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By Ben Brady

Yes, they played 'Iris' and everyone in the crowd sang along. There's a chance you stopped reading there and from the reaction of friends you'd be forgiven for thinking The Goo Goo Dolls had only ever released one track, but it's often seen as one of the best songs ever, even reaching the heady heights of being (abysmally) covered by Ronan Keating. Luckily tonight's audience are well aware of the bands twenty year history and some of the excellently varied tunes that we're about to hear.

In what felt like the most crammed I've ever seen the Leeds O2, Scottish ballad rockers Unkle Bob provided the evening's support. Performing a set of slower, heartfelt music that isn't too out of place with the likes of current downbeat favourites Interpol and Arcade Fire. They're well received by the audience, but the chilled out twinkling style left me wanting to hear somthing a bit more in line with the evening.

After what seemed like a long wait between bands, The Goo Goo Dolls stormed the stage breaking into opening track from their new album 'Biggest Lie', but it was third song in 'Slide' that really turned on the excitement in the crowd, even after John Rzeznik stopping five notes in for a self confessed acoustic mistake.
Even if you had no idea of the band on stage, the rest of the devoted crowd singing along helped to bring the atmosphere, and the distinctly unique gravely vocals of Robby Takac, although not quite as strong through the speakers tonight as those of his band mate, give character to crowd pleasers including 'Second Time Around' - almost as if watching a seperate, but just as enjoyable band on the same stage; a contrast taken even further by Rzeznik's stereotype rock star cool, and Takac's punk fuelled energy, dancing and leaping around the stage while playing up for the cameras, not afraid to show off that he's just having fun onstage. Through the night instrument levels didn't always seem ideal, with supporting guitars and lead solos often taking an obvious priority over the acoustic backing played by Rzeznik, and bass parts of later songs almost dissapearing from where we were standing, although this was the extreme right of the stage.

The set list came almost exclusively from the post 'Dizzy Up The Girl' period, and with a career that long cuts have to be made, but a couple of other tracks thrown in from 'A Boy Named' would have fit quite nicely into the line up despite this being a defining moment in the current line ups career; the mixed age crowd clearly had knowledge of the bands back catalogue old and new. The variation in style ranged from heartfelt acoustic ballads like 'Black Balloon' to upbeat rock tracks 'Dizzy' with a little bid of mid range in 'Broadway'; there was something here for the rest of us.
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