Eric Clapton feat. Mark Knopfler
Irvine Meadows
Laguna Hills, CA
September 23, 1988
Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 109
1644 Edition

Recording Gear: AKG 451E microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 cassette recorder

JEMS 2021 Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassettes > Nakamichi RX-505 (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX8 > iZotope Ozone 8 > convert to 16/44 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC

01 Crossroads
02 White Room
03 I Shot The Sheriff
04 Lay Down Sally
05 Wonderful Tonight
06 Tearing Us Apart
07 After Midnight
08 Can’t Find My Way Home
09 Badge
10 Same Old Blues
11 Band Introductions
12 Cocaine
13 Layla
14 Money For Nothing
15 Sunshine Of Your Love

Known Faults:

Eric Clapton – guitar
Mark Knopfler – guitar
Alan Clark – keyboards
Nathan East – bass
Steve Ferrone – drums
Jody Linscott – percussion
Katie Kissoon – backing vocals
Tessa Niles – backing vocals

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 Mike, 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 1993.

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:

Eric Clapton, Irvine Meadows, Laguna Hills, CA, September 23, 1988

Another week, another tremendous master recording by Mike "The Mike" Millard. BTW, Mike himself wrote his name as "The Mike" most of the time, though there are examples in his own hand of "Mike The Mic" as well. But I digress.

We turn the clock back to 1988 and what was only the fifth show Mike recorded after his self-imposed sabbatical from taping between 1984 and 1988, Eric Clapton and his pal Mark Knopfler performing at Irvine Meadows.

Mike's history with Clapton goes back to 1974, recording one of EC's Long Beach Arena shows with his original rig (Vol. 84 of the Lost and Found series). He also caught Eric at the Forum on August 14, 1975, released as Vol. 33. Curiously, he did not record Clapton again until this show, though Mike's cassette collection includes a copy of the Santa Monica Civic shows in 1978 from the King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcast. Mike also caught the show at Pacific Amphitheatre in March 1990.

I've heard a fair number of Clapton live recordings from tours in the '80s, '90s and even 2000s, most of which leave something to be desired. Not because they are weak performances, but more that the sound and arrangements of Clapton's classic songs can lack bite, sound thin and just don't pack the punch I want them to--which explains why I was so happy with Mike's capture of this 1988 show.

Perhaps due to Mark Knopfler role in the band and position high in the mix, the versions of "White Room," "Badge," "Layla" and other EC favorites are robust and to my ears superior to those from other modern tours. Clapton's vocals are strong too, and points to drummer Steve Ferrone who is killing it. This is much closer to what I want Clapton to sound like, and that makes for a satisfying listen.

Mike's recording does the performance justice, sounding punchy, rich and close. He did experience channel dropouts in a handful of spots during the show, and one channel was really low for about 25 mins in the middle of the set. We've applied fixes to those issues and we hope you are as satisfied with the results as we are. Samples provided.

I'd be remiss if I failed to point out Knopfler performing one of his own songs, Dire Straits' hit "Money For Nothing," as the second to last song of the show. "Money For Nothing" was only three years old at this point, and while the musical arrangement is relatively faithful save for the guitar solos, Knopfler sings it differently, even bluesy in spots, which helps make the song fit EC's overall set.

Here's what Jim R had to say about Clapton Irvine Meadows 1988:

I did not attend the Irvine show, but I have a hunch what Mike was thinking and feeling as he did.

To Mike and me, Eric Clapton harkens back to our early teen years, when Cream ruled the airwaves. Cream was the first "Supergroup." In fact, that's probably when that term was coined. Oh how we longed for the the "Clapton is God" days, to relive that history: His silky smooth, effortless guitar playing and magisterial jamming. Listening to this show, with four Cream songs, brought me back and reminded me of moments that I would have loved to share with my buddy Mike.


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.

As usual, it takes a village to present the weekly Millard releases. Thanks to Professor Goody his pitch assessment and to mjk5510 for applying his touch to the final production and artwork.

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