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bands/musicians The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen  

Adam Tyler
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List Rules Only opening acts who have gone on to stardom

What are the best opening acts you've ever seen? These are the bands and musicians that blew you away, making you a fan for life, even though they were only the opening act for some bigger, more well-known headliner. Almost everyone who's been to tons of concerts has seen one or two acts that truly stood out (in some cases, eclipsing the headline act).

Whether it's Kings of Leon (who opened, notably, for U2 several years ago) or the Foo Fighters ( who opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers), this list includes them all. Or it will: Add the opening acts that you think were the best you've ever seen, so all of us can go "Huh, really? Didn't know they were ever an opener..."

Some of the biggest names in music today have, at one time or another, opened for someone else. Curious? Check out this list of the strangest opening act bookings in music history. See? Even Prince made it: He opened, just once, for The Rolling Stones. Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees?!

Makes you want to pay closer attention and arrive earlier for that next big concert, doesn't it? Exactly. Because while headline acts don't ever want to be bested by their openers, they also want the opening acts to warm the audience up properly and get them into a festive mood.

Hopefully everyone will contribute some of their favorite opening concert acts to this list. Don't be shy: Jump on in! This list includes all music -- rock, folk, country, R&B, rap, you name it.

list ordered by

1
+ - 149 93
Queen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever The Best Qualities in a Leader

2
+ - 186 137
The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Blues-rock, Psychedelic soul, Rock music - Opened for The Monkees

3
+ - 250 207
Ranker Video v
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
+ - 60 28
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

5
+ - 95 72
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock - opened for the moody blues,

6
+ - 105 83
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Van Halen Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Black Sabbath in Pittsburgh. Roth spent more energy jumping across the stage than he did on singing.

7
+ - 146 126
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Guns N' Roses Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Rolling Stones

8
+ - 239 228
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Foo Fighters Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers

9
+ - 125 108
Rush is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss

10
+ - 164 150
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Pearl Jam Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers

11
+ - 187 175
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Alice in Chains Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Van Halen

12
+ - 135 120
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

13
+ - 97 85
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Kiss Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Blue Oyster Cult

14
+ - 158 161
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Green Day Pop punk, Rock music, Alternative rock - Opened for Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine

15
+ - 140 144
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Red Hot Chili Peppers Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music - Opened for Pearl Jam

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16
+ - 38 36
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Thin Lizzy Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

17
+ - 39 40
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
April Wine Rock music, Hard rock - Added to the bill with Scorpions and Sammy Hagar at the fairgrounds coliseum in Columbus. Also opened multiple times for Rush.

18
+ - 30 29
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Blue Öyster Cult Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

19
+ - 22 20
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Cult Gothic rock, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Billy Idol in Toronto

20
+ - 99 126
U2 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock - Opened for J. Gelis Band, Jethro Tull

21
+ - 32 35
Santana is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Santana Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music

22
+ - 82 108
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

23
+ - 62 80
Ranker Video v
Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

24
+ - 86 116
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

25
+ - 35 44
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Cocker Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

26
+ - 53 71
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Scorpions Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock - Opened the World Series of Rock in Cleveland. Late addition to the bill. Possibly their first U.S. Performance.

27
+ - 64 89
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop - Opened for Bad Religion

28
+ - 47 64
Faith No More is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Faith No More Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Metallica, Guns N' Roses

29
+ - 101 144
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Weezer Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for No Doubt

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30
+ - 37 50
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Black Crowes Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music - Opened for UFO. While most opening acts are dismissed out of hand, they left an impression on many of us who were there to see Schenker. A good, tight rock and roll band,

31
+ - 30 40
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Whitesnake Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Dio

32
+ - 52 73
Ranker Video v
The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

33
+ - 29 39
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
W.A.S.P. Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music - "Opened for KISS

34
+ - 95 138
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog - Opened for R.E.M. and Alanis Morrissette

35
+ - 71 104
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Clash Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave - Opened for The Who

36
+ - 16 21
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

37
+ - 82 123
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

38
+ - 51 76
Ranker Video v
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

39
+ - 97 151
Muse is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

40
+ - 58 92
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Kings of Leon Blues-rock, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for U2, Pearl Jam

41
+ - 58 92
Ranker Video v
Living Colour Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia - Opened for Soul Asylum

42
+ - 22 37
Patti Smith is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Patti Smith Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Neil Young 

43
+ - 12 22
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

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44
+ - 16 29
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Garbage Pop music, Trip hop, Rock music

45
+ - 31 56
Sebastian Bach is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Sebastian Bach Glam metal, Progressive metal, Power metal - Opened for Guns N Roses

46
+ - 10 22
Accept is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal - Opened For Motley Crue In Toronto

47
+ - 17 34
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rammstein Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Industrial music

48
+ - 11 26
The Wallflowers is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Wallflowers Rock music, Folk rock, Pop rock

49
+ - 31 61
Beck Hansen is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Beck Hansen Alternative hip hop, Anti-folk, Country rap - Opened for Radiohead

50
+ - 36 70
A Perfect Circle is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
A Perfect Circle Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia - opened for Nine Inch Nails