Rob Lamberti performing A Celebration Of The Songs & Music Of George Michael at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Friday 27th August 2021

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

On a day that Abba announced a London residency using digital avatars, the audience at the Royal Concert Hall had to pinch themselves last night when Rob Lamberti took to the stage to celebrate the songs and music of the late George Michael.

To say that Lamberti looks like one of the greatest singer songwriters of our time is an understatement but when he started to sing the ghost of George Michael filled the auditorium. Opening with Father Figure the audience were immediately on their feet and the party had begun.

Having made an immediate impact Lamberti followed up with Fastlove and by then those that had not heard him sing before were well and truly on side. And with Michael having been in Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley for six years, there was a nod to their hits with mass sing alongs to the likes of I’m Your Man, Club Tropicana and Everything She Wants.

Whilst the up tempo songs had everyone dancing, it was the slower songs that really showcased Lamberti’s incredible vocals. He delivered an absolutely beautiful version of Jesus To A Child, a breathtaking Cowboys And Angels with a saxophone break by James Gardiner-Bateman that produced goose bumps, and A Different Corner which saw the very talented six musicians which included Carlos Hercules on drums, bass player Michael Hamilton, guitarist Paul Williams, Mark Walker on keyboards and percussionist Robert Anderson absolutely excel.

With a first half that saw a couple of jacket changes, Lamberti thrilled with Faith and its great guitar work from Williams, the uplifting and fabulous Freedom before the interval came with I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).

The second half began again in a full on way with Amazing before Lamberti’s full powerful range was highlighted in Waiting. There was Praying For Time, a despairing and sombre song which was truly enhanced by the backing vocals of Elle Cato, Hazel Fernandes and Samantha Smith. Careless Whisper had the Audience hanging on every word and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me earned Lamberti a standing ovation.

Finishing the second set with Queen’s Somebody To Love the set had flown by. But an encore of One More Try which had to be re-started because Lamberti admitted that he was feeling very emotional at his first live performance post pandemic lock downs, he then removed his jacket to reveal a police shirt and with a cheeky grin he rounded off the evening with Outside.

With a set list that did huge credit to the music and songs of the late singer, Rob Lamberti had held the audience in the palm of his hand. It was a flawless performance, so much so that checks had to be made that he was real and that a George Michael avatar hadn’t sneaked onto the stage.