E Street Band, Letter To You, it felt like a good time to revisit Millard’s work with the Boss and this incredible performance from a six-show LA run in the summer of 1981.

Millard’s history with Springsteen begins in 1978, recording the July 5 show at The Forum (Mike’s tape is the underlying source for the bootleg Forum Heat). Mike and Jim also attended the legendary Roxy radio broadcast gig two days later on July 7. Jim says Mike brought his gear to The Roxy and planned to record the show himself, but when his heavy bag inadvertently bumped into a security guard upon entry, he took it back to his car.

Mike made a fantastic tape of the November 1, 1980 show at the Sports Arena released as Vol Six in our series. He didn’t record Springsteen on the Born In The USA tour nor the Tunnel of Love Express tour (both during his self-imposed retirement from taping), but Millard did capture the Amnesty show on September 21, 1988 (Vol Nine). Finally, in 1990, Mike recorded both of Bruce’s solo appearances at the Shrine Auditorium, the first of which, November 16, 1990, is the elusive Vol Eight in the series, elusive because that concert has since been officially released which pulled Millard’s incredible audience tape off trackers.

The first generation tape source here is among the earliest verified Millard tapes in the JEMS Archive, originally sent by Mike himself to the late, great Stan Gutoski of JEMS sometime in 1986 along with other Springsteen and Bob Dylan tapes that make up some of the earliest volumes of our series. It has long been our intention to release this show, even before we met Jim, Rob and the Lost & Found program reached another level.

The delay was down to the recording itself, which is one of the stranger ones in the Millard canon. I’ve written about the phenomenon of Mike recording so close to the stage that the PA sound is actually blasting over his head and that appears to be the case here. We know Mike was sitting relatively close on the floor, but much of the tape sounds curiously distant and there’s more audience noise that a typical Mike the Mike master. However, there are times when Clarence Clemons’ saxophone sounds like it is right in front of your face and Springsteen’s vocal level also seems to be variable. It may be a case where he was picking up more monitor sound than PA sound, which makes for a strangely imbalanced capture.

I had experimented with a lot of aggressive mastering techniques over the years to see if I could do much to improve the tape, always unsatisfied with the results. But with the use of new mastering software, I’ve pushed the show to the point where I find it sounding pretty good and the best I can make it. Samples provided.

The performance is Springsteen at his very best, pouring his heart into his own material, performing songs like “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” and “The River” like his life depended on it. He is also introducing new material like his reinvention of Jimmy Cliff’s “Trapped,” and crushing covers of Creedence’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and Buddy Holly’s “Rave On,” the latter performed here for the only time on tour, perhaps in a nod to the last time he played it in LA at the top of the aforementioned Roxy broadcast in 1978.

After an outstanding encore (including a particularly fine “Detroit Medley” featuring some rare inclusions), we’ve added a wonderful bonus track. After the Sports Arena run ended, Springsteen remained in SoCal. The Pretenders were also playing in the area and on September 5, Bruce joined them on stage at Perkins Palace in Pasadena for a performance of Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”

Mike was at the Pasadena Pretenders show, but due to unforeseen issues, he only captured about 20 mins of the show. Happily, the portion he did get included Springsteen’s guest spot in the encores, which we have included to add just a little more Millard magic to this release.

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Here’s what Jim R recalled about Springsteen at the Sports Arena 1981:

I went with Mike to the Bruce Springsteen concert on August 23, 1981 at the Sports Arena.

I was unable to find my ticket stub, but if memory serves we sat together about 8-10 rows back on the floor. Tickets were in extreme high demand, and high ticket prices resulted. Therefore getting good seats close to our sweet spot at a “reasonable” price proved difficult.

The LA Sports Arena Box Office was basically corrupt. They sold all the best seats to ticket brokers. Of course that was only after the promoter skimmed off blocks of tickets as well. Mike and I got our seats from an associate of ours named GW. Mike referred to GW as “the scapler’s scalper.” GW was fond of this moniker. GW was also a huge Bruce fan, and Mike leveraged this to our advantage. We got pretty good seats at a decent price; in return GW got a copy of Mike’s recording.

We got Mike’s gear through security via a payoff. This was facilitated by GW. The LA Sports Arena was known for very tight security so I left my camera gear at home to not bring attention to us.

I hope you enjoy the show as much as Mike and I did.

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JEMS is proud to partner with Rob, Jim R, Barry G and other friends 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.

Our roll call of collaborators this week again includes pitch maestro Professor Goody, along with the perennial inclusion of mjk5510 who is the backbone of the consistency of this series. We thank them both.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON FUTURE MILLARD RELEASES: Many of you have reached out about known or possible Mike the Mike recordings that can’t be shared on DIME per the NAB list. Rather than go through all the DIME-friendly shows first (which, happily, is gonna take awhile), we are going to branch our Lost and Found series, occasionally releasing non-DIME shows on an alternative but familiar platform with different rules. This will begin next week with a Mike the Mike double-shot, when we will post a new show here and a second one elsewhere.

So if by chance a Saturday comes and a new Lost and Found release isn’t here or it seems like we skipped a volume on DIME, look elsewhere. As we always say, True Tapers Dig!

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


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AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder
Transfer: Mike Millard First Generation Cassettes > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX8 > iZotope Ozone 8 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later.

Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.

Disc 1
Track 101. Summertime Blues 2:24
Track 102. Prove It All Night 5:19
Track 103. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 5:55
Track 104. Darkness On The Edge Of Town 4:40
Track 105. Factory 2:32
Track 106. Independence Day 8:06
Track 107. Trapped 4:56
Track 108. Two Hearts 2:51
Track 109. Who’ll Stop The Rain 3:49
Track 110. The Promised Land 7:01
Track 111. The River 6:01
Track 112. This Land Is Your Land 3:49
58 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. Badlands 6:17
Track 202. Thunder Road 6:44
Track 203. Hungry Heart 4:40
Track 204. Out In The Street 5:08
Track 205. Cadillac Ranch 5:01
Track 206. Sherry Darling 5:15
Track 207. Fire 3:59
Track 208. Stolen Car 5:14
Track 209. Backstreets 8:52
Track 210. Ramrod 4:26
56 mins

Disc 3
Track 301. Rosalita 13:25
Track 302. Rave On 2:22
Track 303. Jungleland 11:02
Track 304. Born To Run 4:29
Track 305. Detroit Medley 12:54
Track 306. Twist And Shout 7:20
Track 307. Higher And Higher [Bruce with the Pretenders] 7:14
59 mins

In October 2020, Bruce Springsteen released his 20th studio album, Letter To You. It marks his first new studio album with his regular backing band the E Street Band since 2014’s High Hopes. Click here to order Letter To You.


  2. Most Excellent! Thanks Big O

    By Roger S on Dec 1, 2020

  3. Don’t know nothin’ ’bout the music . Only know about the genitals

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  4. This is not one of Millards better recordings , It sounds distant . I guess he couldn’t get a seat close to the stage that night . The previous post from 1980 sounds much better.

    By Bill on Dec 1, 2020

  5. Twernt me above nuther fake

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  6. Running

    Rumor has it Bruce gots a Big Un

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  7. That’s why he’s Da Boss

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  8. Rumor has it Clarence had a Big Un too

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  9. Of course

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  10. Rumor has it the rest of the bad had Lil Uns and Average Uns

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  11. I am the perverted bizarro swappers. Everthing he stands for Im against. he’s closet homo. Im not. He sucks off lil boys. I dont. He loves gay bars. I dont. He beats his wife. He defecates and urinates in TRafalgar Square

    By baby swappers on Dec 1, 2020

  12. I am completely obsessed with penis . It’s all I think about . I am a penis expert

    By U L E on Dec 1, 2020

  13. Nuther fake above twernt me

    By U L E on Dec 2, 2020


    By baby swappers on Dec 2, 2020

  15. Twasnt me above more fakes

    By U L E on Dec 2, 2020

  16. Too many queers using my name . I don’t care about Bruce’s pecker . If you see someone using my name , talking about dic k size , taint me it’s a queer

    By U L E on Dec 2, 2020

  17. Face YOUR lack of any faith or any sign of intelligence come to that. Can’t type and can’t spell! I am surprised you can even breathe!
    How do you feed yourself, lil baby
    I take you ARE a juvenile at least, baby ate all the crayons. Does Mummy still breast feed you?!
    Mouth breather, bottom feeder (oh and paramecium don’t shit! Shit for brains) dumb as a stick you beat yourself with.

    By swappers on Dec 2, 2020

  18. Am I married? Single? Gay? Straight? Somewhere in-between? Who gives a damn? I’m just another dumb-ass troll that everyone learns to ignore eventually.

    By U L E on Dec 3, 2020

  19. Twernt me above

    By U L E on Dec 3, 2020

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