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

Adam Tyler
13.2k votes 2.5k voters 59.4k 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.

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list ordered by

1
120 15
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

Opened up for the Scorpions

2
286 138
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
176 93
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
379 265
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

5
267 190
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
242 170
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Dismalhead added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music
Opened for Rolling Stones

7
278 206
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
165 115
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
200 154
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
226 179
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
306 258
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
199 161
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
240 202
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
184 150
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 99
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 39
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
*DSO* added The Arcana

17
138 139
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
142 154
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 53
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
49 46
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
88 104
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
104 131
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Roger Stenson added Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise
Opened for U2

23
70 84
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 23 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.

24
53 61
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 24 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.

25
12 5
Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Skylanderlord3 added Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

Opened for Kelly Clarkson