BTS’ Permission to Dance Onstage: Day One Review

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Billboard

Members end the night with small speeches and an energetic performance of “Permission to Dance.”

Birdie Kwan, Copy Editor

In spite of mile-long lines, low-security, and a two year break, the world-famous K-Pop group, BTS (방탄소년단), made a bang with their return to in-person concerts, featuring enthralling, eye-catching sets; choreography; and outfits as well as special guest performances and emotional, never-performed-before songs.

Although the group lives across the world, they came back to the stage in Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, after 761 days of waiting, with one of their usual high-energy, entertaining performances. Despite the many online concerts in the past two years, both BTS and their fans were grateful and excited for their return to the real stage. People from all around the world flocked to Southern California to fill the 50,000 seats (200,000 for all nights) and the YouTube Theater at SoFi where 6,400 fans could view a live stream together. 

Fireworks and lights fill the room during “On.”

BTS set a new record for the most ticket sales among all artists that have performed at SoFi Stadium; they also became the first to sell out four shows in the stadium’s history despite resale tickets going for as high as $20,000. The original-released tickets sold out before they became available to the general public (tickets were first sold to holders of the canceled Map of the Soul:7 tour and fans with a paid membership).

The night was filled with emotion and dances and songs that did not disappoint after such a long break. The show started in the evening at 7:30 PM, yet fans arrived at the stadium before sunrise, waiting in line for upwards of seven hours to buy exclusive merchandise and experience the event and pop-ups. Their concert, per usual, was more than just a concert; it was an event and an opportunity for ARMY (BTS’ fanbase) to meet, talk, give out gifts to others, and finally see the fans that have accumulated over the years and especially during the pandemic. 

Fans arrive hours early to ensure a spot in mile-long merchandise lines. (CBS Los Angeles)
Merchandise lines were not the only long lines. The wait to get into the stadium was poorly organized the first day and many missed the first few songs of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The concert opened with a detailed, well-shot video of the group that previewed the first set and song of the night, “On”. The energy was palpable during the first concert back in years and the crowd maintained that energy throughout the whole night until it was replaced with thick-emotion during their encore. They sang their song, “We are Bulletproof: the Eternal,” a song about their journey with their fans as a group that came from nothing, for the first time in front of a live crowd. They also brought back the encore performance of their 2018 tour, “Answer: Love Myself,” accompanied by a “Purple Ocean,” which is when fans’ lightsticks fill the stadium in a mesmerizing wash of purple. 

SoFi Stadium filled up to greet BTS on their first show back from COVID-19.

The group and fans returned with the same high-energy as always with their dedication and culture around the group and Korean-Pop largely setting them apart from Western artists. The environment, activities, and overall event rivals other concerts I’ve been to like Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift; despite all artists putting on amazing shows, BTS’ concerts are almost incomparable as the experience reaches beyond the realm of music and becomes an event that lasts in memory forever.

BTS’ first day of Permission to Dance On Stage met and exceeded all of my expectations of the hard-working group. SoFi Stadium and Los Angeles emerged from the darkness of the past years and lit up and flooded with light, cheers, and BTS fans of all ages, genders, and races.