BTS concert review

Ingrid Chan, Staff Writer

Stepping out of the concert doors after nearly three hours of mindless excitement and the uncontrollable screaming of fans, I had long since gone temporarily deaf. The next morning, I could not utter anything louder than a feeble whisper, as my voice had decided it was going to be missing from action the next 24 hours. Yet, despite all that, the  BTS concert was one that I will always remember, and I would drop everything to see the group again.

I was lucky enough to obtain a ticket to a suite for the April 1 show at Anaheim’s Honda Center, which are outfitted with a restroom, a sink and a lounging area. But it really didn’t matter because nobody spent any of their time there. Instead, everyone gathered at the open terrace to watch BTS. Upon stepping out onto the terrace, I was shocked and elated to find that we were actually very close to the stage.

Before group members Rap Monster, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook even showed themselves, a concept trailer of the tour was shown, and fans were already screaming themselves hoarse every time one of the member’s faces appeared on the screen. During the actual performances, the fan chants were especially deafening. I’ve never heard anything louder in my life. Almost everyone knew the lyrics to every song, and fans sang  along with the group’s performance despite the majority of them not knowing Korean.  

The boys themselves actively kept the fans engaged and put on an exceptional show.  They opened with “Not Today,” one of their most energetic, dance-oriented songs and followed with several of their new songs from the “You Never Walk Alone” album.  Then they transitioned into their solos from the  “Wings” album.

Although having solos meant that only one member would be on stage for each of seven different songs, the energy of the concert was effortlessly maintained through incredible special effects and stage props as well as backup dancers. Also, because it’s rare to hear the voice of a single member for more than a few lines in their group songs, the novelty of hearing each member’s individual singing capability really made the audience go wild.

Afterwards, they sang and danced to a mashup of songs from all three parts of “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life” before proceeding to sing a couple iconic songs from even older albums.  Nearly every song was accompanied by intense choreography, and their ability to keep in sync with one another even during real life concerts amazed me to no end.

Between songs, the boys would talk to the audience about their world tour, their experiences and their amazement at how many international fans there are.  Though most of their English was broken and hard to understand, they clearly made an effort to communicate with fans even though the language barrier was somewhat hard to overcome. Nonetheless, fans were ecstatic and screamed replies to their attempts at English.

There was a mass fan project in which fans created an ocean of orange, red and yellow lights during BTS’s song “Fire.” Then, during  “Spring Day,” fans switched their lights and made a rainbow: the top floors were red and the colors changed as it descended, turning to a bright purple at the bottom. The whole thing was surreal to me. It was like being in the center of a galaxy filled with bright stars while listening to sentimental music and the collective, singing voices of thousands of fans booming in my chest.  

When the concert was nearly over, the seven boys were clearly exhausted. Everyone could see them sweating profusely on screen and taking heavy breaths. Since they’d been dancing and  singing  for three hours, it was no surprise.

Their group leader Rap Monster, the only one completely fluent in English, sincerely thanked the fans over and over before breaking out into a heartfelt and inspirational speech. Then, one of their more emotional, ballad-like songs “Spring Day” began playing–a song about missing people who have left your life.

Before they walked away, fans in the pit threw many gifts on stage, mostly comprised of Pokemon plushies, Ironman figurines and character headbands they knew the boys loved.  Even after they were gone, fans continued to sing the chorus of “Spring Day” for several minutes.  Soon after, the lights slowly dimmed and the concert was over.

When my friends and I finally left, there were countless fans around us crying their eyes out due to the overwhelming emotions from the concert and knowing that it would be a long time before the next BTS concert. Groups of people who didn’t even know each other gathered in the parking lot and blasted BTS music while singing together. Others sat to the side to discuss the concert or continue to silently shed tears.

BTS is one of the few groups who write inspirational lyrics about darker topics, something Korea tends to censor or ignore in media. While the majority of other Kpop groups sing about romance and happy things, BTS’s songs are meant to help struggling youths around the world as they talk about finding the right path, fighting depression, establishing lasting friendships, and taking a stand against the hate that used to frequently target them in their early years. Not only that, BTS is very adventurous when it comes to the music many of the members help to compose and produce, delving into genres like jazz, R&B, electric, and a fusion of other musical styles. However, no matter what genre they decide to experiment with, there is always a subtle hip hop vibe underneath it all. This diversity explains why the group appeals to so many people worldwide, has won MAMA awards, and has placed number one on the Billboard Social 50 chart for 19 consecutive weeks. They’ve even been nominated for the Billboard Social Artist Award alongside artists like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande. These achievements are unprecedented in the world of Kpop and have caused fans all around the world to be excited. Meanwhile, I will be keeping track of their activities while waiting for news of their next concert in America.