Music

The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen 

Adam Tyler
Updated October 19, 2019 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 Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock; Nationality: United States of America
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
3
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added
Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses
4
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Robby Benton added
Opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers
5
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
clash1977 added
Opened for U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers
6
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Tiffany Larson added
Opened for Van Halen
7
The Jimi Hendrix Experie... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Justmax360 added
Opened for The Monkees
8
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added
Opened for Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine
9
Rush is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
RayJewhurst added
Opened for Kiss
10
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
CourtneySchumm added
Opened for Pearl Jam
11
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added
Opened for Guns N' Roses
12
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added
13
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Dismalhead added
Opened for Rolling Stones
14
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added
Opened for Black Sabbath in Pittsburgh. Roth spent more energy jumping across the stage than he did on singing.
15
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Genre: Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock; Nationality: United States of America

Opened up for the Scorpions

16
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ANKOU added
Opened for Blue Oyster Cult
17
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added
18
Rage Against the Machine... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added
Opened for Bad Religion
19
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added
20
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added
Opened the World Series of Rock in Cleveland. Late addition to the bill. Possibly their first U.S. Performance.
21
U2 is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
ylander added
Opened for J. Gelis Band, Jethro Tull
22
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Roger Stenson added
Opened for U2
23
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
*DSO* added The Arcana
24
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added
Added to the bill with Scorpions and Sammy Hagar at the fairgrounds coliseum in Columbus. Also opened multiple times for Rush.
25
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
MichaelCarter added
Opened for R.E.M. and Alanis Morrissette