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

Adam Tyler
9.3k votes 1.5k voters 51k views 86 items Follow Embed

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.

1
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The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 1 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

The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever The Best Southern Restaurant Chains

2
+ - 135 89
Queen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

3
+ - 242 202
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Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
+ - 141 119
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Guns N' Roses Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Rolling Stones

5
+ - 133 112
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

6
+ - 233 218
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
+ - 119 101
Rush is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss

8
+ - 183 168
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Alice in Chains Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Van Halen

9
+ - 97 79
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 9 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.

10
+ - 45 25
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

11
+ - 86 69
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 11 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,

12
+ - 155 144
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
+ - 89 81
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
+ - 151 153
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
+ - 135 138
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
+ - 35 34
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
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Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

18
+ - 33 37
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 18 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.

19
+ - 29 32
Santana is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Santana Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music

20
+ - 34 39
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Cocker Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

21
+ - 83 107
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

22
+ - 17 17
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
+ - 91 121
U2 is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
+ - 58 75
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Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

25
+ - 62 81
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
+ - 24 28
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Blue Öyster Cult Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

27
+ - 52 68
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The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

28
+ - 34 44
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 28 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,

29
+ - 49 66
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 29 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.

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30
+ - 43 58
Faith No More is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
+ - 98 138
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Weezer Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for No Doubt

32
+ - 28 38
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Whitesnake Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Dio

33
+ - 92 132
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
+ - 49 69
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Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

35
+ - 67 99
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
+ - 78 117
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

37
+ - 95 143
Muse is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

38
+ - 12 18
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

39
+ - 56 86
Ranker Video v
Living Colour Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia - Opened for Soul Asylum

40
+ - 21 33
Patti Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Patti Smith Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Neil Young 

41
+ - 24 38
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
W.A.S.P. Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music - "Opened for KISS

42
+ - 54 86
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
+ - 15 25
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Garbage Pop music, Trip hop, Rock music

Rock Stars Who Died at Age 29 The Best German Department Stores

44
+ - 8 15
Babymetal is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Babymetal Hip hop music, Bubblegum pop, Eurobeat

45
+ - 15 27
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rammstein Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Industrial music

46
+ - 3 8
Mr. Big is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Mr. Big Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

47
+ - 31 53
Beck Hansen is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Beck Hansen Alternative hip hop, Anti-folk, Country rap - Opened for Radiohead

48
+ - 36 62
A Perfect Circle is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
+ - 10 20
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

50
+ - 5 12
Local H is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Local H Experimental rock, Grunge, Post-grunge