There Goes The Neighbourhood

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Posted: 2009 06-16


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“I dropped acid on a Saturday night ...” Sheryl Crow’s There Goes The Neighborhood, Central Park, 1999

“Look, Mom! I’m playing in Central Park tonight!” Sheryl playfully said from the stage that night. 

As a music- and people-loving New Yorker, you try to catch every large-scale show on the great fields of Central Park because it’s a chance to “get back to the land and set your soul free.” Whether it’s Paul Simon, Garth Brooks or the New York Philharmonic it’s a magical human summit on that sacred Central soil, when “a half a million young people get together for fun and music,” as Max Yasgur put it earlier, and dance beneath the diamond sky in the grassy minstrel’s light. And when it’s a great live performer like Sheryl Crow -- and a few of her friends -- it’s a must-be-there. So I was.
Not only is she very much of-her-time -- witness her succession of Top 40 hits every year since her emergence in ‘94 -- but her sensibilities are rooted in the grooves of the great original rock composers like The Stones and Hendrix – both of whom you can hear in this well written and arranaged piece. I mean, Dylan was sending her his new songs before he even recorded them (see Crow, “Mississippi” from this same CD/tour), and not only did The Stones invite her on stage many times, but Keith was a surprise performer at this big coming-out party in Central Park. 
This is obviously a very sexual song – from cover-girl Sheryl in her backless (and nearly frontless) red leather outfit to the lyrics of the girl “standing in the shower in her panties.” As George Harrison put it so simply, “It’s something in the way she moves.” I can’t put my finger on it – although I’m sure many viewers would like to – but Sheryl is the yin to Plant and Jagger’s yang. She just oozes “it”, whether that’s star power, or sex appeal, or both. 
The song’s subject and characters aren’t far from her “All I Wanna Do” – about the wild ones, “the drag queens and the freaks,” and the hangovers that come with “meltdown” weekends. But it ultimately resolves to the positive: “The afterparty’s sure to be a wing-ding as it moves into your city” – can you hear Skynyrd’s “What’s Your Name?” and “We’re An American Band” in the background? -- the rock n roll lifestyle is comin’ your way. And this music, song and on-stage celebration is its personification. 
That’s the Dixie Chicks, Chrissie Hynde and Sarah McLachlan who come out dancing party-crazy behind her – and it looks by Sheryl's smiles she didn’t know they were gonna do it. This hard-rock popper is the show-closer, just before the “Tombstone Blues” encore -- when we were all and maybe even her expecting Dylan -- but she’s ultimately joined by her guests from earlier, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Nicks. And there goes the neighborhood! 
The Sheryl Crow Band (left to right): 
Peter Stroud (lead guitar); Mike Rowe (keyboards): Sheryl Crow (lead vocals, bass); Jim Bogios (drums, vocals); Tim Smith (guitar, vocals)
YouTube Uploader: SherylCrowVEVO

Music video by Sheryl Crow performing There Goes The Neighborhood. (C) 1998 A&M Records

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