THE WHO - SAN DIEGO 1976 [MILLARD TAPE]

January 15, 2021 – 5:43 am

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THE WHO
San Diego 1976 [Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS, 2CD]

The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 60. Live at the Sports Arena, San Diego, CA; October 7, 1976. Fairly to 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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Known Issues:
- I Can’t Explain: alternate recording source
- Substitute: alternate recording source
- My Wife: 18 seconds patched at the start from alternate recording source
- Won’t Get Fooled Again: 1:26 patched at start from alternate recording source
(Patches taken from alternate master tape recorded by Michael Cariola and posted to TTD. Used by permission of the original poster, kingrue.)

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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The Who - Sports Arena, San Diego, CA; October 7, 1976

This week’s release from the Mike Millard archive was chosen specifically to honor the memory of the late, great Jared Houser, the J in JEMS, who passed away four years ago. A truer friend you will never know.

The Who was Jared’s favorite band and he taped them well over 100 times, taking his passion for their live recordings so far as to establish what he called The Who Tape Information Center, the mailing address for which was listed in Ed Hanel’s book The Who: An Illustrated Discography.

I bought that book from Tower Records when I was in high school in the early ’80s and seriously getting into bootlegs. The listing for the Who Tape Information Center and Jared’s name were something I pondered often. What did he know and what recordings did he have?

Jared was also one of the principals (along with Marc Cohen) behind the excellent Who fanzine Who’s News and he wrote extensively about the band’s live shows in those pages. He also had a personal relationship with Pete Townshend, not only meeting him on several occasions but corresponding with him by letter in the ’70s and early ’80s. We’ve included a great photo of Jared and Pete taken on a visit to London in the ‘70s.

There’s a much longer version of this story to tell someday, but miraculously, less than a year after I got Hanel’s book I became friends with a woman (known in JEMS notes as AMorg) who worked at the other cool record store in town. It turned out AMorg was close friends with Jared having met him at the Who shows at Madison Square Garden in 1979. I met Jared in person in 1984, and four years later he moved to my town where JEMS was born. The rest is history until Jared was diagnosed with cancer early this decade. He fought it long and hard before passing away in 2016.

I’ve written before that the first JEMS connection to Millard runs through our other late, great member, Stan Gutoski, who died earlier this year. Stan and Mike traded tapes in the ’80s and met up on at least two occasions.

Jared never met Millard but he was well aware of and greatly admired Mike’s work and his methods. At two Springsteen shows in 1988, we co-opted the Millard playbook, renting a wheelchair to push Jared and a hidden video recorder into the venue so he could film from the relatively unobstructed handicapped section. As I was pushing Jared into the show the first night we talked about Millard’s famous use of the wheelchair and how funny it was that we were doing the same.

The Who was also one of Millard’s favorite bands and he taped them on several occasions starting in 1973 (his very first recording) and through the band’s 1989 Tommy tour. That body of work includes this recording of the band’s performance in San Diego, the second stop on a nine-show final leg of the 1976 tour that would prove to be Keith Moon’s last.

Who setlists in 1976 were heavy on Tommy material thanks to the success of the Tommy film, rounded out by several greatest hits selections and a couple of songs (”Squeeze Box” and “Dreaming From The Waist”) from the band’s current album, The Who By Numbers. The result was a satisfying if predictable show and that’s a good description of the San Diego performance. Virtually any Who show with Keith Moon has merit and while the band moved rather quickly through the set, the versions of the songs themselves are strong throughout.

Millard arrived late to the show and missed the first two songs (”I Can’t Explain” and “Substitute”), plus the top of Entwistle’s showcase, “My Wife.” As luck would have it, another master tape of the San Diego show recently surfaced on TTD and we’ve included the two missing songs and a patch from the third to complete the performance.

Mike himself rated his Who ‘76 recording “Poor,” and like other tapes given similar grades the reason is that he was too close to the stage (Row B) and wasn’t picking up the Who’s extremely loud PA. The result is an unbalanced sound that gets a lot of Entwistle’s bass amp and/or monitor and other on-stage sounds like Daltrey’s tambourine, but not a lot of Townshend’s guitar, Roger’s vocals and Moon’s drums.

Through mastering I’ve been able to restore more of those elements to the mix, though not as fully as desired. That being said, Millard’s pull is far from a poor recording and better than many ‘76 tapes I’ve heard including the alternate source we’ve borrowed from. Because Millard is capturing sound straight from the stage, you’ll hear a lot of interesting details lost on other recordings. And if you’re the kind of person who frequently utters the phrase, “Entwistle’s really good, man,” you’re in luck because Mike’s tape documents The Ox’s virtuosic playing brilliantly.

Here’s what Jim R recalled about The Who in San Diego 1976:

Mike and I attended The Who concert on October 7, 1976. Unfortunately, it was at the San Diego Sports Arena known for its crappy sound. As usual, Mike drove us from Orange County down to San Diego.

This was a highly anticipated concert. It was our first time to “see them right,” namely with the Nak 550 and good seats. Their previous local arena show was on the Quadrophenia Tour in November 1973. We both attended that night but did not know each other yet. We did see them several months prior to San Diego at Anaheim Stadium in March 1976. Mike didn’t record because the show was general admission and he couldn’t guaranty his taping location.

The San Diego date was the only local arena show on the ‘76 tour, the last to feature the “Classic Lineup” with Keith Moon.

I can’t recall why the first couple songs were missed, more than likely we had trouble getting the equipment in. The band was in fine form and Keith Moon was quite talkative throughout. He is a maniac on drums and John Entwistle is a lead guitarist who happened to be holding a bass.

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

Special thanks to several folks this week, starting with TTD poster kingrue, who allowed us to use three songs here from the master tape he posted there. Professor Goody chipped in his pitch guidance, especially important when matching two different sources. Finally, mjk5510 who got this one ready for you despite a shortened holiday week.

Without Jared Houser there would be no JEMS, no Millard Lost and Found series, none of it. He is a first-ballot inductee into the Tapers Hall of Fame. And for all the amazing tapes Jared made and collected, he was an incredible, loving and kind person who I was lucky to call my friend for over 30 years. He loved JEMS and loved reading comments on DIME of our posts. This Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage you to pay your respects.

Before Jared died, we took the time to interview him and turned some of that footage into a tribute video. If you are interested in the man behind the tapes and have yet to see this short film (click here), I encourage you to do so.

Finally, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work never ceases to impress. May he, too, rest in peace. Sunday, November 29 marks 26 years since his untimely passing.

BK for JEMS

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Lineage:
AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder
Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassettes > 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 > 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. I Can’t Explain (alternate recording) 2:49
Track 102. Substitute (alternate recording) 3:47
Track 103. My Wife 6:12
Track 104. Baba O’Riley 5:42
Track 105. Squeeze Box 3:42
Track 106. Behind Blue Eyes 4:52
Track 107. Dreaming From The Waist 5:06
Track 108. Magic Bus 10:16
Track 109. Amazing Journey 3:20
Track 110. Sparks 5:15
51 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. The Acid Queen 3:50
Track 202. Fiddle About 1:44
Track 203. Pinball Wizard 2:53
Track 204. I’m Free 2:22
Track 205. Tommy’s Holiday Camp 0:51
Track 206. We’re Not Gonna Take It 3:35
Track 207. See Me, Feel Me 6:03
Track 208. Summertime Blues 4:13
Track 209. My Generation/Join Together 12:23
Track 210. Won’t Get Fooled Again 10:43
49 mins

Click here to order Who releases.

  1. 11 Responses to “THE WHO - SAN DIEGO 1976 [MILLARD TAPE]”

  2. Fantastic quality, sound and performance.

    By jdallenx on Jan 15, 2021

  3. Very cool that “I Can’t Explain” and “Substitute” from the same concert were found. But it also demonstrates how great Millard’s recordings are and makes me appreciate them even more.

    By ScarRad on Jan 15, 2021

  4. Rumor has it this was a band of Big Uns

    By U L E on Jan 15, 2021

  5. With Roger being the Biggest Un

    By U L E on Jan 15, 2021

  6. the sound quality sucks

    By swappers on Jan 15, 2021

  7. er, the imposters are posting serious and boring musical opinions now!? Go Figure as the Yanks would have it . . . . . . . . ! :)

    Now do be a dear and FUCK OFF!

    By the (real) swappers on Jan 15, 2021

  8. Ooh, you are a rude limey!

    By DD on Jan 15, 2021

  9. Why DD sirrah, how quaint you are like a soft Southern gentleman. Why sir nobody has used such archaic terminology as ‘limey’ since the late 1800’s, we also eradicated scurvy back in the 1920s but you stick to your out dated anachronistic terms if it serves yo7 well down on the plantation!
    I’m off for a Mint Julip
    ;)

    By swappers on Jan 16, 2021

  10. Why DD sirrah, how quaint you are like a soft Southern gentleman. Why sir nobody has used such archaic terminology as ‘limey’ since the late 1800’s, we also eradicated scurvy back in the 1920s but you stick to your out dated anachronistic terms if it serves you well down on the plantation!
    I’m off for a Mint Julip
    ;)

    By swappers on Jan 16, 2021

  11. In many ways it’s a great recording (especially the bass), but Moon’s drums are almost inaudible. It must have been the sound system’s fault, because the same problem exists in the ‘alternate recording’ as well.

    By Bhal on Jan 16, 2021

  12. Hey Bhal, at this gig The Who played as a three piece, Moon was not there.

    By Derrick on Jan 16, 2021

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