The support act is always a tricky one. No-one is really there to see them in particular. Some give it their all, others trudge on and bash out a cosy half hour and scarper.
I’m not talking the big festivals, more an evening’s entertainment with a headline act. In just about every case (in my experience) it’s sort of OK for the audience to be a bit disinterested. People will talk and roam around, get a drink, nip to the bog, not really giving the band their full attention.
I saw Cocteau Twins support OMD in the early 80s. They performed in front of a curtain at the Hammersmith Odeon and I was fascinated by Liz Fraser, punching her chest as she sang. But there was silence at the end of a song and a vast expanse of empty seats in front of them.
I also saw Blancmange support Depeche Mode in a hall at Exeter University in early 1982. There were no seats. Blancmange were resolutely ignored by the hundreds of ra-ra skirted teenage girls who were there for the headliners. But after a while, a crescent of perhaps ten people crowded around Neil Arthur and he had good-natured off-mic chats with those within earshot in between songs.
What about you? Have you seen anyone of note perform before they were known, to literally no acclaim?