While opening acts are often reserved for the up-and-coming artists, bands gracing the stage before U2 performances are anything but unknown. U2’s upcoming tour alone includes an impressive opening band lineup, including Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and OneRepublic.
The Irish Rock Band, led by the iconic Bono, reached global fame in the 80s following the release of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Since then, its fan base has remained strong as the band’s commitment to new music and live performances has persevered.
In the early years, U2’s headliners were typical of any newly famous rock band. Unknown and climbing the musical ladder, bands like The Alarm and Perfect Crime opened for U2, hoping the headliner’s fame and audience would lend to future success.
Yet over the years, U2’s supporting acts began to include bands that typically stand alone. Suddenly, a ticket to U2 provided a double bonus — two famous acts for the price of one.
U2 opening acts through the years
In 1993, Pearl Jam, which had just made its way into the mainstream a couple of years prior, packed up their bags and joined U2 for an opening spot on a leg of U2’s European tour.
By 1997, U2 announced Third Eye Blind as its opening act. This was after Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” had climbed the charts and worked its way into every young adult’s playlist. That same year, Smash Mouth also joined U2 on tour, giving fans a little taste of “Walkin’ On The Sun” before Bono and the crew blew the crowd away with the headline act.
During that same tour, Rage Against the Machine also opened for U2. Fresh off the release of the Evil Empire album, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello indicated the band was interested in touring with U2, in part, because of “common ideological threads between the two bands.”
Throughout the years, U2 brought along Nelly Furtado, Coldplay, Moby and the The Red Hot Chili Peppers, giving fans a double dose of rock entertainment. In most recent years, Garbage, No Doubt and Moby again have paired with U2.
With no hint of Bono and U2 slowing down, fans can likely expect more opportunities to see two classic acts perform back-to-back.
Check here to view tickets for upcoming U2 performances with Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers and OneRepublic.