Dave Edmunds has put together a crack band for a world tour and last night he tried to work out the kinks in front of a sympathetic crowd of 500 at Lisner Auditorium. The New Jersey Band, as it's called, still has a way to go before becoming a fine-tuned unit. There was no subtlety on stage, except for E Street drummer Max Weinberg (who can make anyone sound tight) -- it was as if the members had received instructions to damn the torpedoes.
Edmunds stuck to a "greatest hits" format, with the emphasis on his early material, such as "I Hear You Knockin'," "Girls Talk" and the local radio fave "Here Comes the Weekend," ignoring his last three releases almost entirely. That was a wise choice, since no one in the audience seemed to mind the missed key changes, or the bad sound mix, or the total lack of dynamics, as long as they got to hear their favorite Edmunds tune.
A particularly low moment came when second guitarist Bobby Bandiera sang Roy Orbison's "Crying." Being able to hit the right notes of a song doesn't qualify someone to sing it, as this wedding band version proved. Edmunds's guitar playing was too frequently buried by the two -- count them, two -- keyboard players, and it was the audience's enthusiasm, not Edmunds's, that carried the show.