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 More
    Opened for The Monkees in 1967
  2. 2
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    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk More
    Opened for Simon and Garfunkel in 1967 (Forest Hills, Queens)
  3. 3
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    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music More
    Opened for Herman's Hermits on July 14, 1967
  4. 4
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    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock More
    Opened for Anne Murray on August 3, 1974 at New York's Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park ... more
  5. 5
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    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    Opened for Madonna in 1985
  6. 6
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    Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock More
    Opened for Chad & Jeremy in 1970
  7. 7
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    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave More
    Opened for The Rolling Stones on October 11, 1981
  8. 8
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    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music More
    Opened for the Doors in the mid-1960s (Portland and Seattle)
  9. 9
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    Disco, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B More
    Opening for Van Halen in 2012
  10. 10
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    Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music More
    Opened for AC/DC and the Rolling Stones in 2003 (Toronto)
  11. 11
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    Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for U2 in 1997
  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 ... more
  13. 13
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    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music More
    Opened for The Who in 1982
  14. 14
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    Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music More
    Opened for Missing Persons in 1982
  15. 15
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    Pop punk, Crossover thrash, Melodic hardcore More
    added by: Mindweaversd
    Opened for Blink 182
  16. 16
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    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    Opened for Kiss in 1975
  17. 17
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    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened for Smoky Robinson in 1987
  18. 18
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    No image

    Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers

    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened for the B-52s in 1990.
  19. 19
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    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for Rush in 1990, believe it or not!
  20. 20
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    Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog More
    added by: sangredeargento
    opened for Alanis Morrrisette 
  21. 21
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    Boogie rock, Rock music, Hard rock More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened for Van Halen ( the 5150 tour, the first "Van Hagar" tour ) in 1986.
  22. 22
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    Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for John Mellencamp. He mentions "seeing Paris, Texas" on his 1985 ...
  23. 23
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    Blues-rock, New Wave, Rock music More
    Opened for Jethro Tull in 1975
  24. 24
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    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    Opened for Kiss, the Scorpions and ZZ Top in 1984
  25. 25
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    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    Opened for Blue Oyster Cult, 1973
  26. 26
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    Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave More
    Opened for The Who in 1982
  27. 27
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
  28. 28
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    Glam metal, New Wave, Gothic rock More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for Billy Idol in 1990
  29. 29
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    Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. No, you're not hallucinating.
  30. 30
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    No image

    Special Beat / English Beat

    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for Sting in 1991
  31. 31
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    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    openers for U2 in 1997
  32. 32
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    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro More
    Opened for The Clash in 1981
  33. 33
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    Hip hop music, Ska, Rap rock More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened for Living Colour in 1991
  34. 34
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    Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop, Industrial hip hop More
    added by: kuzronk
    Opened for Björk in 2013
  35. 35
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    Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock More
    Opened for the Moody Blues in 1983
  36. 36
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    Gospel music, Country More
    Opened for The White Stripes in 2007
  37. 37
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    Adult album alternative, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    added by: StarpunkRoQr
    opened up for the Rolling Stones. Good playing, John Popper is a mean harmonica player but a ... more
  38. 38
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    Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal More
    Opened for Love and Rockets in December, 1987
  39. 39
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    Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock More
    Opened for Jethro Tull in 1969
  40. 40
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    Rock music, Country rock, Country More
    added by: Dismalhead
    "Opened for Black Sabbath in 1981"
  41. 41
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    Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal More
    Opened for Metallica in 1998
  42. 42
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    Noise rock, Rock music, No wave More
    added by: Clark Benson
    Opened for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 1991. Lots of confused hippies in the audience for ... more
  43. 43
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    Blues-rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia More
    added by: PeteBoyle
    Opened for The Killers in 2009
  44. 44
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    Psychedelic soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    Opened for Bruce Springsteen in 1993
  45. 45
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    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock More
    Opened for Aerosmith in 1999
  46. 46
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop More
    added by: PeteBoyle
    Opened for U2 in 2009
  47. 47
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    Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal More
    added by: Pallknowing1
    Opened for Rollins Band & Rage Against the Machine in 1992
  48. 48
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    Piano rock, Dark cabaret, Soft rock More
    Opened for Nine Inch Nails in 2005
  49. 49
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    Rock music, Heavy metal, Acoustic music More
    Opened for Pearl Jam on July 13, 1993 at The Forum
  50. 50
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    Rock music, Acoustic music More
    Opened for Frank Zappa on August 18, 1984
  51. 52 +

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