‘Surrender’ yourself to the ‘Dream Police’

By Gus Bode

Cheap Trick wants women to want them

Photographer Jennifer Rogalin contributed to this story

The legendary Rockford, Ill., rock group Cheap Trick launched its concert at 7:30 p.m. at the DuQuoin Stare Fair with youthful vigor, but it wasn’t clear exactly what the band’s intention was until guitarist Rick Nielsen plucked Rae Ann Quidgeon out of the crowd to point out her tight, pink Cheap Trick t-shirt to everyone.


“It was awesome. I thought I was going to pass out,” Quidgeon said of her close encounter with Cheap Trick.

The 30-year-old resident of Centralia said she’d been a fan of Cheap Trick since she was 5.

Indeed, Cheap Trick hadn’t just come to give everyone in attendance a good time. It was time for the band members to have a little fun of their own. Toward the second half of the show, Nielsen leapt from the stage and placed his five-necked guitar on a female security guard after the song, “Surrender,” and at another point answered someone’s cell phone.

Many members of Friday night’s audience had been fans of Cheap Trick from a young age as well, and continued to be on into parenthood, as many families filled the grandstand. Whether it was mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, the whole extended family or any similar combination, each generation was familiar with such hits as “Surrender,” “I Want You to Want Me,” “The Flame,” “Dream Police” and the song that has become increasingly referred to as “the theme from ‘That ’70s Show’,” which is based on the original song, “In the Street.”

Although some of the songs were only recognizable to some of the more diehard fans, Cheap Trick pulled each one off with vocalist Robin Zander’s voice hitting every high note. Nielsen found a way of having his own voice heard, addressing the crowd in-between songs from a small platform next to his microphone, making small observations about audience members.

The microphone stand itself was studded from top to bottom with Nielsen’s signature guitar picks which he would invent new ways of dispensing to the audience as the show went on. From chucking them out under his knee to throwing them in the air, catching them in his mouth and spitting them out into the crowd, Nielsen demonstrated he’s not only an accomplished guitarist. He’s also well coordinated.

Granted, Cheap Trick used to play big arenas and is famous for their record-breaking sell-out of Japan’s Budokan Arena. But last Friday, it was all about Southern Illinois.


Photographer J.E. Rogalin contributed to some of the fact gathering in this story.