BTS recently returned to the stage to meet with their fans, known as ARMY, for four sold-out shows at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium. The event was celebrated as fans worldwide traveled to see the septet perform face-to-face for the first time since 2019. While this event was highly anticipated by many, the surprise shows in the Los Angeles area were being followed by fans worldwide as they awaited updates via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and even a livestream of the final show.
There is no doubt that BTS would give their all, as these performances were extra special. BTS has not performed for their ARMY face-to-face at a concert since their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour in late 2019. I was lucky enough to attend all four shows, and let me tell you; there was nothing that could prepare me for the emotions and energy I experienced with my friends those days. From spending nearly six hours in line to purchase merchandise, to hurriedly getting ready in hotel rooms and cars, and rushing into the venue, I would not trade the experience for the world. I have purchased passes multiple times to view the livestream concerts BTS has held online over the last two years, but even that was not enough preparation for the artistry I witnessed.
When the stadium lights went down, the screams drowned out the music of the opening video. I have been to quite a few concerts in my life, but this was a whole other level. The stadium erupted in cheers when they finally made their way onstage, and that very moment felt like coming home. There is something so beautiful about being in a room full of people who are all there for the same reason as you. Live shows always leave me misty-eyed for that reason alone, but BTS left me sobbing as I smiled the most I had in well over two years. Each member shared the most heartfelt messages every night, and their words resonated so deeply within me.
For the last two years, everything felt as if it had come to a stop. Our daily lives were changed forever. Many spent over a year at home unless you were a frontline or essential worker. What luxuries we had once enjoyed, such as concerts, going to the movies, traveling, or seeing our friends or loved ones, had been ripped away from us without a moment’s notice. Everything had changed so drastically and suddenly, and I remember after their Map of the Soul ON:E concert livestream in October 2020 had ended, wondering if things would ever get better again. If anything I had once loved and enjoyed so much before would ever be possible again. Just over a year later, my doubts were put to rest as I stood in a stadium this last week filled with others as we sang and screamed our hearts out for BTS.
Most of the world came to a complete stop, but BTS kept working hard to put out content for their fans to bring them joy. 2020 gave us the summer bop “Dynamite,” as well as their sentimental studio album BE. Tracks such as “Butter” and “Permission to Dance” were released earlier this year, leaving that feel-good energy BTS has encompassed perfectly. When life got tough, BTS became a support system for their fans and motivated them to keep moving forward through it all. At the Permission to Dance On Stage shows, BTS opened their hearts to their fans and showed that it truly is mutual and that they also get motivation and energy from their fans as we do from them.
The phenomenon surrounding the mass love towards BTS comes as no surprise to me as I watched them show their love for their fans and their craft every night. BTS truly has a connection with their fans and audience that cannot be matched. While other artists have shown their appreciation and love for their fans, BTS takes it up a notch. With thoughtful speeches, to songs where the members take a moving stage and go around the entire stadium to see all their fans. It is the healthiest artist-fan relationship I have ever seen and by far the most genuine. A love like this cannot be fabricated.
I could go on forever about how much BTS cares for ARMY and vice-versa, but I will move on to more fun bits now.
Of course, there were sentimental performances spread out amongst the four shows, but the whole point of the shows was to have fun and forget your worries, which BTS happily ensured. Energetic stages had fans screaming along to the songs while waving around their lightsticks in support of the group onstage. Some of my favorite sets based on the crowd and group’s energy included the tracks “Fake Love,” “Boy With Luv,” and “Idol.” However, if I were to be completely honest, there was not a single moment where I was not awestruck by how impressive BTS truly is. Their performances and stages complemented one another so well and highlighted each of their skills wonderfully. They also brought Megan Thee Stallion up to perform their rendition of “Butter” and Chris Martin of Coldplay to perform their song “My Universe” together.
Overall, even with plenty of tears of joy, seeing BTS was indeed one of the best experiences of my life and as a concertgoer. They created such a safe and friendly environment to return to. I felt safe, loved, and less alone in a sea full of illuminated purple lightsticks. The shows served as a reminder that life truly does go on and will get better with time. When things get tough, you can always turn to music for that burst of positivity and let go, because as BTS said, “We don’t need permission to dance.”