X Japan and Visual-Kei All-Stars Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite With Surprise Guest Gene Simmons

by Lyndsey Parker / Yahoo Music

On Friday, the first annual Visual Japan Summit kicked off at the Makuhari Messe convention center outside of Tokyo, celebrating new and veteran bands of “visual-kei” — a thriving Japanese musical subculture with its own fashionable, flamboyant take on the Western glam rock genre. Headlining the event were the recently reunited, widely recognized pioneers of the movement, symphonic prog legends X Japan — whose founder, Yoshiki, has frequently credited KISS for changing his life and turning him on to rock ‘n’ roll. So, when Gene Simmons happened to be in town for the 2016 KISS Expo, he dropped by the Visual Japan Summit for a rollicking rendition of a KISS classic.

KISS’s notorious, tongue-wagging bassist joined X Japan and a gaggle of other wildly costumed visual-kei all-stars, including pop-rockers Glay (whose own 1999 Glay Expo gig at Makuhari Messe still holds the Guinness World Record for the largest concert ever held by a single act in Japan) and operatic heavy metal quintet Luna Sea, for a free-for-all singalong of “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” that lived up to its title. Earlier that evening, backstage at the Summit, Simmons told Yahoo Music that he hadn’t even rehearsed with X Japan and had no idea what was going to happen. So this group performance was, admittedly, very loose — but it was also the very definition of rock ‘n’ roll.

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