Before BTS played his last song on Sunday, J-Hope, one of the seven members of K-pop superstar boy band, took a moment to share his feelings with the crowd inside SoFi Stadium for the second of four sold-out shows.
“This concert is going to be a big part of my life story, my story,” he said, speaking in Korean as a translator echoed his words into English.
“It’s a special concert for you; it’s a special concert for us, ”continued J-Hope. “I hope tonight was also a highlight for your own life stories.”
And that would have been about it for any other band in the world – a few words and with the show, a fireworks explosion to send everyone back into the night.
Corn BTS is not another band, and their fans, a collective known as ARMY, are unlike any other fandom. And so, for at least 15 minutes, each member of the group – RM, Jimin, Jungkook, V, Suga, and Jin – followed J-Hope with their own words of appreciation for the night.
In a show that bundled 24 songs into two and a half hours of thrilling performances, this single segment of the show said more than anything about how and why these seven young South Korean men are the world’s biggest pop sensation. today’s music.
There is a sweet, innocent sincerity in the way BTS interacts with its fans – on stage, on TV and in video, in music and in words – that is unlike anyone or anything else.
There is a connection that has drawn fans from all over the United States and 78 countries around the world to these first live shows since the pandemic canceled plans for a world tour in 2020. It is a connection which made these fans applaud not only the stream of BTS videos being shown before the show started, but also the individual moments in each video.
Of course, the pre-show cheers were nothing compared to the moment BTS appeared on stage, emerging from an intro video in which they held up signs inside a police station, on scene from a prison cell.
The evening kicked off with ‘On’, a boisterous performance featuring BTS dressed in white couture supported by 30 dancers and drummers in a perfectly choreographed routine punctuated by the premiere of many colorful pyrotechnics.
Between “Dope” and “DNA”, the guys quickly said hello – cheers every time they spoke: deafening – then crept in for the first of four costume changes during the gig, a packed break from the first. of several mini-films built around the theme and the name of the tour: Permission To Dance On Stage.
Much of the BTS catalog features upbeat pop and hip-hop, with a healthy dose of dancing grooves, they’re also good enough for slower ballads, such as “Blue & Gray,” one of the early highlights. This one, like the “Be” album it appears on, was written and recorded during the pandemic and addresses themes of loneliness and anxiety and other emotions of the past two years.
Most of Sunday’s songs featured the seven BTS alone on stage – for a big production, the show really didn’t rely on its core of supporting performers at all. They would step out for a more richly choreographed number like “Black Swan”, but then disappeared off the stage for extended periods of time.
And, in truth, the ARMY in the seats, added color and light throughout the night, thanks to their “bombs”, the name of the high-tech glow sticks that a large majority of the crowd brings in to the show and then connects via a bluetooth app to enter their seat location.
Take a song like “Fake Love” (or really, any song in the set): the lighting crew can unleash a rainbow of colors around the stadium, painting light patterns on them. bombs that the ARMY carries. (Strange terms for such a group of peace and love, but a cool and very impressive visual effect.)
A trio of songs – “Boy With Luv,” “Dynamite” and “Butter” – delivered three of BTS’s biggest hits midway through the show, and the fan reaction has been as you’d expect. “Dynamite,” released in August 2020, is the first of six No.1 Billboard Hot 100 singles in a span of 13 months, and on Sunday it was as ridiculously catchy a disco-pop track as ever.
“Butter,” another of those # 1 hits, the week before SoFi’s broadcasts, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Duo / Group Performance, and also won Favorite Pop Song at the American Music Awards. He also received a remix with hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion, and on Sunday Megan strutted around in a pair of pastel pink thigh-high boots with bows on the front to join the boys for the first time in concert.
“Megan, how are you feeling?” One of the boys from BTS shouted as he walked back from the far stage.
“I feel like a sexy girl every season! You Stallion replied.
Unlike BTS ‘last performance in Southern California, a pair of shows at the Rose Bowl in May 2019, these four shows were designed for full group performances only, with no solo or duo performances scattered across the set.
“We’ve been gone for two years and wanted you to focus on the seven of us,” Suga explained during his end-of-series comments.
And that probably added to the feeling of a once again reunited family that permeated the concert until the main set ending performance of “Idol,” a catchy hymn that opened with RM, J-Hope and Suga. reminiscent of the first verses. beating drums, before singers Jungkook, Jimin, V and Jin join us.
The encore delivered two of the three songs that weren’t performed on opening night – “Epilogue: Young Forever” and fan-favorite “Spring Day” – before the band members took it in turns. speaking role in front of the crowd.
Jimin admitted feeling a bit uncomfortable the night before after two years away from fans live. RM told them he woke up on Sunday devastated by the energy expended on Saturday night, but told fans they were “my magic, my miracle,” which restored him to show time. .
Jin, who stepped out for the encore with long hair tied with a red ribbon to form short pigtails, revealed what the look was all about when he opened up his section playing a bit of the Red Light Green Light Doll character from the Korean Netflix hit series “Squid Game.”
“I think you and I are making a movie together,” he said afterwards. “Making this film of life with you makes me really happy. It is a film that we will continue to make until the very last day of our lives.
And then, only after everyone had their say, BTS embarked on their latest issue, “Permission To Dance,” which they did, and fans did, and the long-awaited reunion. reached its very happy ending.