The timing couldn’t have been better last summer when Gordie Brown was offered a chance to play sports arenas as Celine Dion’s opening act.
After all, what better way to promote his 2009 residency at the Golden Nugget than doing his comic impressions for thousands?
But the timing on the back end? Not so good.
Dion’s recurring vocal problems got the better of her in November, causing tour dates to be postponed and rescheduled after the original tour’s end.
Hence, the Canadian impressionist was planning to fly from St. Louis after finishing a concert Wednesday, then opening at the Nugget last night. That meant rehearsing new bits by wi-fi with his five-piece band, because he performs to recorded tracks on the Dion tour.
Getting hired by a superstar he never met was a surprise last July, when Brown was working at the V Theater at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
The half-hour showcase turned out to be "everything and more" than he hoped for. "I really wanted to do this for the exposure," he says. "It’s what I was lacking and what I was needing." Granted, people still are trickling in when he goes onstage, but "by the time I’m halfway through my show, I do have 20,000 people in there."
At least the Nugget is familiar turf for Brown. It was the home of his first Las Vegas headlining run in 2004 and 2005. Since then, he says his act is more rapid-fire comedy and, in its own way, more original.
"That’s who Gordie Brown is. I’m everybody that I’m doing," he explains. "I am all those kind of off-the-wall characters onstage. When I become them, there’s still me going through them. I’m the one bringing you in and out of everything I’m doing, including coming up with material I’m saying while I’m doing those guys."
Brown will be one busy impressionist, with not a single night off through Feb. 26. He plans to use his Sunday and Monday dark nights at the Nugget to catch up to the Dion tour, until she wraps it up and both head back to the city they call home.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.Preview Gordie Brown 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays Golden Nugget, 129 Fremont St. $46.95-$112.95 (866-946-5336)