I just saw “This is It.” It far exceeded my expectations. One of my great loves is watching the creative process, so I shouldn’t have been surprised how much I loved this documentary. When MJ is in the zone rehearsing and directing, it’s just the most amazing thing. He’s calm, confident, and very cool while directing, but the most amazing thing is that every minute he’s working, even when they’re not in the middle of a song or production, he is trying different body positions and motions, creating while he’s doing everything else, making it up on the spot. At one point during a conversation, he checked his watch, and it was this real involved hand motion. He never stops. It was amazing to watch. I mean, someone like Bowie, whose music is more my style, comes close to this in creativity — but he’s not out-dancing Fred Astaire at the same time he’s doing everything else, so it’s still not comparable, although he may be doing more mental feats.
I’ve always respected Jackson’s choice in guitarists. He always had the good sense to choose some killer hard guitarist. In fact, MJ first got my sincere respect when he hired Steve Stevens (Billy Idol’s guitarist). After that, it was Slash. Orianthi Panagaris is possibly the first fully proficient female guitarist I’ve seen, but more importantly, she doesn’t let being female take over her stage performance, so she’s cool and awesome. Instead of being solo on Geffen and capitalizing on her looks, though, she probably just ought to be the killer guitarist in a regular really hot rock band who has a great songwriter. She is a technical guitarist, which I usually don’t like, but under MJ’s direction, she doesn’t get to go all Joe Satriani and is required to actually play good songs. I saw a blurb where she did comment on that, how she thought it would be a bunch of guitar solos like she’s been used to doing (because she can), but that she learned how little of that you actually do in really great music. I love how unaffected looking she is onstage, just like any really cool cute confident serious male guitarist.
It’s a shame MJ died before we got to see the new stage wardrobe, which was being made still, all crystals and everything. Panagari had on a cool outfit of tights with a silver fringe short skirt, with matching silver on the heel of the platform boots. Her hair was perfection, poofy in the crown (long and straight – pretty sixties).
I know there’s a lot of attitude in my circle about MJ, but after seeing this I think it would really be a shame for anyone who loves music to miss this rare opportunity to see the creative process of a master entertainer.