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Singer Rob Lamberti has gotta have faith to be George Michael at Eden Court Inverness on Sunday

By Margaret Chrystall

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Tribute artist Rob Lamberti as George Michael.
Tribute artist Rob Lamberti as George Michael.

Rob Lamberti was just 14 years old when he saw George Michael sing Faith on Top Of The Pops.

According to his own story, Rob said at the time – as he witnessed George, the foot tapping and the leather jacket the Wham! star wore for that song – “I can do that!”

Six years later Rob’s career as a tribute artist had begun and he made an impact when he first appeared on national TV on Stars In Their Eyes with the words the series made famous: “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be…George Michael!”

He performed the very song he’d promised himself he would – Faith! That performance led to enquiries and Rob left his building site day-job for good after he went on to form a full live show in tribute to his idol.

For Rob, one of the biggest moments in his career so far came when he performed in front of a US president.

At the Veterans’ Ball at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, Rob shared his “George”.

Was that an incredible pressure, given the audience?

“No pressure at all!” Rob said. “I sang a number of songs including Faith, plus Club Tropicana, I’m Your Man, A Different Corner, Careless Whisper and Freedom 90.”

By this time, Rob was considered the number one George Michael tribute artist.

Invitations to perform came from celebrities including Chris Evans and Simon Cowell and gig bookings began to expand from Europe to America.

But, what most people would be curious about, did Rob know if George himself ever heard him sing?

Rob says his greatest honour came when he was offered the dream performance of his life – working on behalf of George for Sony Music to promote the album 25 Live.

It led to a lovely joke paying tribute to Rob’s skills as George.

Rob Lamberti studies all the late George's moves.
Rob Lamberti studies all the late George's moves.

In a 2014 interview, George was asked if he was ever mistaken for being somebody else, and he replied: “I’m often mistaken for being Robert Lamberti, he is a George Michael lookalike”.

Rob now works hard at honouring George’s memory. The tribute artist wants to do the late star’s talent proud.

Some of George Michael’s personal musicians even feature in Rob’s band and one of Rob’s proudest moments was getting to meet George backstage after the success of the 25 Live promotion.

He was invited to a number of shows to see George and got to go backstage to meet him, the band and management.

“That day was a surreal moment!” he said. Particularly as he even got to meet George’s dad Jack too.

As careers go, Rob believes he is living his dream, but his ambitions are fuelled by a desire to do one man proud and achieve the perfection that George applied to his own performance – his own idol, George Michael.

Rob Lamberti – “the world’s No 1 tribute to George Michael” – will be at Eden Court Inverness on Sunday, May 15, at 7.30pm.

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