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

Adam Tyler
10.2k votes 1.6k voters 56.0k views 87 items Embed

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
159 98
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
189 142
The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
68 34
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

4
257 212
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

5
136 111
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
101 76
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 6 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,

7
110 87
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
153 132
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
143 124
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

10
171 154
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
246 233
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
194 180
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
174 163
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
99 90
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
144 145
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
38 39
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added Thin Lizzy Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

17
103 127
U2 is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
40 43
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 18 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.

19
25 23
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
31 32
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Blue Öyster Cult Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

21
33 38
Santana is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Santana Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music

22
84 110
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

23
89 118
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Roger Stenson added Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

24
63 83
Ranker Video
FaptimusPrime added Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

25
36 46
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Cocker Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

26
66 90
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
54 73
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 27 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.

28
103 145
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
48 66
Faith No More is listed (or ranked) 29 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

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30
53 74
Ranker Video
Samantha Dillinger added The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

31
96 138
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
37 51
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 32 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,

33
85 123
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

34
30 41
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
C_Moorehead added Whitesnake Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Dio

35
29 40
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
71 105
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
16 22
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
punksnotdead added Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

38
51 77
Ranker Video
Lon Harris added Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

39
1 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
98 151
Muse is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

41
58 92
Ranker Video
Music Lover added Living Colour Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia - Opened for Soul Asylum

42
58 92
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
22 37
Patti Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Patti Smith Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Neil Young 

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44
12 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
16 29
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
SleekiePenguin added Garbage Pop music, Trip hop, Rock music

46
19 34
Rammstein is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rmblstrp added Rammstein Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Industrial music

47
31 56
Sebastian Bach is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Randolph Strauss added Sebastian Bach Glam metal, Progressive metal, Power metal - Opened for Guns N Roses

48
10 22
Accept is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
MarkLuscombe added Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal - Opened For Motley Crue In Toronto

49
11 26
The Wallflowers is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Vlademier O Kurevski added The Wallflowers Rock music, Folk rock, Pop rock

50
31 61
Beck Hansen is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Coolza added Beck Hansen Alternative hip hop, Anti-folk, Country rap - Opened for Radiohead