On November 27th and 28th and December 1st and 2nd, BTS held in-person concerts for the first time in over two years. Over the course of the four days, the band performed in front of over 200,000 people at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Of course, this excludes those watching live at the Youtube Theater right next door.
For the last concert date, December 2nd, the concert was officially live-streamed for those who purchased tickets. This allowed fans to view the concert in HD and from multi-view angles.
Unfortunately, I could not attend the concert in person, but I did watch it online, and it was exciting nonetheless.
I will premise that this wasn’t my first online BTS concert, but it was the first with ARMYs watching them live in-person too.
The concert started at 7:30 PM PST (9:30 PM CST) and lasted two and a half hours.
The concert opened with an electric performance of their song “ON”, which they have waited almost two years to perform in front of fans. The hard-hitting beats and choreography made it the perfect concert opener and excited the fans.
Right after, they performed a remix-medley of their songs Fire and Dope, both popular songs from 2016. Behind them, the stage screen was brightly lit with fiery red-orange color, fitting for the song Fire. They danced around freely, but once the music transitioned into Dope, they soon formed to perform the key dance moves from the choreography.
The members would take a break every few songs and give little “ments”, a Konglish word about the little speeches K-pop groups often make after performances. For longer breaks and for costume changes, there would be pre-recorded videos, called VCRs in the K-Pop community, usually taken in artistic ways that pertain to the concept of the concert or the songs being performed.
In total, for this last concert, BTS performed twenty-five songs. Not all of these songs were performed in their full-lengths, and often they would be performed as remixes or medleys, but all seven members performed the songs. BTS concerts typically have unit songs or solo songs, where only a few or just one member would perform. However, because it had been so long, they wanted to show all seven of them, member SUGA saying on day two, “we wanted your attention on all of us.” https://twitter.com/nicolemagicshop/status/1465197216163786752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
One of my favorite performances included their song entitled “Black Swan,” with the choreography and visual performance being one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in a while. The dancers that joined them on stage had these costumes with white feathers on the sleeves, emulating a white swan, with the rest of their costumes being in black for the sleeves to stand out. With the BTS members’ costumes were in all black, one of the moves was to lift one of the members up, and the dancers’ feathered arms emulated a pair of wings. The visual left me breathless, and I couldn’t get over how beautiful they were able to make a performance look on stage, live.
At some point, as they sang their song “Telepathy” which was written last year during the pandemic and was about the moment BTS reunited with their fans, ARMY, the members got on these carts that allowed them to be closer to fans watching from level two of the stadium, allowing them to see more of the crowd.
Another big favorite of the concert was when they performed their 2015 song “Save Me” with some of its choreography. One of the most fun moments of this song was during the dance break where the fanchant of their names was shouted, but through the Livestream, it was really difficult to hear the crowd, which made the energy feel a bit low; but that didn’t stop me from shouting the fanchant myself!
As we neared the end of the concert, songs that weren’t performed on the other dates were sung, including a personal favorite of mine called “HOME” and their 2019 song “Mikrokosmos” which was their ending song for their 2019 Speak Yourself world tour. There was something so sweet about hearing the song performed in front of thousands of fans for the first time in two years, and member V even shed a few happy tears. Seeing the expressions of the members close up due to the camera angles from the Livestream made the experience as emotional as it would have been in person, and even though I was alone in my room, I never once felt completely alone.
Also on this day, as it was two days prior to member Jin’s birthday, fans did a surprise event where they covered their lightsticks called ARMY Bombs with boxes that had a crescent moon cutout, a callback to Jin’s solo song from their “Map of the Soul: 7” album, “Moon.”
Before their last song, “Permission to Dance,” the seven men give their ending ments. I’ll provide highlights from each members’ ments.
J-Hope (who spoke in English for the final night): “I hope this concert is not the end; I hope that it’s another beginning. Let’s always remember today until we meet again, ARMY.”
Jimin (who decided to speak in Korean. They also have a live translator for the concert, as they did for their previous tours so that all the fans in person can understand too): “…Of course, we will meet again, and there will be a time where we will meet ARMYs watching online too, but it will take some time, but I don’t think that wait will be so difficult.”
RM (the wonderful leader who also happens to be fluent in English): “I feel so blessed and grateful that I could [perform] in this crazy time. I love you, and I’m so blessed to have you here. I love you.”
Jungkook (in English): “This is the end of our concert in LA, but this is definitely not our end. Four days I spent with you; I’ll make sure they never fade away from my memories. Okay ARMY- let’s all stay healthy, let’s all stay happy, and then- let’s meet again. Borahae!”
Jin (with an RJ plushie tied to his head, cutely): (in English) “Cute?” (proceeds in Korean) “To be honest, being thirty and putting [RJ] on my head is a little embarrassing, but because you guys like it, and now that I’ve gotten an event back, I know how it feels. It’s a little embarrassing but I’ll keep thinking about new things I can do.” (back in English) “I. Love. You. ARMY!”
SUGA (in Korean): “Preparing for this concert, I wondered ‘it’s been two years, will it be okay?’ but you guys remained the same.”
V (in Korean): “I had an English ment prepared but I’ll say what I want to say in Korean instead. For the past two years, it’s been hard as hell. But for these past four days doing the concert, I realized how much love we receive from ARMY.”
RM wrapped up the ments with a few last words, and “Permission to Dance” began to play. The members and backup dancers joined in on the fun, and when the song ended, they surprised fans with a performance of “My Universe” with Coldplay.
With that, the concert ended with all seven members holding hands and bowing to the crowd from different parts of the stage, and as they went behind the screen, they called out once again to ARMYs, saying they’ll meet us again someday.
BTS will have three more in-person concerts for “Permission to Dance On Stage,” set to take place in their home country of South Korea, in Seoul on March 10, 12 & 13 at the Olympic Stadium.
Featured Image By Talisa Trevino