Some of the strangest opening act bookings no doubt leave music fans scratching their collective heads. Most of the time, an opening act 'gels' well with the headliner. Rock bands, for instance, tend to open for other, more well-known rock bands. Occasionally, though, for some reason, very, very unlikely pairings happen. Who on Earth thought of having Jimi Hendrix open for The Monkees? What crazy, deranged concert promoter decided that having The Afghan Whigs open for Aerosmith was a super good idea? This list includes some of the most bizarre concert billings ever. Be sure to vote for those artists that you think are the most peculiar opening acts of all time, and, if you know of one not listed, by all means, add them! Everyone, it seems, has seen an oddly mismatched concert billing at one time or another.
It's hard to imagine who thought having the Beastie Boys open for Madonna on her 1985 Virgin Tour was an awesome idea. Audiences generally hated it, and critics did too. And while the Beasties went on to great fame and fortune, that tour is probably not one of the highlights of their career. Flash forward to 2012, now, and behold, one of the strangest, most unusual opening act bookings to date: Kool & the Gang will open shows for...Van Halen?! Yep. Apparently, this was David Lee Roth's bright idea. Celebrate good times, come on!
An opening act is supposed to be less popular than the headliner. That's just how it works, right? Wrong. Sometimes, the opening act winds up stealing the show. In 1983, Stevie Ray Vaughan opened for The Moody Blues. And he was, as always, amazing. Headliners want opening acts to warm up the crowd, but not take away from their big show.
The worst, oddest opening act billings resulted in disaster for some. Prince, of all people, was booed continually when he opened for The Rolling Stones in October of 1981. And Terence Trent D'Arby had the unfortunate status of opening act for Bruce Springsteen at New York's Madison Square Garden in June of 1993. Audiences did NOT like the choice: They booed throughout D'Arby's performance, and they also really pissed off The Boss - he cursed at them and then rushed through the show. And poor "Weird Al" Yankovic: He had the misfortune of opening for the new wave band Missing Persons in 1982. He's still somewhat traumatized by the experience, which he says included getting "pelted for 45 minutes" by "anything that wasn't nailed down."
Behold, the list of the most bizarre, strangest opening act bookings in music history. Don't boo, don't throw things -- just vote for your favorites!
1 152 52 The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music - Opened for Herman's Hermits on July 14, 1967
2 180 77 Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock - Opened for The Monkees in 1967
3 140 71 Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock - Opened for Chad & Jeremy in 1970
4 138 85 The Doors Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Simon and Garfunkel in 1967 (Forest Hills, Queens)
5 121 98 Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop - Opened for Madonna in 1985
6 94 79 Kool & the Gang Disco, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B - Opening for Van Halen in 2012
7 94 80 Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock - Opened for Anne Murray on August 3, 1974 at New York's Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park
8 43 31 malachi4.4ministries added Ramones Punk Rock - Opening act for Toto in Montreal, Canada once upon a time in the mid '70's.
9 106 99 Justin Timberlake Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music - Opened for AC/DC and the Rolling Stones in 2003 (Toronto)
10 68 61 Glen Campbell Pop music, Rock music, Folk music - Opened for the Doors in the mid-1960s (Portland and Seattle)
11 22 13 PattiRuane added Queen opened for Mott the Hoople 1974 Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal
12 48 41 StarpunkRoQr added Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop - opened up for U2 in 1997
13 42 36 Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock - Opened for the Moody Blues in 1983
14 60 56 The B-52's New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Opened for The Who in 1982
15 50 47 "Weird Al" Yankovic Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music - Opened for Missing Persons in 1982
16 85 88 Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave - Opened for The Rolling Stones on October 11, 1981
17 27 23 StarpunkRoQr added Violent Femmes Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk - opened up for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. No, you're not hallucinating.
18 23 19 StarpunkRoQr added Bachman–Turner Overdrive Boogie rock, Rock music, Hard rock - opened for Van Halen ( the 5150 tour, the first "Van Hagar" tour ) in 1986.
19 66 68 Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss in 1975
20 19 15 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro - Opened for The Clash in 1981
21 31 30 Porter Wagoner Gospel music, Country - Opened for The White Stripes in 2007
22 27 26 sangredeargento added Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog - opened for Alanis Morrrisette
23 34 35 alexgor23 added Albert Brooks Opened for Sly and the Family Stone in 1973 in Tacoma, Washington. He tells a great story about the experience...http://anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=4203
24 16 14 Idiom added Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop - Opened for Sun Ra in 1975, opened for Arcade Fire in 2014
25 30 32 PeteBoyle added The Black Eyed Peas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop - Opened for U2 in 2009
26 19 19 AlanPetsche added Grateful Dead Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Opened for The Who in Oakland, 9/10/75
27 32 35 Kiss Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Blue Oyster Cult, 1973
28 8 6 MichelleCastro added U2 Opened for the J. Geils Band 1982
29 27 29 The J. Geils Band Blues-rock, New Wave, Rock music - Opened for Jethro Tull in 1975
30 12 11 TaylorRandallGlover added Hatsune Miku Opened for Lady Gaga in 2014.
31 17 18 StarpunkRoQr added Mr. Big Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - opened up for Rush in 1990, believe it or not!
32 37 43 The Clash Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave - Opened for The Who in 1982
33 16 18 StarpunkRoQr added Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers opened for the B-52s in 1990.
34 24 28 Dismalhead added The Outlaws Rock music, Country rock, Country - "Opened for Black Sabbath in 1981"
35 14 16 StarpunkRoQr added Blues Traveler Adult album alternative, Blues-rock, Rock music - opened up for the Rolling Stones. Good playing, John Popper is a mean harmonica player but a soundboard glitch distorted that instrument's sound to an extreme headache-inducing level. Fortunately, that problem was solved because everything went smoothly for the Stones. Mick's harmonica playing was without any problems.
36 13 15
37 13 15 StarpunkRoQr added Texas Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues - opened up for John Mellencamp. He mentions "seeing Paris, Texas" on his 1985 Scarecrow album. There is a movie titled "Paris, Texas" and the Scottish band Texas supposedly got their name from this. Texas' sound is largely electronic based and Mellencamp mostly is a "heartland"/roots rocker although he does experiment with other styles on occasion.
38 13 15 StarpunkRoQr added Paul Rodríguez opened for Smoky Robinson in 1987
39 12 14 StarpunkRoQr added Special Beat / English Beat opened up for Sting in 1991
40 15 18 Mindweaversd added Bad Religion Pop punk, Crossover thrash, Melodic hardcore - Opened for Blink 182
41 36 46 Bon Jovi Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Kiss, the Scorpions and ZZ Top in 1984
42 7 9 mark-makely added Sex Pistols Rock music, Anarcho-punk, Punk rock
43 16 21 kuzronk added Death Grips Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop, Industrial hip hop - Opened for Björk in 2013
44 33 45 Creed Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Metallica in 1998
45 2 4 Kenneth Kaplan added Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music -
Opened for the Grateful Dead at the Academy of Music in New York in March 1972
Opened for the Grateful Dead at the Academy of Music in New York in March 1972