Joni Mitchell
Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
September 14, 1979
Mike Millard First Generation Tapes via JEMS and Goody
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 79

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

Transfer: Mike Millard First Generation Cassettes made for Jim R > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX7 > iZotope Ozone 8 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC

01 Big Yellow Taxi
02 Just Like This Train
03 In France They Kiss On Main Street
04 Coyote
05 Edith And The Kingpin
06 Free Man In Paris
07 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
08 Jaco's Solo
09 The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines
10 Amelia
11 Pat's Solo
12 Hejira
13 Don's Solo
14 Dreamland
15 Black Crow
16 Furry Sings The Blues
17 God Must Be A Boogie Man
18 Raised On Robbery
19 Shadows And Light
20 The Last Time I Saw Richard
21 Woodstock

The Players (courtesy of RC)
Joni Mitchell: Guitar, Vocals, Piano
Jaco Pastorius: Bass
Pat Metheny: Guitar
Lyle Mays: Keyboards
Michael Brecker: Saxophone
Don Alias: Congas, Drums
Backing Vocals: The Persuasions

Known Faults:

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:

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:

Joni Mitchell, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, September 14, 1979

We've reached Volume 79 and has become our custom, we tap the year 1979 for this truly sublime recording of Joni Mitchell at the Greek Theatre, playing the third night of a five-show stand.

The acoustics and sound quality at this venue in the '70s were arguably the best in LA. Add to that Mike's recording prowess and Joni backed by a truly jaw-dropping band and you have all the ingredients for a classic Millard capture. In a review of this show that ran in the LA Times under the headline Joni Mitchell Equal To Legendary Billing, critic Tim Grobaty wrote, "There are only a few artists who, at some point in their career, take on the responsibility of becoming such a legend in their time that their performance almost takes a back seat to their presence. It was like that with Bob Dylan in '73 and like that with Joni Mitchell in '79." We'll assume Tim meant '74 for Dylan.

Our pal Goody put extra effort into this one in part because the performance and recording are just so damn good. He wrote, "This show should have been released officially, it's that great. These guys are playing for an LA crowd at a great venue and delivering their best. The interaction is stellar. I know this tour really well from many other shows and this is right up at the top of them."

The official live album from the tour, Shadows and Light, was recorded within days of this show in Santa Barbara, but there's a level of excitement and electricity Mike's fabulous audie delivers that the legit release can't touch. Another friend who saw these shows described the gobsmacking response the audience had as these legends of jazz took the stage with Mitchell. The playing, as you can hear, is truly exceptional, with street-corner doo-wop heroes The Persuasions on backing vocals the icing on the cake.

The set is wide ranging, with Mitchell classics like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock" as the bookends around more esoteric fare, including selections from Joni's 1979 album Mingus and an encore cover of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" There was also plenty of room left for the players to solo, notably Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius.

Here's what Jim R recalled about Joni at the Greek:

Mike and I went together to the September 14, 1979 Joni Mitchell concert at The Greek Theatre in LA. This was a must-see event. Excluding one-off performances, this was her first tour stop in LA in FIVE years, an eternity by '70s standards. Joni's previous LA dates happened in 1974, way back in the Ford administration.

We sat in the 5th row behind the pit, elevated a bit on the left side, inside aisle next to the center section. This is definitely in the "Sweet Spot," especially with the Greek's excellent acoustics. The Greek, which sits in the shadow of Griffith Park Observatory, is an open-air venue with capacity of just under 6,000. Very intimate.

Looking at my ticket stub priced at $12.50, I was reminded that Joni commanded top dollar in 1979. The back of the stub says "No Cameras". So I complied.

We got our tickets from a friend who worked in the Box Office. A very good connection, but this is a standalone story all its own, which I will tell at another time.

Joni's band was composed of highly talented jazz musicians whose playing blew us away.

I hope you enjoy this recording as much as Mike and I did.


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.

Professor Goody worked a second shift to make sure this one sounds as good as it can. mjk5510 handled post-production and cover art. Thanks to them both for their continued support of the Lost and Found series.

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


Images for all shows as well as full size images for this show.

Images for this show:

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