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!
- Opened for The Monkees in 1967
- Opened for Chad & Jeremy in 1970
- Opened for Herman's Hermits on July 14, 1967
- Opening act for Toto in Montreal, Canada once upon a time in the mid '70's.
- Opened for Simon and Garfunkel in 1967 (Forest Hills, Queens)
- Opened for the Doors in the mid-1960s (Portland and Seattle)
- Opened for AC/DC and the Rolling Stones in 2003 (Toronto)
- opened up for U2 in 1997
- Opening for Van Halen in 2012
- Opened for The Clash in 1981
- Opened for Madonna in 1985
- Opened for Kiss in 1975
- Opened for Anne Murray on August 3, 1974 at New York's Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park
- Opened for The Who in 1982
- Opened for the Moody Blues in 1983
Opened for the Grateful Dead at the Academy of Music in New York in March 1972
- Opened for Sun Ra in 1975, opened for Arcade Fire in 2014
- Opened for The Rolling Stones on October 11, 1981
- Opened for Missing Persons in 1982
- opened up for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. No, you're not hallucinating.
- Opened for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 1991. Lots of confused hippies in the audience for that one.
- Opened for The White Stripes in 2007
- opened for Alanis Morrrisette