By CHRIS PAGE
Californian staff writer
e-mail: cpage@bakersfield.com
http://www.bakersfield.com


A funny thing happened to punk rock on its way to the concert arena.

It cleaned up its act. It started violating the 40-minute rule - which says no punk band should play for longer than 40 minutes, for fear of getting boring. And it incorporated flashy lights and "Beavis and Butt-head"-worthy pyrotechnics.

At least that was the case with the first show of the "Pop Disaster Tour," with headlining acts Green Day and blink-182.

Opening act Jimmy Eat World gave an album-perfect performance of songs largely taken from its 2001 self-titled album, with singer/guitarist Jim Adkins pushing his voice further than he's taken it even in his group's recent late-night TV performances.

If there is one fatal flaw to the "Pop Disaster Tour," it's that there's too much good stuff. By the time Green Day left the stage and blink-182 started into its first song, the crowd was noticeably drained.

Credit Green Day for delivering a show which, although wasn't all that much different from its last "Warning" tour (including filler moments wherein budding musicians from the audience were called up and played Green Day's instruments), still managed to be the peak of the evening.

Blink-182's show, meanwhile, used epileptic-scary stage lights and exploding pyro effects to make up for what was an otherwise anemic trio sound. (It was so bad, drummer Travis Barker added a MIDI trigger that played a hip-hop-heavy bass rumble whenever he hit it. Cheap and cheesy.)

It's hard to see what's so punk rock about Barker's finale of strapping himself to his drum riser and floating out over the crowd (thereby channeling Tommy Lee of Motley Crue) and then spinning forward and backward a few times before returning to stage. But it was cool anyway.

One thing's for sure: Those punkers sure do clean up nicely.