Monday, January 25, 2010

The other star of Michael Jackson's 'This is it': Guitarist Orianthi Panagaris

If you found yourself watching the much-hyped Michael Jackson concert rehearsal film, This Is It, as I did last night--from home: I completely eschewed it at the theatres, but got the DVD at Xmas. I've been keeping it for a rainy day, which came yesterday when my DStv subscription went tits up--then you likely found a happy surprise tucked inside.

Orianthi Panagaris.

How is it that I didn't know who Orianthi Panagaris is before last night?

I wonder.

This 24-year-old Greek-Australian virtuoso is truly the wonder, asked several months ago to audition for Michael Jackson's band in anticipation of the final concert tour. Blonde hair blowing in the fans, fingers blazing, Orianthi burns up the stage in a performance I've hardly seen since Jimmy Page and Puff Daddy in Come with me, off the Godzilla Soundtrack.

The film footage is cut in such a way that it is lovingly supportive of the musicians and dancers who surrounded Michael Jackson in the final months of his life in this project. As Michael says to Orianthi near the end of the film, encouraging her to go full-out on a guitar solo, "This is your time to shine."

And I have no doubt she's about to in a big way!

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