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Few weekend pursuits could have compared with watching the Goo Goo Dolls’ storming return after a three-year absence

While rain lashed the streets of Newcastle, fans young and old rocked through heat and sweat in a packed O2 Academy.

Opening with an amped-up Last Hot Night, the Dolls embraced the audience, giving them exactly what they wanted, before thundering into a rapturous Naked.

At 47, John Rzeznik has crafted a stage presence that many younger performers could learn from.

He presented himself as a natural raconteur, engaging his fans in conversation leavened with humour.

In the build-up to Name, he made one young boy’s night after learning just how young he was.

“Nine!” he exclaimed. “Your parents probably made out to this song … nine years before you were born!” The acoustic ballad drew a huge cheer, the audience caught between wanting to sing along and listening to a man giving his all.

Bassist Robby Takac was also on form. He came into his own during Smash, January Friend, Second Time and Bringing On The Light.

Of course, no Dolls show would be complete without Iris and the band did not disappoint. The crowd seemed louder than the amps with the result being an extra final chorus.

Ending with Broadway, the atmosphere was electric, resulting in the security team ordering some fans to switch off their cigarette lighters.

Returning for an encore, the group closed with a heartfelt execution of their 2004 cover of Supertramp’s Give a Little Bit. It was well worth the two days of tinnitus!
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