The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever Bands/Musicians

The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

By 3.3k votes 433 voters 40k views 64 items tags f p @

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!

List Photo: user uploaded image
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  1. 1
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    Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    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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    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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    Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

  5. 5
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    Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop Opened for Madonna in 1985

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    Kool & the Gang is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

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    Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    Bruce Springsteen 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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    Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

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    Prince is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

  10. 10
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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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    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 malachi4.4ministries
    Punk Rock Opening act for Toto in Montreal, Canada once upon a time in the mid '70's.

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  13. 13
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    The B-52's is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    The B-52's New Wave, Pop music, Rock music Opened for The Who in 1982

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    Rush is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal Opened for Kiss in 1975

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    "Weird Al" Yankovic Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music Opened for Missing Persons in 1982

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    Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

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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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    Kiss is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

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    Albert Brooks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by alexgor23
    Albert Brooks Opened for Sly and the Family Stone in 1973 in Tacoma, Washington. He tells a great story about the experience...http://anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=4203

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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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    Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock Opened for the Moody Blues in 1983

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

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    Queen opened for Mott the Hoop... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by PattiRuane
    Queen opened for Mott the Hoople 1974 Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

  24. 24
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    added by Mindweaversd
    Pop punk, Crossover thrash, Melodic hardcore Opened for Blink 182

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    Devo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by Idiom
    Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop Opened for Sun Ra in 1975, opened for Arcade Fire in 2014

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    The Clash is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

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    Ziggy Marley and the Melody Ma... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

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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 Scarecrow album. There is a movie titled "Paris, Texas" and the Scottish band Texas supposedly got

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    Gospel music, Country Opened for The White Stripes in 2007

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    The J. Geils Band is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    The J. Geils Band Blues-rock, New Wave, Rock music Opened for Jethro Tull in 1975

  31. 31
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    added by BarbaraEwart
    Folk music, Folk rock  - folk artist: opened for The James Gang, at Massey Hall, Toronto Ontario, October 31, 1971

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    No image

    added by MichelleCastro
    U2 Opened for the J. Geils Band 1982

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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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    The Black Eyed Peas is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by PeteBoyle
    The Black Eyed Peas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop Opened for U2 in 2009

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    Paul Rodríguez is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by StarpunkRoQr
    Paul Rodríguez opened for Smoky Robinson in 1987

  36. 36
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    Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

  37. 37
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    added by Dismalhead
    Rock music, Country rock, Country "Opened for Black Sabbath in 1981"

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    added by mark-makely
    Rock music, Anarcho-punk, Punk rock

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    Special Beat / English Beat is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

  40. 40
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    Chick Corea opened for the Ste... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    new! & added by Irene Snyder
    Chick Corea opened for the Steve Miller Band in 1973 in Columbus, Ohio Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

  41. 41
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    added by Irene Snyder
    Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

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  42. 42
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    Death Grips is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by kuzronk
    Death Grips Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop, Industrial hip hop Opened for Björk in 2013

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    Jane's Addiction is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    Jane's Addiction Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal Opened for Love and Rockets in December, 1987

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    Blues Traveler is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

    added by StarpunkRoQr
    Blues Traveler Adult album alternative, Blues-rock, Rock music opened up for the Rolling Stones. Good playing, John Popper is a mean harmonica player but a soundboard glitch distorted  that instrument's sound to an extreme headache-inducing level.

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    Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

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

  46. 46
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    Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal Opened for Metallica in 1998

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

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  48. 48
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    added by StarpunkRoQr
    Glam metal, New Wave, Gothic rock opened up for Billy Idol in 1990

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  49. 49
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    added by hbg1968
    Pop music, Ska, Reggae A ska band that opened for David Lee Roth in Australia in the late 80s. They were heckled quite a bit.

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  50. 50
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    added by TaylorRandallGlover
    Opened for Lady Gaga in 2014.

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