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

Adam Tyler
8.9k votes 1.5k voters 51k views 86 items 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

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2
+ - 128 87
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
+ - 238 198
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Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
+ - 137 113
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
+ - 128 106
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
+ - 116 95
Rush is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss

7
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Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Alice in Chains Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Van Halen

8
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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
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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
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Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 10 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,

11
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Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
+ - 35 21
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

13
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Green Day is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
+ - 85 77
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Kiss Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Blue Oyster Cult

15
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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
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Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

17
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Santana is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Santana Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music

18
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Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Thin Lizzy Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

19
+ - 61 75
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
+ - 57 69
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Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

21
+ - 81 103
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
+ - 52 64
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The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

23
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Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Blue Öyster Cult Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

24
+ - 14 13
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
+ - 33 39
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 25 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,

26
+ - 32 38
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Cocker Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

27
+ - 48 60
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 27 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.

28
+ - 43 52
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
+ - 87 117
U2 is listed (or ranked) 29 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

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

31
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April Wine is listed (or ranked) 31 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.

32
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Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

33
+ - 97 135
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Weezer Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for No Doubt

34
+ - 90 127
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
+ - 56 80
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Living Colour Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia - Opened for Soul Asylum

36
+ - 95 137
Muse is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

37
+ - 65 95
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Clash Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave - Opened for The Who

38
+ - 24 35
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
W.A.S.P. Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music - "Opened for KISS

39
+ - 3 4
Mr. Big is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Mr. Big Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

40
+ - 9 13
The Wallflowers is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
The Wallflowers Rock music, Folk rock, Pop rock

41
+ - 54 80
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
+ - 15 22
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Garbage Pop music, Trip hop, Rock music

43
+ - 77 115
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

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44
+ - 7 9
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
+ - 10 16
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

46
+ - 4 7
Local H is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Local H Experimental rock, Grunge, Post-grunge

47
+ - 7 13
Accept is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal - Opened For Motley Crue In Toronto

48
+ - 13 21
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rammstein Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Industrial music

49
+ - 19 32
Patti Smith is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Patti Smith Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Neil Young 

50
+ - 30 50
Sebastian Bach is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Sebastian Bach Glam metal, Progressive metal, Power metal - Opened for Guns N Roses