I love bootleg concert recordings, or ROIOs (recordings of indeterminate origin). Some of my favorite classic rock bands had a live sound that went beyond their studio albums. Other groups used their live shows as an incubator for their music, and worked out new songs on the road years before they were officially released. Bootleg albums captured Led Zeppelin’s long musical trips, Keith Moon’s stage banter, and early versions of Pink Floyd’s most well known albums. The Kernel featured an article about Mike Millard, a famous taper from Los Angeles. It was interesting to learn about this man, the fruit of whose efforts I’d been listening to for years. Mike and others like him caught so much history on tape, and added so much to bands’ legacies. Today people freely bring cell phones into concerts and post their often terrible efforts immediately to YouTube. Not too long ago you had band managers like Peter Grant who had anyone caught recording a show removed of their equipment, so to speak.
The article reminded me of another Mike, a guy I worked with years ago. Every year, Mike took a week or so off to follow the Dead and record those shows. When The Who toured Quadrophenia in the late Nineties, Mike and I caught their show in DC. He hid his digital recorder somewhere on his person and asked that I remain quiet during the show. I never got around to asking him for a copy of that show. Sadly, Mike passed away a few years later.