On Sunday night, August 15, Judas Priest took to the stage at the Bloodstock Open Air festival in Catton Hall in Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire, England for their first live performance in over two years, and marked the occasion by bringing Priest icon Glenn Tipton on for the concert’s encores.
Tipton, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008, has made only a handful of live appearances with Judas Priest since he stepped back from touring duties in 2018 ahead of the band’s Firepower tour.
On the night, Priest reeled off a stellar setlist featuring the likes of Lightning Strike, Halls of Valhalla and Hell Bent For Leather, before frontman Rob Halford invited Tipton onto the stage for live renditions of Metal Gods, Breaking The Law and Living After Midnight.
As you’d expect, Tipton, who needed no introduction from Halford and co, appeared to thunderous applause, emerging suited to boot in his Priest attire and holding his trusted Hamer electric guitar.
After flawlessly serving up the high-octane riffs of Metal Gods, Tipton rolled back the years and dove into an effortlessly tasty solo, complete with wailing bends and blazing pentatonic constructions. Check out the video below, starting from the four-minute mark, to see Tipton in action.
Halford had previously teased that a Tipton cameo was in the cards while speaking with Metal Pilgrim, revealing that the Priest’s former live guitarist was still involved in songwriting duties for the band's upcoming album, and hinting that Tipton may make “an occasional appearance” on their forthcoming 50th Anniversary tour.
Tipton was replaced in the band’s touring lineup by Firepower’s producer, Andy Sneap, in 2018, the latter of whom was also recently confirmed to be taking part in the band’s upcoming celebratory tour.
“Andy Sneap is still standing in that spot for Glenn with Glenn’s blessing… it’s pretty much a given that [Sneap will join the tour],” Halford said.
Guitar World previously sat down with Tipton in 2018 to discuss his retirement from full-time touring, with the Priest legend saying, “I decided that it (Firepower tour) was really going to be too much for me.
"With the medication and the time zone changes and everything else," he continued, "I realized it was time to retire – from touring at least. I don’t ever want to compromise Judas Priest. It’s too big a part of my life.”
Tipton has taken to the stage a number of times since his formal touring retirement, having performed a handful of tracks with Judas Priest during shows in Bilbao, Tokyo and New Jersey throughout 2018.