There were two ways for people to approach Saturday’s sold-out Inland Invasion 2 all-day concert in Devore, which co-sponsor KROQ sold as “25 Years of Punk Rock.” Some chose to see the event as the ultimate sell-out representation of what punk is not supposed to be about. The other group — represented by the more 52,000 kids and aging punks who packed into this hot and dusty amphitheater — saw this as an irresistible, once-in-a-lifetime chance to see stars and near-stars from three different generations of punk-rock perform together.
Musically, the day was an outstanding opportunity to see and hear mostly 30-60 minute sets of only each group’s best and/or latest material. Buzzcocks, led by the graying Pete Shelley, impressed with a concise and super-energized set. The anti-authority stance of local skate punks Pennywise was a popular one with the aud.
Blink-182’s potty-mouth routine added humor to the day, while the always-reliable Bad Religion represented the most cerebral set of the long production, with such faves as “NoControl” and “Suffer”; singer Greg Graffin told stories of punk days gone by. Social Distortion — a return act from last year’s first Inland Invasion — pleased the tattooed bikers in the crowd with their tales of hard living.
Headliners the Sex Pistols, playing their first U.S. show in six years, offered a surprisingly well-rehearsed set, including most of the tracks found on their 1977 debut album, plus a cover of Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine.”