Germain or Polaris (remember the first name?) Amphitheater was open a scant 14 seasons, and it's concrete-and-steel construction may not have radiated warmth, but it was our amphitheater, gosh-darn it. Stuff like the first show with Billy Ray Cyrus, the Ozzfest lawn incident and the venue's ongoing legal struggles with sound ordinances (The Beat, befoire we were The Beat, spent that Billy Ray Cyrus concert listening to Achy Breaky Heart from the back patio of a nearby resident who hoped to show how oneroud the sound was going to be) -- those types of things made news, so a piece of them is shared by everyone. But The Beat has had some fun there ourselves, so here's a short list of Polaris/Germain memories:

We were inivted to meet Poison's Brett Michaels following one of the hair-band fests, and we figured the publicist and Michaels were apparently being gracious enough, and who were we to blow it off? So we agreed. We waited almost two hours, watched CC DeVille stagger around the grounds and wondered the entire time "Why are we, grown-up people who aren't really that into Poison (although our accompanying Critic Crony had been in his younger years) standing around here doing nothing as it gets later and later for the sole purpose of shaking Brett Michaels' hand?" Yet we waited, and finally got five minutes or so with the Poison frontman. He was very apologetic, polite, well-spoken and bright. In fact, we remember being struck by how sharp he was. So there you go. Not saying it was worth it, but you learn something...

We attended The Who (with Robert Plant opening) with a great and good old friend from college. This Critic Crony was The Beat's college roomate for three years and was responsible for really turning us on to Pete, Roger and the boys (oh, we knew 'em, but we became a big fan). Safe to say neither of us really expected to get to check the band out live together, but there we were - and they sounded great.

Most unusual moment: The Beat and Mrs. Beat spent a night with Chicago in a row behind four sharp-looking middle-aged women, apparently enjoying a girls night out. They took turns bringing drinks back for the group (we had to get our own), but apparently you can't get up and leave during the expected evening-ending 25 or 6 to 4. We say this because, while the ladies were dancing and clapping, one stopped suddenly and started messing with the waistband of her capri pants. What we originally thought might have been a popped button turned into something much worse as we realized she was rolling them down, squatting and relieving herself right there at her seat. When you realize the floor of the amphitheter sloped downward is when you understand why we were glad we were behind them.

Safe to share now, we guess: At the first concert we attended at the amphitheater as The Beat, we were instructed to proceed to a certain gate and ask for "media parking." Which we did, to the confusion of the first attendant we encountered, who told us to check in with the next attendant. The next attendant also seemed to know nothing of what we were asking, so she checked with a co-worker who, rather than appear clueless, asked our name, which we gave, to which he then replied, without checking any sort of list mind you, "Oh yeah. You're on the list. Go on up and park up there." Which was right up by the front entrance. Now, we were pretty sure he had no idea who we were or what he was talking about, but he directed us to the closest parking to the gate, and we weren't about to question it. "Media Parking" has become a running joke between The Beat and our Crony.