Jul 172013


Ever been to concert where the opening act didn’t really fit in with the headliner? Somebody tweeted the photo above and it made me think of the Ramones opening for Foreigner in the late ’70s — I didn’t to go the show, but a bunch older kids I knew did and they made fun of the Ramones — who they said basically got booed off the stage at the old Met Center. The Ramones tried to get the crowed chanting “Gabba Gabba Hey” — and the Foriegner fans were having none of it.

I once saw Ministry open for the Police — but that’s when Ministry was more a synth pop band than the industrial rock act it morphed into.

Cat Power opened for Billy Idol last month at Wolf Trap near DC — to predictable results according to reviews. The Idol fans talked and drank beer during the Cat Power set. The Washington Post writer who reviewed the show compared it to the uncomfortable pairing of The Replacements and Tom Petty in 1989 at Merriweather Post. That doesn’t seem so out of place now, but back then The Replacements were still seen as kind of edgy.

P.S. The Monkees are touring this summer of course no Davy Jones but with Mike Nesmith.   For some reason, THAT really irritates me — maybe it’s the heat.


  29 Responses to “Strange Bedfellows”

  1. hrrundivbakshi

    I believe The Jam opened up for Blue Oyster Cult in ’79 or something.

  2. Petty + Replacements tour could have been great, it was The Replacements who chose to shoot themselves in the foot first and work their way up (great phrase I just recently picked up)

    If they had come out and done a best of set they would have KILLED. Instead they played random covers, a polka version of I’ll be you and let Slim sing 1/3 of the set. In the summer shed heat to a 1/2 at best full venue they picked up zero new fans. There were about 30 of us spread out across the venue on our feet cheering them on, mostly chicks with black fingernail polish.

  3. Didn’t Blondie open for Rush at the Spectrum?

  4. Funny, I saw the Replacements open for someone bigger at an outdoor show in the late-’80s. For some reason I’m thinking it was Tom Petty, but I don’t remember a LICK of ever seeing Petty live! It must have been someone else, but I am mystified. Maybe they opened for a Mighty Like a Turd-era Elvis Costello, a legendary bad set among my friends that Townsman machinery and his wife left about 3 songs in, with machinery’s unforgettable proclamation, as they stood up to leave, “I didn’t come here to see fucking Mariah Carey!” The Replacements were nearing the end of the line and didn’t give me anything else worth remembering.

    At the same outdoor summer show venue I saw Flaming Lips open for Stone Temple Pilots. Our band opened for them years earlier, when they were nearly unknown weirdos from Oklahoma, or wherever. This outdoor show was when they first got some national acclaim with some minor hit with “jelly” in the title. They were still pretty good, even in the light of day and the weird sound that opening bands get at outdoor shows. My friend and I – and about 25 other people – enjoyed their set. Then STP came on. They had just broke, with their smash debut album. As soon as they took the stage kids surged forward with raised fists. The band’s music and the audience’s response were chilling. My friend and I felt like we were stuck in a Hitler rally. The atmosphere never let up. We eventually squeezed our way to the exit.

  5. I saw Bon Jovi open for .38 Special in Atlanta in 1987 right as Bon Jovi were about to blow up – Slippery When Wet was out but “You Give Love A Bad Name” was not yet a “hit”.

    I think they headlined the same place (Omni)3-4 months later.

    They were terrible, a complete mess, and the crowd hated them (think big bearded dudes in Skynyrd Ts with their arms crossed looking at skinny-ass New Jersey boys with girl hair) Not sure if they were boo-ed, but there was no applause.

    .38 killed that night with a set of ONLY big radio hit songs in their adopted home town.

    I wonder if .38 Special can even get Job Bon Jovi on the phone to ask for an opening slot nowadays?

  6. I don’t know about that, but I was at the JFK Stadium show in which Elvis Costello, Blondie, Flock of Seagulls, and Robert Hazard and the Heroes opened for Phil Collins-led Genesis.

  7. Yeah — I was 50-50 with Replacements shows. The best show I saw was in ’87 in Sioux Falls, SD — weird. Why they agreed to tour with Petty is beyond me.

  8. Years ago, I saw Magma open for the Beatles at the Cavern. That was pretty incredible.

    Jimbo, a couple of things. 1) Did you ever listen to that Costello interview? If so, what’s your take? 2) I’ve been working around the house for the last couple of days, doing manly shit like scraping old floor pads off hardwoods and what not. After I’ve had enough, I watch a show called “Rock Family Trees” on You Tube. Every show, so far, has been a winner, with lots of unfamiliar stories and footage. You need to check out the New York show. Lots of bitching from Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz about what a dick David Byrne is / was.

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    E. Pluribus Gergely

  9. misterioso

    Mod, yes, they opened for EC on the not-so-Mighty tour. I caught two of those shows, in Mass. and in NH. These were the only times I saw them, so I don’t have much to go by. As I recall, they were ok, nothing memorable. Frankly, I haven’t heard much great Replacements live stuff.

  10. misterioso

    funoka, the thing that killed me in your initial posting was trying to wrap my head around the concept of “Billy Idol fans” in 2013.

  11. I know — just who the hell needs/wants to go see Billy Idol?

    Why on earth would you want to see the Monkees without Davy Jones?

    Somebody in my office was raving about a Bad Company show they saw over the weekend . . . and then when I asked if Paul Rodgers was with them — I got a blank stare!

    The old funoka used to get really worked up over this stuff, but I don’t react (much) now. It sort of reminds me how my dad used to get on me and my brothers when we were upset about a particular Twins or Vikings loss — “why do you guys care so much?” Dunno, Dad, we just do.

  12. jeangray

    Were the Replacements ever really edgy?

  13. I saw Elvis Costello and the Attractions sharing a bill with Eddie Money.. that was pretty painful.

  14. Suburban kid

    I think the Ramones also opened up for Black Sabbath and Johnny Winter back in the 70s and got a result similar to Fight for Your RIght to Party-era Beastie Boys opening for Madonna.

    The Clash made an effort to have different kinds of artists open for them, but from what I gather Bo Diddley, Sam and Dave, Grandmaster Flash and Joe Ely all had pretty shitty experiences playing for their fans.

  15. cliff sovinsanity

    *Iggy Pop opened for The Rolling Stones at the Pontiac Silverdome on the Tattoo You tour and got booed even though Iggy was on his home turf.
    *Social Distortion & Sonic Youth opened for Neil Young & Crazy Horse on the Ragged Glory tour and we’re well received at the show I attended.
    *There’s a few shows I saw that brought their own camp. Once the opener played most of the audience left:
    Yo La Tengo opening for Teenage Fanclub
    Jeff Buckley OPENING for Juliana Hatfield.

  16. Suburban kid

    Just went through an old gig list and found a couple of strange combos I attended:

    Journey opening for the Stones (also Peter Tosh and Southside Johnny). I was pissed about that at the time.

    Kinky Friedman opening for Muddy Waters (would only happen at a university)

    The Three O’Clock opening for the Cramps — not a good match.

  17. funoka, you think Davy Jones is a benefit to seeing the Monkees? I’d actually be more willing to see the Monkees, well, in their time, if Jones wasn’t in the band.

    No joke, I’ve been watching a lot of Hogan’s Heroes of late, and I keep thinking that LeBeau should have been the tiny, cute member of the Monkees, not Davy.

  18. We will get into the Costello interview, my friend. It was OUTSTANDING. I need to listen to it one more time so I can, most likely, bore friends by recounting some of the particular quotes he gives. More soon!

  19. Depends on where you where at in the 80s I guess, for some they went downhill after “Hootenanny” — everything after that was a “sellout.”


  20. BigSteve

    I missed Sonic Youth opening for Neil & Crazy Horse because my friend wanted more pre-show bong time. I have never forgiven him.
    I saw Iggy open for the Pretenders, and it was like he wasn’t even there for the audience.

    My worst experiences with that were seeing someone try to do the just-a-guy-with-a-guitar thing to open for a band –Mark Eitzel opening for Everything but the Girl and Joe Henry opening for Elvis Costello. I’m a big fan of both Eitzel and Henry, and it was painful to watch.

  21. I saw them 5 times, two times they were amazing, two times they were a drunken train wreck but entertaining, and then there was the Petty show where they were just gone.

    Saw Paul on his own and it was decent/average. I had fun but it was too controlled a situation IMO.

  22. If they would call themselves Dolenz, Tork, & Nesmith, I’d be cool.

    I remember seeing a bastardized version of Badfinger once and thrououghly enjoying it — so I should chill, anyway.

  23. I saw one of the early shows on U2’s Achtung Baby tour with Big Audio Dynamite and Public Enemy.

    Public Enemy had dummies in KKK cloaks hanging from trees on stage. This to a 99.5% white / rock audience.

    They were not boo-ed, but people were very confused. I was with three people who were big Public Enemy fans and they were the only ones in our section who had any positive reaction to them at all.

  24. hrrundivbakshi

    Prince opening for the Stones was supposed to have been a train wreck. Keef still says it was Prince’s fault that he got pelted by coke cans and beer cups.

  25. An oddball pairing I saw at the 9:30 Club was Jason Mraz opening for Liz Phair — most of the Mraz folks left and missed a pretty good show by Liz, who was wearing the micro-est of micro mini skirts!

  26. I saw them open for Petty and they were pretty good. They first Paul show was better than any of the three Replacements shows that I saw. I’m going to the reunion in Denver in September and I’m psyched.

  27. Suburban kid

    I saw the Jonas Brothers open for Avril Lavigne. It was funny when their cardboard grand piano fell over.

  28. 2000 Man

    All day yesterday I couldn’t think of any odd pairings, and having went to a lot of shows in the 70’s, I know I saw a lot of bands that had noting in common other than amplification. Then this morning I remembered seeing The Divinyls. I really liked their first couple of records (and I still don’t know why, they’re not usually my thing) and I convinced my brother to go with me to see them. They were the opening band for Southern Death Cult (a band I should like but thought sucked really hard). We ended up sitting in the middle of the second row, and told the kids that were there, who were SDC fans that we’d give them the seats after The Divinyls set. So they went back out to their car and got nice and baked. The Divinyls were fantastic, we watched a couple of SDC songs and left.

  29. diskojoe

    I was at the Great Woods show in ’91 when the ‘Mats opened for EC. I remember Paul Westenberg doing a solo version of “Answering Machine”.

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