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

Adam Tyler
12.7k votes 2.3k voters 58.6k 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
263 127
Queen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
shan10 added Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

2
168 73
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

3
374 251
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
240 160
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Dismalhead added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Rolling Stones

5
263 181
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
272 198
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
162 111
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 7 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.

8
196 145
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
306 249
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
224 176
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
70 32
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
*DSO* added The Arcana

12
198 155
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
239 197
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
182 143
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
44 10
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock - Opened up for the Scorpions

16
125 97
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rich2112 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock - opened for the moody blues,

17
136 127
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
138 147
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
55 51
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
45 44
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
45 49
Santana is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music

22
83 102
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
theClyde added Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop - Opened for Bad Religion

23
101 128
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Roger Stenson added Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

24
51 59
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
67 82
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 25 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.

26
96 125
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

27
46 55
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

28
73 94
Ranker Video
FaptimusPrime added Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

29
110 147
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
MichaelCarter added Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog - Opened for R.E.M. and Alanis Morrissette

30
33 37
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
49 61
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
StuartGantner added 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
113 154
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Molly Gander added Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for No Doubt

33
83 111
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
clash1977 added Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave - Opened for The Who

34
62 81
Ranker Video
Samantha Dillinger added Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

35
41 51
Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
C_Moorehead added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Dio

36
8 3
Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Skylanderlord3 added Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock - Opened for Kelly Clarkson   

37
96 134
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

38
11 9
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rbrough added Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

39
53 76
Faith No More is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Metallica, Guns N' Roses

40
6 4
Styx is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
JazzyJeffJax added Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

41
23 31
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
punksnotdead added Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

42
10 11
Doro is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Opened Up For Dio

43
11 13
Dio is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal - Opened Up For Alice Cooper

44
21 29
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

45
104 162
Muse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

46
64 100
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Kingofp0px12 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Garage rock - Opened for U2, Pearl Jam

47
5 7
Stevie Ray Vaughn opened for H... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Turner added Stevie Ray Vaughn opened for Huey Lewis and the News

48
53 85
Ranker Video
Lon Harris added Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

49
7 11
Lennon Murphy is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Opened up for Alice Cooper

50
32 52
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
rxtechok added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music - "Opened for KISS