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Eddies on the money at concert

Pat Benatar and Eddie Money; E Center; Tuesday night; one show onlyTo Eddie Money, fans equals friends.

"Michael Jackson has a lot of fans, but I've got lots of friends," the rocker told the little crowd who came to hear some harmless Top 40 rock.

Money opened for one of the original Riot Grrls, Pat Benatar, Tuesday night. And the audience cheered both acts as if it were 1983.

Money's set was filled with nostalgic power chords and tales of restless youth. He had the audience bouncing to "Shakin,'" and his obligatory hit, "Two Tickets to Paradise." But he also peppered the set with new songs such as "Don't Say No Tonight" and "Broken Down Chevy," from his new album, "Ready Eddie."

Although some might say Money's time has run out, he still is an entertainer. His set wasn't flashy. He didn't try to be some egotistical rock star. All he and his band did was play music.

Other tunes included "I Wanna Go Back," "Baby Hold On" and his highest charter, "Take Me Home Tonight."

Throughout his career, Money didn't draw attention to himself with mindless media gigs and over the top publicity stunts. He was a blue-collar everyman who made music. And that's exactly what he was Tuesday night. In fact, he sounded as clean as he does on record. What the fans saw is what they got.

While the Beastie Boys and a lot of big-names are trying to free Tibet, Money is donating his time and a part of his merchandise proceeds to the Pediatric Aid Foundation.

Benatar's set was just as vibrant, if not better. This year's gig was one of the best in her career. Her voice -- opera trained -- has matured and tightened with time. And that came through later in the night with a brilliant rendition of "Shadows of the Night."

Her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo, opened the set with the angry chords of "Treat Me Right" and then slid into "I Need a Lover."

The elfin Benatar, a blonde this year, greeted the cheers with "You Better Run" and a rare take of "My Clone Sleeps Alone."

"One Love," "We Live for Love" and the new wavy "Get Nervous" had the audience, even the men, singing and clapping along.

A subtle calypso beat shimmied through "We Belong," from her album, "Tropico" and even the blues anthem, "True Love," from the same-titled album showed some spunk , unlike the last four times Benatar's played here.

The child abuse awareness anthem "Hell Is for Children," the dynamics "Precious Time" and the angry "Heartbreaker" were more highlights of the show.

Of course, what would a Benatar show be without "Love Is a Battlefield" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

Benatar has yet to play the Top 10 single, "Invincible," a song found on the "Legend of Billie Jean" soundtrack that hasn't played for 19 years.

This year, Giraldo was more up-front with the audience. He chatted, slapped high-fives, signed posters and threw gum to the adoring fans. And when it was time, he cranked out bold solos -- although at the beginning of the set, the guitar was lost in the mix.

Kudos to United Concerts for bringing in Pat Benatar and Eddie Money. Although the show was far from selling out, the fans -- some who were undoubtedly unable to pay the price for a Bob Dylan/Paul Simon ticket and too old to figure out what the younger generation sees in Sugar Ray -- were treated to a quaint night of pop rock tunes.