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Published Date: 18 November 2010
November 9 @ O2 Academy, Leeds

Red spotlights search a blackened stage amidst recorded voices shouting, talking and chattering in confusion until white lights break through and Goo Goo Dolls are there, performing Sweetest Lie with effortless cool.

Singer John Rzeznick's strong and husky vocals stand out immediately. The live sound is exceptional, the spell that is cast by their performance is awesome.

Big Machine fills the room and the crowd drink it all in.

The opening chords to Slide lift the mood to joyful heights and everyone is singing.

Capturing the mood perfectly Rzeznick declares that "tonight is about forgetting everything that's going on outside this room, alright?! We're here to have a good time." The effusive 'Dizzy' is a damn fine choice to follow that statement and everyone is behind it.

Hit follows hit as their catchy, gorgeous, pure melodic punk rock delivers exactly what we came here to see with Rzeznik at its centre.

Equally popular on vocals, of course, is the band's co founder Robby Takac who bounds energetically around the stage and throws his whole body into his harder, punk-fuelled style for numbers like Another Second Time Around and Smash.

The contrast between Takac and Rzeznik adds a light and dark element to the set which really keeps the audience on their toes and alert.

A fantastic live version of Black Balloon spills out from a dramatic black and red backdrop and you really get the feeling you are in the hands of true, born musicians and showmen.

The newer material – Home, Better Days and Iris – is embraced, as well.

It is the encore that really raises the roof, however, with an stirring rendition of We're Not Broken followed by an outstanding version of Broadway complete with an acapella opening and a saxophone solo.

Sheer musical excellence.

Claire Cameron
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