This isn’t really a supper club story, but rather a funny story with a supper club moral at the end that it is never a bad idea to have pizza as a backup plan.
Jerry MacDonald is a buddy of mine that has run major arenas around the country. He ran the arenas where the NBA’s Heat play in Miami and where the Rockets played in Houston. He now runs the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, the number 1 ranked outdoor amphitheater in the world. He also opened the Pyramid arena in Memphis back in the early 1990’s.
The night that they opened the Pyramid there was a concert by the Judd Sisters and they had planned a gala event afterwards with a sit down dinner of tenderloin and jumbo shrimp for all the key notables in the city. Jerry had been working for two years to get the arena built and this was to be a real celebration.
Jerry had gotten invites for me, my wife and another couple telling us about the scrumptious feast planned. As we drove to the event I mentioned to my other friend that having been through major events like this before that something would go wrong that 99% of the people there wouldn’t notice, but would drive Jerry crazy.
About half way through the concert I noticed the arena staff placing rolls of carpet around the sound/light control station and the back of the arena like a moat. Then the staff came out with squeegees. Unbeknownst to 99% of the people in the building was the fact that there was a major plumbing issue. When the first patrons flushed the toilets all the toilets in the arena flushed. There was a real risk that the concert would have to be called off because of flooding. With the quick thinking of Jerry and his staff, crisis was averted and the show was an enormous success.
The gala “feast” also went on. The ballroom was beautifully decorated and dinner was served. But, instead of surf and turf the waiters brought out Pizza Hut pizza from the concession stands from the upper floors of the arena. The event was delightful. Speeches were made and congratulations flowed along with copious amounts of alcohol.
As the event wound down my friend Jerry finally joined us. I asked what happened to the surf an turf dinner. He explained the plumbing issue and the fact that the building’s kitchen was on the lowest floor. To make his point he asked: “Do you remember the movie Caddy Shack? Well right now we have “Baby Ruth” bars flowing through the kitchen. Check out this scene from the movie to refresh your memory;
I guess the supper club moral of this story is that it is always good to have pizza as a backup plan.
It is also good to know that it is now standard procedure across the country that when you open an arena you have boy scouts troops come in the week before to test the plumbing with a practice flush.
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