Chase Brown lands lounge act on Vegas strip
Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 30, 2014 at 2:30 a.m.
Sweat beads trickled down Chase Brown's bare chest, pooling near the rim of his glossy black jeans and trademark cigarette-lighter belt buckle.
Breathing in, breathing out, Brown panned Bally's hotel Indigo Lounge, realizing the Chase Brown show he began in Victoria years earlier was indeed on par with Sin City's lavish entertainment tastes.
What's more, he and his show were invited, head-hunted, hand-picked for Bally's - one of the strip's most famous hotels.
Brown stood at the edge of the stage, smiling.
He needed to remember the cheering and applauding and whistling coming from the audience following his solo stage performance at the end of his first Chase Brown Vegas Sunday night show.
"It has always been my dream to have a show on the Vegas strip," said Brown, a native, of Victoria. "I wanted to take it all in."
He paused to thank the audience for their support and let them know they were witnessing his dream realized. Brown waved goodbye and ran off stage midapplause.
Moments later, a muffled chanting stirred from the audience.
"Chase! Chase! Chase! Chase!" they shouted, in crescendo.
He couldn't believe they wanted more.
"My eyes welled up with tears," he said, remembering the fanatical cheers. "I turned up my microphone and ran back on stage and did an hourlong encore."
Following the finale, which ended at 1:30 a.m., Brown spent the next five hours relishing in his success. His childhood dream was accomplished at 30 years old. He was in Vegas with his own weekly show.
He was a hit.
"It was the most beautiful and overwhelming moments," he said. "I stayed up until 6 a.m. crying happy tears."
Brown has been singing and dancing in South Texas for about a decade, gradually building a faithful following of fans.
He's known around the Crossroads for his chiseled stomach muscles, cowboy hat, flaming belt buckle and collection of high-energy cover songs performed on and around his equally famous Chase Brown ladder.
And while he was making it in Texas, booking regular shows and growing his fan base, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to return to Vegas full time.
He'd been there a year earlier performing when he could. But when his show wasn't taking off, he made the decision to return to Victoria.
"A friend of mine told me once that the best way to make it in Vegas is to leave," Brown said. "He was right. When I left, that's when I was invited back."
So when he received the call about six weeks ago about taking over the Sunday night spot at Bally's newest lounge, he knew he couldn't turn down his dream.
"I just thought, 'Is this real life? Do I risk this?'" he said. "But I decided to pack up my things and drive up here and see how it goes."
Brown threw his clothes, laptop, a few microphones, electronics and necessities in his Nissan Pathfinder, and he and the Chase Brown ladder drove to Vegas.
"I spent 23 hours in the car thinking about what I was about to do. I didn't want to go back to Victoria with my tail between my legs," he said. "It's all chance and possibility, and I was trying to stay positive."
His first night in Vegas, he arrived a few hours before the show to perform sound check, where he was told to expect a small crowd.
But after his first few songs into the 9 p.m. set, Brown's performance filled the lounge.
"Twenty minutes into the show, the place was packed. They had to bring in another cocktail waitress and bartender. There were heads as far as my eye could see," he said.
Brown said he plans to stay in Vegas as long as the strip welcomes his show and invites his Texas fans to join him on the strip.
"I want everyone who comes to see one of my shows to feel like they know me and they're friends with me," he said. "I want a smile to be my legacy. I want the show to get as big as it possibly can."