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

Adam Tyler
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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
206 107
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
107 51
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
EveryIdeaStolen added AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

3
305 230
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
42 7
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
*DSO* added The Arcana

5
226 178
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
209 163
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
203 158
The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
185 145
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
134 101
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 9 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.

10
159 127
Rush is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
RayJewhurst added Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss

11
164 133
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

12
275 243
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
211 187
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
112 87
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 14 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,

15
168 151
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
118 107
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
120 133
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
39 37
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Blue Öyster Cult Rock music, Heavy metal, Stoner rock

19
14 5
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock - Opened up for the Scorpions

20
42 46
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added Thin Lizzy Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

21
38 41
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
69 87
Ranker Video
FaptimusPrime added Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

23
93 122
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
89 117
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

25
27 30
The Cult is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
40 49
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Cocker Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

27
41 51
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 27 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.

28
43 55
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 28 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,

29
58 77
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 29 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.

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30
70 95
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
21 24
Sweet is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
punksnotdead added Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

32
102 142
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
77 107
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
34 44
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
105 149
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
56 77
Ranker Video
Samantha Dillinger added The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

37
51 70
Faith No More is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
90 128
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

39
18 23
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

40
6 5
Dio is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal - Opened Up For Alice Cooper

41
5 5
Doro is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Doro Opened Up For Dio

42
3 2
Stevie Ray Vaughn opened for H... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Joe Turner added Stevie Ray Vaughn opened for Huey Lewis and the News

43
31 46
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 43 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

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44
101 155
Muse is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music - Opened for U2

45
52 80
Ranker Video
Lon Harris added Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave - Opened for Pavement on the reunion tour

46
4 5
Lennon Murphy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Lennon Murphy Opened up for Alice Cooper

47
61 95
Kings of Leon is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
3 4
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rbrough added Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

49
19 30
Garbage is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
SleekiePenguin added Garbage Pop music, Trip hop, Rock music

50
24 39
Patti Smith is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Patti Smith Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Neil Young