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Bands/Musicians The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen  

Adam Tyler
13k votes 2.4k voters 59.2k views

List Rules Only opening acts who have gone on to stardom

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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
280 134
Queen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
shan10 added Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

2
90 14
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock -

Opened up for the Scorpions

3
175 85
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

4
379 261
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

5
242 167
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Dismalhead added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Rolling Stones

6
265 187
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
clash1977 added Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers

7
276 203
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added Pop punk, Rock music, Alternative rock - Opened for Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine

8
163 114
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added 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.

9
200 150
Rush is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
RayJewhurst added Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss

10
226 176
The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Justmax360 added Blues-rock, Psychedelic soul, Rock music - Opened for The Monkees

11
306 255
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Robby Benton added Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers

12
198 159
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
CourtneySchumm added Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music - Opened for Pearl Jam

13
239 200
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Tiffany Larson added Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Van Halen

14
183 149
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

15
131 98
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rich2112 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock - opened for the moody blues,

16
70 38
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
*DSO* added The Arcana

17
138 137
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ANKOU added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Blue Oyster Cult

18
141 152
U2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ylander added Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock - Opened for J. Gelis Band, Jethro Tull

19
56 52
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

20
48 45
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

21
86 103
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop - Opened for Bad Religion

22
53 60
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added 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.

23
103 130
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Roger Stenson added Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

24
69 83
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added 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.

25
45 51
Santana is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music