This concept just fucking sickens me. It reminds me of a story I heard about when Rick James had Prince as his opener when he was on tour, but Prince was upstaging him, so he kicked him off the tour. That is some ol' bullshit! If I'm given the opportunity of a lifetime to boost my own career in front of a wider audience, you think I'm gonna curb my skill level for a headliner that is getting stale? Fuck NO dude! If you are being upstaged by an opener, that just means you need to up your game or else you will just be a "has been". I have zero sympathy for a headliner that is so full of themselves that they forget what it was like when they were given those same opportunities to grow and shine.
There are actually some headliner DJs who have it in their contract that not only is an opener not allowed to do particular stage performances that would hype the crowd (such as stage dive, start mosh pits, spray the crowd with glitter etc.), but they are not even allowed to play the same genre of music. They also say that the opener is not allowed to play music that is too uptempo, in fear that they will either burn out the crowd, or flat out wreck shop, leaving the headliner looking like an ass. There have been many openers kicked off a big tour because they were doing exactly what they were booked for, which is making people lose their minds.
If a headliner is as amazing as their bio says they are, they should be able to prove it, and do better than the openers without question. Isn't that what everyone is paying for? It is far too often that a headliner is just a great producer that gained popularity because of their music, but their low self esteem kicks in when they realize they have no stage presence, or experience in front of a crowd, and they suck dick live. Whenever I hear about a headliner that makes the openers dumb down their art, it shows me that the main attraction will be shit.
I was talking to my friend from Denver who I will not name, and he mentioned something that I hadn't even thought of. He mentioned that many of the opening DJs were selected because they built their popularity, and have proved themselves to be someone who will draw a crowd. They have usually been scouted out by the promoters of these big shows because they always make their crowds go wild. Why then would you book someone that makes the crowd jump, but then tell them not to do that? That's like hiring a great car mechanic, then telling him you'd rather him just smash your windshield and slash your tires instead of fix your transmission. What's even more fucked up is that many of these openers for bigger shows want to play a bunch of their own produced tracks, if not an entire set of originals, but if all they produce are big room bangers, then they wouldn't even be able to drop their own tracks.
People are too afraid to speak out on this nonsense in fear of blacklisting themselves, but I'm not at that level yet, so fuck em. If you book me to open for someone big, don't expect me to hold back, because I am actually trying my hardest to in fact upstage you. That is my job, and if you are as bad ass as you think you are, with a $20,000 booking fee, then you can afford to use some of that money to improve your stage show.
I posted this article and within a day it had 1,000 reads. Some people misinterpreted something that I should clarify. When I said opener, I meant any DJ playing before the headliner, specifically the one right before the headliner, not just the first DJ playing. I probably should have used the term "supporting DJ" instead of "opening DJ". Sorry for the confusion. Obviously if the room is still getting busy, or people are not ready to rage yet, you should keep it mellow, but even playing mellow Dubstep or House, would be prohibited if the headliner is a Dubstep or House DJ in some of these cases. If you are an opening/supporting DJ with the timeslot right before the headliner, then the place should be busy enough and warmed up enough for you to do your damage. I wrote an article earlier about opening DJs and I specifically said that going too insane, too early, is not wise. Check it out if you so please to get a better understanding of my viewpoint.
Here is the link: The importance of your opening DJs