|BTS performs their concert “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life On Stage” at the SK Handball Gymnasium in Seoul. (Big Hit Entertainment)|
The arena at boy band BTS’ concert “BTS Live: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life On Stage” was lit more brightly than most K-pop concerts, and it was clear why.
At their first concert in Korea in 11 months, the members of BTS gleefully ran around the main stage and the protruding T-shaped stage as well as the aisles between the audience floors, making it impossible to coordinate lighting effects in a dark stadium.
“We were surprised,” Rap Monster said at a press conference before the concert, when asked about how the group felt about their concert being sold out almost immediately after tickets opened. “Our concerts have all been sold out, but the venues have been getting progressively bigger. ... Since the venue is bigger, we plan to show our gratitude with bigger, better stage presence.”
BTS did just that, in their own style -- focusing on the music, with the entire set newly arranged to be played by a live seven-person band. Unlike most K-pop groups, BTS started their set without flashy choreography or special effects, instead choosing to sing “Hold Me Tight” while standing still. The next song “Let Me Know” opened up the stage revealing the band, and the members spread out across the stage to perform behind standing microphones.
It was only after the first two songs that BTS showed off the heavy dance songs they’re known for, breaking out their hit “Danger.”
Next up were the newly band-arranged versions of BTS’ early rebellious hits “No More Dream” and “N.O,” with the members focusing more on getting up close and personal with the audience on the T-shaped protruding stage than their broadcast choreography typically allowed. Finishing off “N.O” with a special dance break at the end, BTS had fans clamoring for more.
Although the entire set received enthusiastic responses, including a cute segment with the boys splitting up into groups to perform “Converse High” (Rap Monster, Jin, J-Hope) and “24/7 Heaven” (Suga, Jimin, V, Jungkook) before coming all together for “Miss Right,” the highlight of the night was the first-ever performance of the group’s new lead track “Run.”
“You guys are the first in the world to hear and see this performance,” said Suga to a roaring crowd. “Run,” a rock-dance track that represents the theme of BTS’ new album “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 2,” is about continuing to get up and run, even if obstacles continue to knock you down.
“No matter how old you are, you can slip and make mistakes, but I think society has become too harsh to judge those mistakes,” Rap Monster had told press before the concert. “We wanted to offer some comfort. We didn’t want it to be the typical ‘keep your chin up, never give up.’ ... We wanted to say that it’s okay to fall down, to get hurt. All you have to do is get back up and keep running.”
The group also performed “Butterfly,” a new track that had been teased in the prologue video ahead of the album’s release, as well as “Never Mind” and “Ma City” off the upcoming album.
“We want our music to always talk about the issues affecting us and people our age,” Rap Monster said, explaining the shift of BTS’ focus in music from the rebellious, boyish rascal image that was prevalent in their school-themed album (“Skool Luv Affair”) to an image of young men trying to find their place in the world. According to Rap Monster, the group believed that this relatability in their lyrics -- which the BTS members write themselves -- is what makes them so appealing to fans abroad as well as in Korea.
BTS’ concert “BTS Live: Most Beautiful Moment in Life On Stage” took place from Nov. 27-29 at the SK Handball Gymnasium in Olympic Park, Seoul. Their album “Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 2” drops Monday, with the group’s first promotional performance to be held at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)