LOS ANGELES – Many musicians have fans. But only BTS has an ARMY.
The K-pop group’s legion of dedicated followers flocked to Sofi Stadium on Sunday night for the band’s second show Permission to Dance On Stage – THE four-night concert – their first in-person show since the pandemic of coronavirus derailed their tour two years ago.
Hardcore fans, known as BTS ‘ARMY, rushed into the stadium, ARMY bombs and other merchandise in hand. (For those not in the know, ARMY bombs are orbs attached to sticks that light up with music during BTS concerts.)
With a roster of over 20 songs including “Fire”, “Telepathy”, “Dynamite” and “Permission to Dance”, the show featured tight choreography, flaming fireworks, confetti, balloons, a giant screen capturing everything. action and heartfelt speeches from the seven members of BTS – and USA TODAY have seen it all. Here are some highlights.
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BTS weren’t the only superstars in the building.
About an hour after the show started, the audience burst into joy when Megan Thee Stallion strutted on stage in a tight pink ensemble, complete with heels and puffed sleeves, to perform with the band for their remix of ” Butter “.
“Everyone’s giving up for the boys! Thanks for having me,” the Houston native told the crowd after the song. “I feel like a sexy girl every season!”
RM complimented Megan Thee Stallion on her departure.
“Your existence makes the scene perfect,” he said. “Everyone is making noise for the beautiful Megan Thee Stallion.”
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Jin channels “Squid Game” in closing speech
Much like BTS, the group closed the show with heartfelt speeches from each member. Jungkook and RM spoke in English, while the other members spoke in Korean, with RM translating for them.
During his speech, Jin winked at the South Korean Netflix hit series “Squid Game,” which, like BTS, has drawn fans from all over the world.
Dressed in her short, braided hair like the massive doll from “Squid Game”, Jin turned his back on the audience and slowly turned his head as the other members of BTS humed the tune of “Red Light, Green Light” from the Netflix series.
Afterward, Jin said his relationship with his fans was “almost like a movie.”
“And doing this film of life with you makes me really happy,” he added. “This is a film that we will continue to make until the very last day of our lives.”
J-Hope said Sunday’s show would be “a big part of my own story, my life story,” and Suga noted that the mini-tour was “a really big challenge.” Jungkook said he would “cherish him forever”, and V said he enjoyed the show so much that he could “have another gig tonight in my dream.”
Jimin admitted getting back into the rhythm of the in-person performance was not easy, but the support from ARMY helped.
“Yesterday I really shouldn’t be saying that, but it’s the first time I’ve seen you in two years, and honestly it was a little awkward,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t think I’ve done all I could do for you in the past two years, so it’s an honor and I’m really moved that you guys have been waiting for us all.”
RM said the ARMY had helped him wake up after a hard morning when his body felt “so broken down”.
“I just woke up this morning at 9 am, and I was literally stuck in my bed,” he said. “I wasted all my energy… but you are the magic.… You are my miracles. You are all the right words in this world.”
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ARMY feels “euphoria” upon return from BTS concert
The event, which only took place in Los Angeles, drew fans from all over the world. ARMY members expressed their joy and gratitude – and threw free gifts called “gifts” – in the stands.
Elle Villamayor, 25, came from Chicago to attend all four performances. Ahead of the Sunday show, she said she felt a mixture of “disbelief” and “euphoria.”
“I always feel like I’m quietly dreaming,” she said. “It’s amazing. I don’t want this to end. I don’t want the post-concert depression to start.”
Kylie Jensen, 20, said she and her mother Robyn, 44, bonded over BTS music while at home during the pandemic. The mother and daughter flew from Utah to the shows on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s a bit like reuniting after a very long loneliness,” said the student. “It’s kind of like a moment to come together and feel alive again in a stadium full of people when it hasn’t been like this for so long.”
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