YES - LOS ANGELES 1980 [MILLARD TAPE]

November 15, 2022 – 6:20 am

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YES
Los Angeles 1980 [Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS, 2CD]

The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 158. Live at the Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA; October 3, 1980. Very good audience recording.

Thanks to Mike Millard; Rob, Jim R; Barry G; JEMS; BK; Goody; 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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Yes - Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA; October 3, 1980

Known Faults: “Starship Trooper” cut at the end.

After six superb, classic Yes recordings circa 1974-1979, we arrive at the divisive Drama era. Though there had been line-up changes before (and many splits after including present day), Drama saw the departure of the lead singer Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, replaced Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes respectively.

Horn and Downes had their own band, The Buggles, known for their new wave hit and on-the-nose MTV video debutante, “Video Killed The Radio Star.” What I didn’t really put together until this week (stupidly) is that “Radio Star” was a hit (in the UK) BEFORE they joined Yes, not after. I had always assumed the song came after their brief stint in Yes, likely because “Video Killed The Radio Star” didn’t break in the US until it was shown on MTV in 1981.

It does seem bizarre that two guys from the new wave movement that was something of a reaction to the dinosaur rock of the ’70s, would join a prog rock juggernaut like Yes. As the story goes, their path to Yes really comes down to the fact that they were recording in the studio next door to the band when things with Anderson and Wakeman went south.

Conventional wisdom says resulting album, Drama, the band’s tenth, was met with a mixed reception, but so too had its recent predecessors. Wakeman had come and gone before, but for fans, Anderson’s departure was a bitter pill to swallow.

Despite the personnel shift, Yes mounted another arena tour in support of the album, performing in the round again. Interestingly the set only featured four of the six songs from Drama (”White Car” and “Run Through The Light” were omitted), but two outtakes from the sessions featured: “We Can Fly From Here” and “Go Through This.”

While he does struggle to reach the note on a few occasions, I found Horn acquitting himself nicely on vocals. He isn’t a soundalike, but his vocal tone and range are adjacent to Anderson’s. The version of “Yours Is No Disgrace” is particularly compelling.

As Jim notes below, he and Mike were sitting relatively close for this one, though in the round positioning is different than a typical arena configuration. There’s a bit more audience on this one and perhaps a bit more room, but it is still rich, full, clear and likely one of the best audience recordings of the tour. The circulating recording of this show, Live Drama In Los Angeles, is Mike’s underlying recording though it hasn’t been credited to him that we know of. This new transfer represents a significant upgrade.

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Here’s what Jim R recalled about Yes in the Sports Arena 1980:

I went with Mike Millard to the Yes concert on October 3, 1980. We always went to as many Yes shows as we could. It was at the LA Sports Arena instead of the usual Forum or Long Beach Arena. These were the In-The-Round days for Yes. This stage setup was used the last few tours. We sat in the second row on the floor. The only benefit to the In-The-Round configuration was security had to be spread around a 360 degree pattern instead of 180–fewer eyes to spot microphones in a hat.

This one included a much different line up: No Jon Anderson on lead vocals and no Rick Wakeman on keyboards. That’s a big hit. Should we call this Pseudo-Yes ? The crowd to their credit remained dedicated and enthusiastic.

The new lineup makes this a tough one to write up. But what can you do? It is what it is. At least we still had Steve Howe, a true wizard on guitar, that is multiple guitars. Chris Squire on bass, one of my faves. And Alan White (RIP) on drums, a real dynamo. So the rhythm section was intact.

The band has a special meaning to Mike and me, as it was at a Yes show in 1974 where we first met.

Due to strict security at the LA Sports Arena, I left my camera bag at home. 1980 was big year for the venue which also hosted stands by The Who, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Bruce Springsteen.

Cheers to my buddy Mike. RIP.

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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.

Week in, week out the JEMS team comes through to keep our series going. Thanks to Professor Goody for pitch adjustments and mjk5510 for post production and artwork.

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

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 > Sound Devices USBPre2 > Audacity 3.1 capture > iZotope RX > iZotope RX8 Advanced and Ozone 8 > FLAC

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (256 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. Young Person’s Guide To Orchestra 2:52
Track 102. Does It Really Happen 6:52
Track 103. Yours Is No Disgrace 11:24
Track 104. Into The Lens 8:43
Track 105. The Clap 5:31
Track 106. And You And I 11:10
Track 107. Go Through This 4:27
Track 108. Man In The White Car Suite 7:24
59 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. We Can Fly From Here 6:52
Track 202. Tempus Fugit 5:55
Track 203. Amazing Grace 2:05
Track 204. The Fish 10:18
Track 205. Machine Messiah 11:16
Track 206. Starship Trooper 10:55
Track 207. Roundabout 8:07
56 mins

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  1. 4 Responses to “YES - LOS ANGELES 1980 [MILLARD TAPE]”

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    By U L E on Nov 15, 2022

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    By U L E on Nov 15, 2022

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    By U L E on Nov 20, 2022

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