Music

The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen 

Adam Tyler
Updated July 9, 2020 16.9k votes 2.9k voters 61.8k views

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.

list ordered by
1
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
2
Queen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
3
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added
Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

More Metallica 

The Best Metallica Songs of All Time #278 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #19 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands

4
The Jimi Hendrix Experie... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
5
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added
Opened for Black Sabbath in Pittsburgh. Roth spent more energy jumping across the stage than he did on singing.

More Van Halen 

The Best Van Halen Songs of All Time #161 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #19 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

6
Rush is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
7
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
8
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
9
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
10
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
11
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
12
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
13
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
14
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added
Opened for Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine

More Green Day 

Insane Stories From The Heyday Of Green Day #230 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #55 of 314 The Greatest American Rock Bands

15
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
16
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
17
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
18
Dio is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added

Opened Up For Alice Cooper

More Dio 

#76 of 412 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #173 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #134 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

19
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
20
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
21
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added
Opened the World Series of Rock in Cleveland. Late addition to the bill. Possibly their first U.S. Performance.

More Scorpions 

#15 of 412 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #176 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #75 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

22
Rage Against the Machine... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
23
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added
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,

More The Black Crowes 

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24
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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ZZ Top is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen