Judas Priest's KK Downing Performs Live For First Time In A Decade

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

August 12, 2019

After a year or so of public sparring with his former band mates, longtime Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing returned to the stage for the first time in a decade to dust off "Breaking the Law" at the U.K.'s recent Bloodstock Open Air festival.

Downing dropped in on a set by ex-Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss's band to play the Judas Priest classic. Fan-filmed video shows Downing exhibiting few signs of rust during the song.

You can see the footage in the player above.

Prior to the collaboration, the guitarist said he was "delighted and really looking forward" to getting back onstage and "saying hello" to the fans.

"For me, as you know, it's been far too long, so I sincerely hope to see as many familiar faces as possible at this truly unique event," he said. "True metal for true metal fans at the U.K.'s truest metal festival. United we stand!"

He later added in an interview with Unchained Rock Show that the appearance "could be the first of many" such collaborations.

Downing's last public performance was with Judas Priest on October 17, 2009, at Japan's Loud Park Festival. He retired following the gig.

After staying mostly quiet in the decade since leaving Judas Priest, Downing began doing interviews again in 2018 in connection to the release of his memoir Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest. It wasn't long before Downing and former band mates Rob Halford and Ian Hill made apparent how acrimonious their 2009 parting of ways actually was.

Matters only got uglier was when Judas Priest's other classic-era guitarist, Glen Tipton, announced he would no longer tour full-time with the band on account of his advancing Parkinson's disease.

Following the news about Tipton, Downing expressed frustration that he wasn't invited to rejoin the band in an effort to retain a measure of authenticity to its touring lineup. Halford then suggested that Downing was making a fuss when he actually had little interest in rejoining Judas Priest.

The singer later rebuked Downing for dredging up such negativity when Judas Priest has always been "a very private band when it comes to things like this" and for kicking up controversy around the band while it was promoting a new album.

Photo: Getty Images

Judas Priest at The Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk

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