Opening acts are a little like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes it’s an act you’ve never heard of that blows the roof off the place, sometimes you spend their whole time on stage wishing you were still stuck in traffic.
We’ve got some good ones coming up, so don’t be late.
• The Pretenders, opening for Stevie Nicks, Thursday at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers are all that’s left of the original band, but that’s plenty. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
• Lee Ann Womack, opening for Alan Jackson, April 8 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Womack has sold more than 6 million records, earned a Grammy and snagged a Country Music Association Album of the Year award in 2005, and “I Hope You Dance” is just a great song.
• The Rides, opening for Buddy Guy, April 9 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Maybe you’ve never heard of them but they have one heck of a pair of guitar players – Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Stephen Stills. Yeah, that Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash fame.
• 50 Cent, opening for Chris Brown, April 18 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. He’s had some serious ups and downs in his career – 30 million albums sold, victim of a drive-by shooting, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
• Carlene Carter and Emmylou Harris, opening for John Mellencamp, June 24 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Carter is country royalty, the daughter of June Carter Cash and a star in her own right (you may remember her big hit, “Every Little Thing” from the early ’90s). Harris has won 13 Grammys, twice was named Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year and was part of a superstar trio with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.
• Cheap Trick, opening for Foreigner, Aug. 3 at Daily’s Place. We’re not sure why Cheap Trick, 2016 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and ranked 25th on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, is opening for Foreigner, a band with one original member (and he doesn’t even play every show) but that’s rock ’n’ roll for you.