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Marian Pashley

Review: GEORGE at the Eventim Apollo

George - Eventim Apollo As it is billed as a celebration of the songs and music of George Michael, featuring Rob Lamberti singing "as" George, but most significantly, with original members of the George Michael Band, one immediately assumes this is a cut above the generic performance of this type. I would definitely assert that that is an accurate assumption to make. Rob Lamberti has a great soaring voice, the moves of the late George, and both the band and orchestra appear to be having an absolute ball. Such bubbling creative energy cannot fail to bathe an already eager crowd in absolute joy.

Fans of George Michael tend to be quite a protective lot, and Lamberti pitched the tone of this tribute such that it respectfully but unspokenly acknowledged that fact. An engaging and charismatic performer, with undoubted talent, he is charmingly humble, and takes pains to laud his band, and his orchestra on multiple occasions. One of the entertaining side distractions was watching the venerable conductor (Matthew Freeman) getting on down, and the rest of the orchestra chair dancing as they played. But the biggest cheer and sustained applause was for the late George Michael himself, as requested by his tribute performer, at an astutely timed latter part of the evening.

Did I mention that Rob Lamberti was a generous performer? He happily gave focus and effusive praise to the stunning (looks and voice) Elle Cato as they dueted, Elle taking the Aretha part, and then, as they sang together, to the equally engaging and talented Shean Williams. Shean managed to sing whilst beaming with delight, simply gorgeous to witness. It was excellent to see the stand out talent of saxophonist David Baptiste, who toured with "Wham", given centre stage, and Samantha Smith who was backing singer for both George and Freddie Mercury, there once again as Lamberti sang "Somebody to Love." Please, when you go, grab a programme and read it, counting the number of credits and plaudits amassed by the people on stage will make your eyes water.

I was thoroughly exhausted from dancing, clapping and cheering by the end of the numerous encores, and would unreservedly recommend this show to anyone who loves the music of George Michael, anyone who just loves to see and hear great music played by superb musicians at the top of their game, and frankly, anyone with a pulse... it will certainly be beating faster after an evening of "George."