Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#339 Rick's Picks

Two weekends ago I drove to Rockford, Illinois and back. Why? To see Rick’s Picks, an exhibit at the Burpee Museum of Natural History. Who is Rick? Rick Nielsen, the guitarist from Cheap Trick. What are his picks? His guitar picks. Now that I’ve answered all of your questions, let me give you some background information and then I’ll tell you about my trip.

This past Christmas my brother gave me a Rick’s Picks t-shirt. I’ve been a Cheap Trick (specifically a Rick Nielsen fan) for a long time. My sis-in-law is from Rochelle, Illinois (about 30 minutes south of Rockford) and had heard about the exhibit. It started in April 2012 and ends April 10, 2013. I didn’t have much time left to go and finally decided to make the trip. By myself (I didn’t bother asking my friends because I knew what the answer would be).

My history with Cheap Trick and Rick goes back to New Year’s Eve in the 1990s. Alyce and I wanted to go out for New Year’s and my other friends didn’t. We ended up at Union Station to see none other than Cheap Trick. At that time I knew a couple songs and liked them well enough, but wasn’t super excited about the show. As I stood off to the side, I started watching the tall guitarist jumping around. He was a great performer and was so fun to watch. I then noticed that he was pointing his index finger in our direction. He’d point, then turn his hand over and move his index finger like he was saying, “come over here.” Alyce and I turned around to see who he was pointing at. At one point, the crowd seemed to turn around in slow motion to see who he was pointing at. Turns out he was pointing at me. I felt like I was in a music video!

A few minutes later, a roadie came over and said Rick wanted to meet me. What? I followed him to the side of the stage and after the song was over, Rick ran over, looked me up and down and said, “You are tall!” He then said, “I’m Rick.” I said, “I’m Linda.” He ran back on stage. That was it. What? I’m no groupie, but I was expecting maybe a little more.

I returned to Alyce to watch the rest of the show. Rick is known for throwing personalized picks into the crowd. He threw one in my direction and the guy in front of me picked it up and gave it to me saying, “He was throwing this to you.” Awwww. From that night on, I’ve been a huge Rick Nielsen fan.

Since then, I’ve seen them twice opening for other bands at summer concerts. Last summer I saw them at Rib America. Rick is now 66 and is still as energetic as he was back when I first saw him. Once again, I stood off to the side and thought maybe he’d recognize me. Nope. Oh well, it was a great show!

So now to my Rockford pilgrimage. Rick is from Rockford so he decided to put together an exhibit. Luckily he never threw anything away so there was tons of memorabilia. It’s mostly guitars (duh) displayed along the walls and in enclosed cases, hanging from slowly rotating hooks. Each has a description of its history and coolness factor. There are posters, tickets stubs, fan letters and drawings, various pieces of clothing, shoes, sunglasses, hats, his pick collection, and much more. It was hands down one of the coolest, most interesting exhibits I’ve ever seen. I read a lot of the memorabilia descriptions and also saw some of the videos throughout the exhibit and thought I saw everything in an hour and a half. However, someone could spend hours in there paying even more attention to the detailed items. I didn’t have the luxury of spending hours. I had to be back in Indy for a date. (Yes, I had a date! Stay tuned for that recap in another post.)

On the way out I bought another pick (to keep my other pick company) and a magnetic checkered guitar for my fridge. Just a little something to remind me of my fun day.

One way it took me 4 hours and 15 minutes. I left at 7 a.m. and got home around 5:30 p.m. Not bad. It was a sunny day and I had great tunes to keep me company (driving out of Rockford I blared, “I Want You To Want Me.”) Even though I felt like I had enough time to see the exhibit, I do wish I could have spent more time in Rockford. It seemed like a really nice town, despite its ranking as the #3 Most Miserable City in the United States . I disagree.

All-in-all I had a great day! For those of you who are singletons and want to do something but don’t have a companion, just go on your own. Yes, having a buddy is more fun, but I’d rather do something I love by myself than sit at home wishing I would’ve done it. Get out there!

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