Strangest Opening Act Bookings Bands/Musicians
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Strangest Opening Act Bookings

List Criteria: Openings bands that are completely different than headliners. Could be in different genres or opposite images.

Some of the strangest opening act bookings no doubt leave music fans scratching their collective heads. Most of the time, an opening act 'gels' well with the headliner. Rock bands, for instance, tend to open for other, more well-known rock bands. Occasionally, though, for some reason, very, very unlikely pairings happen. Who on Earth thought of having Jimi Hendrix open for The Monkees? What crazy, deranged concert promoter decided that having The Afghan Whigs open for Aerosmith was a super good idea? This list includes some of the most bizarre concert billings ever. Be sure to vote for those artists that you think are the most peculiar opening acts of all time, and, if you know of one not listed, by all means, add them! Everyone, it seems, has seen an oddly mismatched concert billing at one time or another.

It's hard to imagine who thought having the Beastie Boys open for Madonna on her 1985 Virgin Tour was an awesome idea. Audiences generally hated it, and critics did too. And while the Beasties went on to great fame and fortune, that tour is probably not one of the highlights of their career. Flash forward to 2012, now, and behold, one of the strangest, most unusual opening act bookings to date: Kool & the Gang will open shows for...Van Halen?! Yep. Apparently, this was David Lee Roth's bright idea. Celebrate good times, come on!

An opening act is supposed to be less popular than the headliner. That's just how it works, right? Wrong. Sometimes, the opening act winds up stealing the show. In 1983, Stevie Ray Vaughan opened for The Moody Blues. And he was, as always, amazing. Headliners want opening acts to warm up the crowd, but not take away from their big show.

The worst, oddest opening act billings resulted in disaster for some. Prince, of all people, was booed continually when he opened for The Rolling Stones in October of 1981. And Terence Trent D'Arby had the unfortunate status of opening act for Bruce Springsteen at New York's Madison Square Garden in June of 1993. Audiences did NOT like the choice: They booed throughout D'Arby's performance, and they also really pissed off The Boss - he cursed at them and then rushed through the show. And poor "Weird Al" Yankovic: He had the misfortune of opening for the new wave band Missing Persons in 1982. He's still somewhat traumatized by the experience, which he says included getting "pelted for 45 minutes" by "anything that wasn't nailed down."

Behold, the list of the most bizarre, strangest opening act bookings in music history. Don't boo, don't throw things -- just vote for your favorites!

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  1. 1
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    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock Opened for The Monkees in 1967

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    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk Opened for Simon and Garfunkel in 1967 (Forest Hills, Queens)

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  3. 3
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    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music Opened for Herman's Hermits on July 14, 1967

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  4. 4
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    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop Opened for Madonna in 1985

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  5. 5
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    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock Opened for Anne Murray on August 3, 1974 at New York's Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park ...

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    Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock Opened for Chad & Jeremy in 1970

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    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave Opened for The Rolling Stones on October 11, 1981

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  8. 8
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    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music Opened for the Doors in the mid-1960s (Portland and Seattle)

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  9. 9
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    Disco, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B Opening for Van Halen in 2012

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  10. 10
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    Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music Opened for AC/DC and the Rolling Stones in 2003 (Toronto)

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  11. 11
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop opened up for U2 in 1997

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  12. 12
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    added by alexgor23 Opened for Sly and the Family Stone in 1973 in Tacoma, Washington. He tells a great story ...

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  13. 13
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    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music Opened for The Who in 1982

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  14. 14
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    Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music Opened for Missing Persons in 1982

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  15. 15
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    added by Mindweaversd Pop punk, Crossover thrash, Melodic hardcore Opened for Blink 182

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  16. 16
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    added by StarpunkRoQr opened for Smoky Robinson in 1987

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  17. 17
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal opened up for Rush in 1990, believe it or not!

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  18. 18
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    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal Opened for Kiss in 1975

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  19. 19
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues opened up for John Mellencamp. He mentions "seeing Paris, Texas" on his 1985 ...

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  20. 20
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    added by sangredeargento Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog opened for Alanis Morrrisette 

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    added by StarpunkRoQr Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers opened for the B-52s in 1990.

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    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music Opened for Kiss, the Scorpions and ZZ Top in 1984

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  23. 23
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    new! & added by AlanPetsche Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock Opened for The Who in Oakland, 9/10/75

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  24. 24
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    Blues-rock, New Wave, Rock music Opened for Jethro Tull in 1975

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  25. 25
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Boogie rock, Rock music, Hard rock opened for Van Halen ( the 5150 tour, the first "Van Hagar" tour ) in 1986.

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    Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave Opened for The Who in 1982

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  27. 27
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk opened up for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. No, you're not hallucinating.

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    added by StarpunkRoQr Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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    added by StarpunkRoQr Special Beat / English Beat opened up for Sting in 1991

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  30. 30
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop openers for U2 in 1997

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    new! Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro Opened for The Clash in 1981

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  32. 32
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    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal Opened for Blue Oyster Cult, 1973

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    added by StarpunkRoQr Glam metal, New Wave, Gothic rock opened up for Billy Idol in 1990

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  34. 34
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Hip hop music, Ska, Rap rock opened for Living Colour in 1991

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  35. 35
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    added by kuzronk Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop, Industrial hip hop Opened for Björk in 2013

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  36. 36
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    Gospel music, Country Opened for The White Stripes in 2007

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  37. 37
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    Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock Opened for the Moody Blues in 1983

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  38. 38
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    added by StarpunkRoQr Adult album alternative, Blues-rock, Rock music opened up for the Rolling Stones. Good playing, John Popper is a mean harmonica player but a ...

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  39. 39
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    added by PeteBoyle Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop Opened for U2 in 2009

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  40. 40
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    Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal Opened for Love and Rockets in December, 1987

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    Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal Opened for Metallica in 1998

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  42. 42
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    added by Dismalhead Rock music, Country rock, Country "Opened for Black Sabbath in 1981"

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  43. 43
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    Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock Opened for Jethro Tull in 1969

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    added by Clark Benson Noise rock, Rock music, No wave Opened for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 1991. Lots of confused hippies in the audience for ...

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    added by PeteBoyle Blues-rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia Opened for The Killers in 2009

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  46. 46
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    Psychedelic soul, Pop music, Rock music Opened for Bruce Springsteen in 1993

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    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock Opened for Aerosmith in 1999

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  48. 48
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    Rock music, Heavy metal, Acoustic music Opened for Pearl Jam on July 13, 1993 at The Forum

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  49. 49
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    Piano rock, Dark cabaret, Soft rock Opened for Nine Inch Nails in 2005

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    added by Pallknowing1 Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal Opened for Rollins Band & Rage Against the Machine in 1992

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  51. 53 +

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