"The Opening Act" as written by and John Neff Shonna Tucker....
There's a big fat man on a mechanical bull in slow motion like Debra Winger
And he gets knocked off and I think he's hurt,
It's a bitch facing facts and figures
There's a band on stage that used to be huge
They sound on but no one's listening
They're told to turn down and they politely oblige
Ain't no such thing as a free ride

It ain't my problem and it ain't my show and I ain't being condescending
It's just the opening slot and I hit my mark and split as the crowd is thinning

The man's on the guest list so I guess it will be alright...

So the paramedics arrive and they haul off that Urban Bovine Knievel
I see my friend and give him all my money and tell myself it's a necessary evil
And it's all such a fleeting thing so I'd best try and enjoy it
So much beauty and just enough time to figure out how to destroy it

I'm just the opening act

And it ain't my crowd and it ain't my night but I'd be lying if I said I can't relate
I'm just the opening act and the van is packed and I'm hauling ass to another state

And I'm driving north as the sun was rising over a Technicolor horizon
I reached out to touch you but you're not there, a thousand miles away from here
I turned up the radio, heard some preacher talking salvation
My tank is half full and I reached over and changed the station

I'm just the opening act


Lyrics submitted by knels21

"The Opening Act" as written by Patterson Hood

Lyrics © THE BICYCLE MUSIC COMPANY

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The Opening Act song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI honestly can't believe I'm the first one to comment on this song. I think it's by far the best from "Brighter than Creation's Dark" and likely the best song Patterson Hood's ever written. For me, this song is about realizing how inconsequential one's own life is and how the events we experience while here on earth are just fleeting moments in something beyond ourselves. The way the music builds in this song, as well as the interplay of meanings within the lyrics are simply brilliant. My favorite part is the very end, from "I turned up the radio..." The narrator knows that his life is meaningless but he still takes a "half full" outlook. Never thought I'd see the day when existentialism and southern rock merge but this song does it. Listen - several dozen times if you haven't already - and LOUD.
    Audiofileon June 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree, one of the best songs on the record. I also agree with you on the last verse. Shonna and Patterson harmonizing on this gives me goosebumps everytime.

    And I�m driving north as the sun was rising over a Technicolor horizon
    I reached out to touch you but you�re not there, a thousand miles away from here
    I turned up the radio; heard some preacher talking salvation
    My tank is half full and I reached over and changed the station

    BigTomon December 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust saw Patterson solo and he talked a bit about this song before he dove in. Indicated the first two-thirds is entirely true - he was on a small solo tour opening for a band "that used to be big" (he wouldn't disclose who it was) and saw an intoxicated bar patron get ushered to an ambulance after a mishap on a mechanical bull. He was younger and not yet a father, so still doing drugs on a regular basis; his dealer is the "man on the guest list" that will make everything "alright."

    What's really interesting and commented already is that he said he had to stick the song in his pocket for a few years before he could come up with an ending that felt right. Once he became a father and more devoted family man, the final verse about loneliness and longing for loved one(s) was developed and the song was ready for recording.
    ryan116584on December 14, 2016   Link

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