I want to compliment the Cross Insurance Arena on its recent facelift to the exterior of the building. It’s looking good from the outside! But like the old saying goes, it’s what is inside that counts, and as a Portland taxpayer I’m concerned about what’s beneath the surface.

The band Phish was in town July 6. Phish is unique because their fans travel from all over the country to see them play. This means that the Cross Insurance Arena had a chance to show the kind of arena it is and impress a lot of fans from out of state, who are here to spend money.

Instead, this is what they found:

1. Dangerously hot temperatures – not just uncomfortable – but shirt-soaking sweat in what was estimated to be about 90- to 95-degree temperatures inside.

2. Frustratingly long bathroom lines – if they added more bathrooms, fans waiting in line 20 minutes to use them didn’t notice.

3. Lemonade-stand technology for beer lines. I’ll let you in on a secret – a major portion of revenue comes from adults buying adult beverages at these events. Having just a couple of cash-only beer concessions with hundreds of people waiting in line doesn’t help revenue, or the poor people who were trying to keep up with demand.

Luckily, many fans chose to buy water in an attempt to stay alive (see issue No. 1).

Overall, it was a miserable experience for almost 10,000 fans who know their venues almost as well as they know the band. I’ve noticed that the arena’s doors are closed most nights. Is it lonely because artists ignore it for venues in Boston, Bangor and Manchester?

If I could just pay the Cross Insurance Arena to take my advice, they’d be better off. My check is, after all, in the mail each tax season.

Jeremy DaRos

Portland