“The world wasn’t easy with us when we started. They didn’t let us in so easily. But we didn’t stop. The world has more than one path.”
Seoul: In a year where all plans were marred by the coronavirus pandemic, K-pop sensation BTS found a way to connect with and enthral thousands of their fans around the globe through their ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ online concert. The first part of the fully virtual show was livestreamed from Seoul on Saturday, with the music group – comprising RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook – reaching out to the ARMY, their fans, in an attempt to spread some cheer in these testing times.
The two and a half hour-long concert saw the septet perform 23 songs, including their multiple award-winning ON, Dionysus, Black Swan, DNA, Boy With Luv featuring Halsey and the Billboard Hot 100 chart topper, Dynamite, their first full-fledged English language single. BTS, whose full name is Bangtan Sonyeondan (Bulletproof Boy Scouts) and enjoy massive popularity across cultures as Beyond The Scene, also completed seven years in 2020 since their debut and as always, didn’t forget to thank their admirers.
“The world wasn’t easy with us when we started. They didn’t let us in so easily. But we didn’t stop. The world has more than one path. Music is our language, dream is our map. Singing different tales in different languages, we will march together until the end of time,” leader RM said. RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon, said the world will find a way through this ongoing health crisis, due to which the ‘Map of the Soul’ world tour was cancelled earlier this year. “We’ll find a way, we always have. If there’s no way, let’s draw the whole map again. We’re still connected. Even if catastrophes come, let’s believe in ourselves,” he said.
“We got an upgrade this time, through screens. Now we can see your faces and hear your voices,” Jin, whose real name is Kim Seok-jin, said. The show offered elaborate sets and performances, which were made richer by impressive visual effects and stage management, making the viewer feel close to BTS despite geographical distances. While the audience space at the auditorium was empty, the area was flanked by around a dozen LED screens through which thousands of fans from around the world were both visible and audible. The members too drew energy from seeing the faces and hearing the screams of their fans.
“This concert has been designed to sing along with you. You are with us on screens and we can hear you, see your passion. I hope I’ll be able to see you in person and hopefully make great memories soon,” V, whose real name is Kim Tae-hyung, said. The three rappers – RM, Suga (Min Yoon-gi) and J-hope (Jung Ho-seok) – also hit a boxing ring as fighters battling it out while they performed the angsty Ugh!. Suga said the band was “concerned” whether they would be able to satisfy the ARMY with the online concert. “But with your screams, I feel motivated. I’m sure there were things we couldn’t show you. But things we could show you because it was online. I hope this is over soon, so that we can hang out,” he said.
Besides group performances, the popular South Korean music group also let the members have their own moment in the sun through solo acts. Besides the background dancers, members of the on-ground crew at the concert set were also seen wearing masks. As the show drew to its end, the lights went out and with the deafening screams of fans growing louder a message from the group – ‘BTS loves ARMY’ – flashed at the arena. The second part of ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ concert will be held on Sunday.
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