If Joe Walsh were any more laid back at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night he wouldn't have been standing. He would have been stretched out in a hammock, sucking on a fat cigar.

Not that he disappointed anyone who came to hear him play guitar. Though he moved around the stage sluggishly and sang in an offhand, almost rotelike manner, his solos were precise, colorful and for the most part lively. He was at his best when expanding upon his own hits, particularly the amusing rock anthem "Life's Been Good." With the help of a lean, well-seasoned trio and a small arsenal of guitars, he also managed to improve upon a couple of hits he recorded with the James Gang and the Eagles. However, other songs like the new "In My Car" were merely throwaways and helped explain Walsh's waning popularity and the half-empty house.

The opening set by the Cruzados was far less enjoyable than the band's first two albums, since virtually every tune was performed at an earsplitting volume that rendered them thuddingly alike. One of the few exceptions was "Strange Face of Love," a spooky blues inspired by the recent rash of California freeway shootings.