This is it, the heart of that mangy beast known as mainstream, "adult oriented" (makes it sound unwholesome, doesn't it?) rock: Eddie Money, on a chilly Monday night at Washington's ultratech Wax Museum. Actually it wasn't so bad.

All the ingredients were there for a good time. The guitars were loud, the hooks definite, the beat proud and strong -- there was even a lusty touch of soul thrown in for good measure. Yes, the ingredients were all there, but in stingy portions, slightly out of kilter and for all the wrong reasons. At best, Money is perfunctory, and at worst, insincere to the nth degree.

His music is not actively unpleasant, just shallow -- and perhaps that's what irks most. What is rock 'n' roll about if not touching something deep within the soul? Money's yowling about stars, big cars and smoky bars strikes about as deeply as ink on a page.

In the warm-up slot, a recently revamped Nightman delivered an impeccable set of hard-pop originals. Coasting atop Bill Craig's swirling, Beatle-y chords--at times dodging his acute, acidic leads--lead singer Mike Coburn fired off one round of luscious vocalese after another.