Quora: What is the best instance of a band or musician “stealing the show” despite not being the main act?

Answer by Brian Moore

In the mid-70’s, folk-rock trio America (“Horse With No Name”, “Ventura Highway”, “Sister Golden Hair”, etc.) were near the peak of their popularity, and I decided to get tickets to their show at Detroit’s Masonic Auditorium. When I got the tickets, they indicated that there was an opening act – Eric Carmen, who had recently released his debut album and had a fairly big hit with the ballad “All By Myself”. Not knowing any of his other music, I figured I could suffer through his 45-minute set in order to see the main act.

Little did I know that prior to going solo, Eric was in a power-pop band called The Raspberries, who had had a few minor hits in the early 70’s. We showed up expecting a “snoozer” of an opening act, but when Eric came out, the majority of his material was rockier music from his Raspberries days. Songs like “Go All The Way” and “I Wanna Be With You” completely surprised the crowd, who were expecting a soft-rock balladeer.

Eric ended up doing multiple encores, which was unheard of for an opening act. When America came out for their part of the show, they were almost booed off the stage by fans in the crowd, begging for Eric to return for another encore.

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