Music

The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen 

Adam Tyler
15.2k votes 2.7k voters 60.2k 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
rich2112 added
Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock
opened for the moody blues,
2
Queen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
shan10 added
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal
3
Dio is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

Opened Up For Alice Cooper

4
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses
5
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added
Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

Opened up for the Scorpions

6
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 6 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.
7
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Rush is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
RayJewhurst added
Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Opened for Kiss
9
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Opened for Guns N' Roses
10
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added
Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music
11
The Jimi Hendrix Experie... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Justmax360 added
Blues-rock, Psychedelic soul, Rock music
Opened for The Monkees
12
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
CourtneySchumm added
Alternative Rock, Funk Metal
Opened for Pearl Jam
13
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Robby Benton added
Alternative rock, Post-grunge
Opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers
14
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Tiffany Larson added
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Opened for Van Halen
15
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added
Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music
16
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added
Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock
18
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Dismalhead added
Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music
Opened for Rolling Stones
19
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 19 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.
20
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ANKOU added
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Opened for Blue Oyster Cult
21
Styx is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
JazzyJeffJax added
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal
22
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
*DSO* added The Arcana
23
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
MarkLuscombe added
Gothic rock, Rock music, Heavy metal
Opened for Billy Idol in Toronto
24
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
Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Skylanderlord3 added
Alternative rock, Pop

Opened for Kelly Clarkson