The Rolling Stones have named the first batch of opening acts for their 2006 North American tour dates, and as usual, they are a mixed bag of veteran artists, up-and-coming groups and more obscure nam

The Rolling Stones have named the first batch of opening acts for their 2006 North American tour dates, and as usual, they are a mixed bag of veteran artists, up-and-coming groups and more obscure names.

Canadian female rock act Anik Jean will kick things off Jan. 10 at Montreal's Bell Centre, followed by fellow Canucks Sloan on Jan. 13-15 in Boston. A third Canadian group, Metric, will transcends its usual club environs for a Jan. 18 and 20 stand at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Female rockers Antigone Rising will open Jan. 23-25 in Chicago and Feb. 1 in Baltimore, while Soulive is on tap to support Jan. 27 in St. Louis. Country superstars Brooks & Dunn will take over Jan. 29 in Omaha, Neb., followed by Queens Of The Stone age on March 4 in Las Vegas and March 6 in Los Angeles.

Country legend Merle Haggard will perform March 9 in Little Rock, Ark., while the reunited New Orleans funk pioneers the Meters will drop by March 12 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

After the North American run, the Stones will begin an extensive European tour May 27 in Barcelona.

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