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bands/musicians The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen  

Adam Tyler
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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
166 100
Queen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
shan10 added Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

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2
77 36
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

3
268 216
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
191 147
The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Justmax360 added The Jimi Hendrix Experience Blues-rock, Psychedelic soul, Rock music - Opened for The Monkees

5
142 114
Rush is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
RayJewhurst added Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss

6
159 134
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Dismalhead added Guns N' Roses Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Rolling Stones

7
115 90
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added Van Halen 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.

8
105 80
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rich2112 added Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock - opened for the moody blues,

9
189 167
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added Green Day Pop punk, Rock music, Alternative rock - Opened for Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine

10
148 127
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

11
251 236
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Robby Benton added Foo Fighters Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers

12
198 181
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Tiffany Larson added Alice in Chains Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Van Halen

13
175 158
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
clash1977 added Pearl Jam Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers

14
106 95
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ANKOU added Kiss Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Blue Oyster Cult

15
150 145
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
CourtneySchumm added Red Hot Chili Peppers Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music - Opened for Pearl Jam

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16
107 127
U2 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ylander added U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock - Opened for J. Gelis Band, Jethro Tull

17
34 32
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Blue Öyster Cult Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

18
38 40
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added Thin Lizzy Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

19
26 24
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
MarkLuscombe added The Cult Gothic rock, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Billy Idol in Toronto

20
41 45
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added April Wine 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.

21
87 111
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

22
90 118
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Roger Stenson added Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

23
33 38
Santana is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Santana Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music

24
64 84
Ranker Video
FaptimusPrime added Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

25
56 73
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added Scorpions 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.

26
37 46
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Cocker Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

27
68 91
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop - Opened for Bad Religion

28
104 145
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Molly Gander added Weezer Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for No Doubt

29
4 0
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock - Opened up for the Scorpions

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30
54 74
Ranker Video
Samantha Dillinger added The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

31
38 52
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added The Black Crowes Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music - 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,

32
48 67
Faith No More is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Faith No More Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Metallica, Guns N' Roses

33
96 139
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
MichaelCarter added Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog - Opened for R.E.M. and Alanis Morrissette

34
85 124
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

35
17 22
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
punksnotdead added Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

36
72 105
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
clash1977 added The Clash Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave - Opened for The Who

37
30 42
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
C_Moorehead added Whitesnake Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Dio

38
29 41
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rxtechok added W.A.S.P. Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music - "Opened for KISS

39
2 0
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rbrough added Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

40
2 0
Doro is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Doro Opened Up For Dio

41
52 77
Ranker Video
Lon Harris added Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

42
1 0
Dio is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal - Opened Up For Alice Cooper

43
1 0
Lennon Murphy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Lennon Murphy Opened up for Alice Cooper

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44
15 22
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

45
98 152
Muse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

46
23 37
Patti Smith is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Patti Smith Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Neil Young 

47
58 93
Ranker Video
Music Lover added Living Colour Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia - Opened for Soul Asylum

48
58 93
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Kingofp0px12 added Kings of Leon Blues-rock, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for U2, Pearl Jam

49
17 29
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
SleekiePenguin added Garbage Pop music, Trip hop, Rock music

50
20 34
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rmblstrp added Rammstein Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Industrial music