The Cumberland County Civic Center, now the Cross Insurance Arena, has seen hundreds of concerts since opening in 1977. Just about every major rock and roll band has visited us in Portland at one time or another. We were looking at our Civic Center Bible the other day and were amazed at some of the opening bands that have played. Some are long gone, like Horslips, Nantucket, Ambrosia, and Moon Martin, to name a few. And then there are bands that went on to superstardom. And then there are lineups where the opener and the headliner make no sense at all together.

Here are some interesting opening bands that have played at our Civic Center:

THE BLEND - Props to this homegrown band, as they were the very first band to ever play the Civic Center when they opening up for ZZ Top on the building's opening night in 1977.


This is an example of a mismatch between the opening and the headliner. ARS is a great band and had to open for ALICE COOPER on this show. Just wrong.

VAN HALEN- September 5, 1978

The mighty Van Halen opened up for Black Sabbath on their first-ever national tour. They pretty much blew Sabbath off the stage, and were politely asked to leave the tour after a few weeks! VH became headliners of their own.

MUDDY WATERS- May 26, 1979

The blues legend opened up for the one and only Eric Clapton in Portland. It's interesting that there would be no Eric Clapton if not for blues greats like Muddy, so how cool that the student got to open for the teacher. Torch passed.


This is pretty cool. Bob Weir and his band opening for Jerry Garcia and his band. Two Dead brothers playing apart but together on the road.

INXS- July 10, 1984

Now we're getting into the shows of the 1980s. Here's a classic-INXS on their upswing opening for the Go-Gos. THAT's a classic '80s pairing!

BON JOVI- October 8, 1984

Bon Jovi was the opening band for RATT. Seriously. They actually happened.

WANG CHUNG- August 10, 1987

Wang Chung opened for the great Tina Turner. It's a bit of a mismatch, but we need to remember that Tina had an amazing comeback in the 1980s and both she and Wang Chung were all over MTV.

ALIVE IN CHAINS-October 8, 1991

And here come the 1990s. Alice in Chains opened for Van Halen and got BOOED off the stage. Brutal. AIC forever!

FOO FIGHTERS- May 14, 2000

Yup, the Foos were an opener for Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the Civic Center. What a bill!

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