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

Adam Tyler
12.7k votes 2.3k voters 58.5k 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.

1
263 127
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

2
168 72
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
373 250
Ranker Video
Lawrence Wong added Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N' Roses

4
240 159
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
262 181
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
270 198
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 6 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

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

8
195 143
Rush is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
RayJewhurst added Rush 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 Foo Fighters Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge - Opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers

10
223 176
The Jimi Hendrix Experience is listed (or ranked) 10 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

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 Red Hot Chili Peppers Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music - Opened for Pearl Jam

13
238 197
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
182 143
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rabbit added Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Guns N' Roses

15
125 96
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 15 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,

16
135 115
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
30 10
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
138 146
U2 is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
55 51
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
BobJarrett added Thin Lizzy 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 Blue Öyster Cult 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 Santana 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 Rage Against the Machine 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 Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise - Opened for U2

24
67 82
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 24 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.

25
96 124
Duran Duran is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Duran Duran Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for the Police

26
50 59
April Wine is listed (or ranked) 26 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.

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

28
110 147
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 28 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

29
73 94
Ranker Video
FaptimusPrime added Nine Inch Nails: Live Alternative rock, Synthpop, Electronica - Opened for Guns N' Roses

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

31
113 154
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
83 111
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
62 81
Ranker Video
Samantha Dillinger added The Go-Go's Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - Opened for The Police

34
48 61
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 34 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,

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

36
96 134
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
KirkSaw added Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock - Opened for Neil Young

37
7 3
Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Skylanderlord3 added Imagine Dragons Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock - Opened for Kelly Clarkson   

38
11 9
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Rbrough added Beastie Boys 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
Faith No More 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 Styx 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 Sweet Bubblegum pop, Pop music, Rock music

42
11 13
Dio is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
21 29
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
slaft added Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

44
9 11
Doro is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
oldschoolrockisthebest added Doro Opened Up For Dio

45
104 162
Muse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen
Muse 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 Kings of Leon 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 Sonic Youth 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 Lennon Murphy 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 W.A.S.P. Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music - "Opened for KISS