What Brown did for me

Whether I knew it or not at the time, my 2006 interview with Gordie Brown (the subject of the feature “Golden Impressions,” page 56) will always hold special significance. It was November, and the singer-impressionist had just scored a residency at a major resort on the Strip. This magazine was conducting a photo shoot at his showroom, and I tagged along hoping to snag a few moments with him prior to the show. As luck would have it, he had some down time, so we began our chat—just as his backing band started warming up for that night’s performance. We were a few minutes in when the music picked up, and I figured my questions would be numbered, but Gordie suggested we take it backstage and continue the interview there. About halfway through the interview, I asked him what I thought was a rather straightforward question, about which impression was his favorite, and if that favorite impression was influenced at all by the reaction it received from the audience. He responded with that Holy Grail that all interviewers must seek, an acknowledgement that goes beyond its four simple words: “That’s a great question.” I’ve heard it said a few times since, but Gordie was the first.

After the interview, I stuck around to watch Gordie rehearse with his band and was struck by the authority with which he commanded the stage. He led them through the paces in a Michael Jackson number, going over cues and making sure everything was as close to perfection as possible. Of course, come showtime, that all went out the window. Gordie’s belt broke during the opening and he spent the rest of the show gamely making sure his pants stayed up, hilariously alluding to the mishap in the lyrics to some of his songs. It was another memorable moment—one of the many I would witness during the times I’ve seen him perform in Las Vegas.

As a fitting final act, after the piece ran, I received a hand-written note from him thanking me for the story and for the time we spent together. You get to see Gordie be a lot of different people during his Golden Nugget show, but it’s perhaps the one you don’t get to see that’s most impressive: himself.

When you’ve finished perusing LVM and are ready to hit the town, be sure to stop by your hotel concierge and pick up our sister publication VEGAS2GO, your pocket-sized guide to all the city has to offer.

Jack Houston