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The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen

Updated July 9, 2020 16.0k votes 3.0k voters 62.3k views

List RulesOnly 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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  • 1
    Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    opened for the moody blues,

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  • 2
    The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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    The Arcana

  • 3
    ZZ Top is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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    11

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  • 4
    Queen is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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  • 5
    Dio is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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    42

    Opened Up For Alice Cooper

  • 6
    Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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    Opened for Black Sabbath in Pittsburgh. Roth spent more energy jumping across the stage than he did on singing.

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  • 7
    Rush is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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    Opened for Kiss
  • 8
    Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
  • 9
    Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen

    Opened up for the Scorpions

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  • 10
    Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
  • 11
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for The Monkees

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  • 12
    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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  • 13
    The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    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,
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  • 14
    Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for Guns N' Roses
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  • 15
    Styx is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    28
    25
  • 16
    Santana is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
  • 17
    Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened the World Series of Rock in Cleveland. Late addition to the bill. Possibly their first U.S. Performance.
  • 18
    Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for Van Halen

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  • 19
    Whitesnake is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for Dio
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  • 20
    Pixies is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
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    Opened for U2
  • 21
    The Go-Go's is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for The Police

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  • 22
    The Cult is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for Billy Idol in Toronto
  • 23
    Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for Bad Religion

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  • 24
    The Clash is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for The Who

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  • 25
    Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
    Opened for Pearl Jam

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