For discussion: zero-to-hero opening acts

We’ve all been to a million shows, right? Who is the biggest never-heard-of-em opening band that you’ve seen who went on to big stardom?

Not someone you LIKE, necessarily, or your favourite opening act. It could be someone terrible. I’m just looking for the biggest jump from obscurity to fame. 

I was discussing this with my wife the other day. Her pick was seeing Rufus and Martha Wainwright open for Sloan.

For a long time, mine would have been seeing a mostly-unknown Matthew Good Band open for Wide Mouth Mason, back in the days when WMM rarely left Saskatoon and hadn’t signed a record deal yet. But now Serena Ryder is famous enough that maybe seeing her open for Hawksley Workman would take that spot.

I also saw up-and-coming indie darling Basia Bulat once. She’s still not super famous but she was opening for my friends’ friends’ band so maybe that’s the biggest jump?

Anyway, leave your picks in the comments!


Posted on April 7, 2014, in posts by james and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I can’t think of any. Seriously. If your question was “What’s The Coolest/Greatest/Best Opening Act You’ve Ever Seen?” or “What Was The Worst Opening Act You’ve Ever Seen?” I’d be all over this. But I’ve been wracking my minimal brains since you mentioned this idea and I cannot for the life of me think of one opening act I’ve seen that went on to become big. I’m probably forgetting something really obvious, and it’ll come to me long after the discussion for this has run its course. But right now, nothing. So. We were at that Hawksley show with you, when Serena Ryder opened, so I guess I’ll just have to tag along on your idea… A 🙂


  2. Nothing too impressive, maybe Queens of the Stone Age second on the bill (a long bill too) at Metallica’s Big Day Out in 1999? most of my support acts started and ended fairly obscure!


  3. Ummmm ok don’t blast me here…
    Story goes as follows….
    Dateline -March 17 1998….
    How do I remember the date? Well I had to Wikipedia it cuz that was the day that Big Wreck headlined a show here in Tbay at a local watering hole with…..
    Drum roll please ….
    The one and only Chad Kroger and his 3 cronies known as Nickleback…yep they opened….don’t really recall much of them other than at the end of the night they joined Thornley and Wreck for a jam of Simple Man by Skynyrd!
    Now as for the date March 17…well that was the day VH 3 was released and the bar at which Big Wreck played advertised that before Big Wreck was to hit the stage they were gona play the whole 3 album front to back….
    I remember hearing some one chirp that “this Halen release is making me wanna drink”….
    Me and my Bud were like uh oh as we already had our copies of 3 at home!
    This was not a good sign…….

    The following is indeed a true story….


    • I just heard Big Wreck the other day! It’s an a mag comp review somewhere…

      I won’t blacst you for staying in the room while Nickelback played. You did have alcohol at hand, so that could have made it manageable. As for VH 3, it’s not even one I’ve heard (I’m pretty sure). That’s the one with Cherone, right? Man, I feel a drunk review coming on…


  4. Thanks for cuttin me some slack…and yep u need to get liquored when listening to VH3!
    Good luck…..


  5. Didn’t AC/DC open for Rainbow?


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