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Thursday, July 06, 2006 

Vol. 2 No. 26

2007 Chrysler Fleet Preview – At Least I Was Half-Invited
Here’s to Memphis, Mud Island Barbecues, and B.B. King

As I mentioned a few entries ago when I admitted I crashed GM’s party, it’s that time of year for the manufacturer fleet preview shows, the large multi-day productions that Detroit manufacturers put on for their fleet clients (commercial, daily rental and government buyers), and this time, June 19-21st, Chrysler held its show in Memphis, Tennessee. And guess what? I wasn’t exactly invited to the Chrysler Fleet Preview either, but I am getting one step better: once I was there, I was invited to their premier nighttime event…

Fishing trips, ride & drives, and formal product previews comprised the program for those officially invited, but there still was enough free time for me to see many long time friends and associates hanging out in the lobby of the famous Peabody Hotel (along with the ducks). It was during this “hanging out” time at the beginning of the event that I got an invitation to the special nighttime extravaganza that Chrysler sponsored on Mud Island, the famous river park on the banks of the Mississippi. There must have been a dozen different food kiosks (all with their own version of Memphis ribs), bands, festivities etc., all with a distinctive Memphis touch. It was certainly something special for this northeastern city boy, and I had a good time with all of our clients and fleet-minded associates.

Comparing B.B. King Clubs

Of course, the couple of nights I was in Memphis, after the events (that is, after hours), I wandered down to Beale Street and ended up at the original B.B. King’s Blues Club. Now I’ll tell you, I’ve been to the two other B.B. King’s, the one in Nashville (actually, during the recent GM Fleet Show) and the one in Los Angeles, but unequivocally, the original here in Memphis is best by far. It seemed to me that the regular entertainment on a Tuesday night (there’s a different band for every day of the week) is far better than most “headliner” weekend entertainment at most other venues around the nation. And your host, old Charles Paige, the "Ambassador of Blues,” makes a point to greet every table and puts on a one-man hospitality show himself. For my money, there isn’t a better southern jazz/rock place around to just listen to first class music in a relaxed atmosphere – understated and cool (even when the temperature outside is in the 90s).

Okay, so with two fleet-focused manufacturer preview shows down and just the Ford show to go, I'm all set. Not only do I have a real bona fide invitation to the entire program (no more gate crashing), but, once again for Ford, the venue is in one of my all time favorite places for car events. You guessed it…Las Vegas!

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