Last week folks knew a secret, but no one promised not to tell. When the Devils played the Gillioz, thousands raised a little hell.
Ozarkers packed the downtown Springfield Gillioz Theatre Sept. 10 and 11 for local legends The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. The shows kicked off the Dares’ “39 and Holding” tour, commemorating nearly 40 years of Ozarks-inspired sound.
The band’s unique blend of rock, blues and country has involved a rotating cast over the years, but founding member John Dillon thought the latest lineup couldn’t have been better.
“This is the greatest group of musicians we’ve ever played with,” the Ozark resident said.
Original Dares Dillon, Steve Cash and Michael “Supe” Granda led the ensemble of old and new band members, known as the “Sparedevils” and “Raredevils.” The collective group played a two-hour set Sept. 11, including famed hits “Jackie Blue” and “If You Wanna Get to Heaven.” Familiar fans recognized rarities like first-album deep cut “Noah,” and “Satisfied Mind,” a track the Dares haven’t played in decades.
The set was a start-to-finish crowd-pleaser, the only hiccup being a little feedback on “Satisfied Mind.” Dillon halted the fan-favorite just seconds in to make sure ticket holders got the proper rendition.
“You paid good money; why do you want to hear a bunch of squealing?” Dillon said, inciting uproarious applause.
The crowd sang along to the second take, literally voicing its approval of the band they’ve long loved.
“I never get tired of listening to them,” concertgoer Jeff Swofford said.
Swofford and his wife Michelle drove three hours, from Harmann, for the weekend shows. Swofford, a Dares buff, said he has “no idea” how many shows he’s seen, but in 35 years of fandom, he guessed about 40.
“I’d say more than that,” Michelle Swofford said. “More like four or five a year.”
Springfield resident Susan Wilcox echoed the longtime support, saying she’s listened to the band “since the seventh grade.”
“They were the first album I had—back when they had albums,” Wilcox said. “Last time they were here it sold out, so I had to make it this time.”
Those through-it-all fans were especially elated when, late in the Saturday show, the doctor was in the house. Original Devil Dr. Sam “Buddy” Brayfield, an Osage Beach physician, joined the band for “Waiting for My Seeds to Grow” and stayed on through the two-song encore.
Dillon said Brayfield last played with the band more than 30 years ago.
“Having Buddy play with us after all these years was really gratifying,” Dillon said. “I think he really enjoyed it too.”
The wall-to-wall turnout showed Ozarkers enjoyed it as well, and the full house came as little surprise to Gillioz operations director Michael Owens.
“I think they bring out people that wouldn’t normally go to a show,” Owens said of the Dares. “A lot of people in the Ozarks are committed to their roots, so when a local band like the Daredevils comes out, people pull out all the stops to make it.”