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.
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!