Watch Judas Priest Reunite With K.K. Downing Live at 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony
It has FINALLY happened! Judas Priest have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they did it in spectacular fashion by playing a medley of songs within their allotted time after being saluted with the Musical Excellence honor. And, after a bit of a divide after his departure from the band over a decade ago, guitarist K.K. Downing was once again playing alongside his onetime bandmates.
Downing's name was one of three former Priest members who were revealed to be going in when the Rock Hall made their induction announcement earlier this year. He, along with drummer Les Binks, was part of Saturday's (Nov. 5) performance that also included four longtime Priest band members: singer Rob Halford, guitarist Glenn Tipton, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis.
They were also joined by current guitarist Richie Faulkner, who was not among those inducted. The other Priest inductee was late drummer Dave Holland. Drummer Scott Travis revealed last month that the band would be performing a medley, and it was later revealed that both Binks and Downing would be performing with the group as well.
Following their heartfelt induction by Alice Cooper, the band played three of their most beloved singles: “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight.” The former track originally appeared on 1982's Screaming for Vengeance (which Loudwire ranked as Priest's second-best studio LP), whereas the latter two pieces came from 1980's British Steel (which remains Priest's highest-charting album on the U.K. Albums Chart, at No. 4).
According to setlist.fm, it marked Downing's first show with Priest since October 2009 and Binks' first show with them since 1979. Aside from its historical significance, the set was full of awesome spectacle, with plenty of flashing colored lights and fiery visuals (literally) adorning the group's virtually flawless renditions. It was undoubtedly a highlight of the whole evening.
Longtime fans will remember that Downing split from the group in 2011, citing an "ongoing breakdown in working relationships." After his exit, the band continued on with Richie Faulkner coming on guitar. As for fellow guitarist Glenn Tipton, he revealed his Parkinson's Disease diagnosis in 2018 and has had been vocal about not being approached to return to the band. (In his place, the group utilized the talents of producer Andy Sneap.) In recent years, Downing has started up K.K.'s Priest and the band is currently working on their second album.
Although Downing had previously exited the band, he had been vocal in recent years about his displeasure at not being asked to return when openings arose in the band. But, with the Rock Hall induction being a place to salute the legacy of the group, Downing and Binks both were invited by the current lineup to join them for the performance.
Speaking with Ultimate Classic Rock ahead of the induction ceremony, the guitarist stated, "The main thing is to represent the attitude and hopefully the legend of what Judas Priest is and has become and what it means to everybody who's been on that very long journey through the decades with the band. And hopefully, it will just kind of remind people and bring back some cherished memories of the heavy metal parking lots all around the world."
He later addressed his divide with the band, commenting, "Obviously a lot of things have happened and stuff. But we're kind of all old people, you know? A lot of water's gone under the bridge, a lot of miles have been traveled, a lot of notes have been played. The thing is we can all kind of be there, have a few beers together, a glass of wine and perform and enjoy ourselves. At the end of the day, it really is an accolade, and I think, if everybody were to be honest with themselves, they would all like to have that accolade."
While Judas Priest are now members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that doesn't mean that they're ready to hang it up. In fact, the band continues to work toward a new album hopefully arriving in 2023, while Downing himself has new music plans for K.K.'s Priest as well.
Check out some photos and videos from Judas Priest's performance below: