The seven members return to the stage on October 15 for a spectacular one-time performance in support of Busan’s candidacy for the World Expo 2030.
This year, BTS has frequently featured the concept of reflection. The irrepressible seven-piece issued “Proof” in June, an anthology record that took a look back over their nine years of collaboration thus far. Even J-debut hope’s solo album “Jack In The Box” saw the rapper reflecting on his career thus far and where he goes next. The video for the album’s lead single, “Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment),” collected iconography from years past. Although the concert’s theme, “Yet To Come in BUSAN,” which supports the city’s candidacy for the World Expo 2030, suggests a forward-looking perspective, it also feels like a continuation of this recounting of everything that has already occurred.
But this is more than just a simple recounting; it’s a celebration of a remarkable first era. The BTS logo is repeatedly displayed on the stage at Busan Asiad Main Stadium, with each of its trapezoid-shaped parts positioned one step behind the logo preceding it. Every block represents a separate chapter in the group’s narrative, giving the impression that they are the pages of an open book. The same markers that appeared in the ‘Yet To Come’ film, including the train from ‘Spring Day,’ the angel from ‘Blood Sweat & Tears,’ and others, are located on either side of the performance space.
The seven members of BTS enter the stage after an arsenal of pyrotechnics are set off from that setup, and they immediately begin performing “Mic Drop.” They are accompanied by a live band, which amplifies the tune and makes it feel like an avalanche is approaching. BTS are performers who always give it their all, but tonight it feels like they dig harder and deeper than ever. It’s possible that this accompaniment is what makes the group’s energy feel different compared to the last time they were on stage in Las Vegas six months ago.
The setlist in Busan allows the band another chance to carry on the incredible enthusiasm and commitment that have allowed them to bring Korean culture to the forefront of the world over the past nine years. The trio describes their hometowns throughout South Korea on “Ma Metropolis,” which is accompanied by images of the Gwangan Bridge and other notable locations in the coastal city. Two figures of talchum, or masked dance, are accompanied by the song “Idol,” which is being performed today with a bassline that sounds deeper and more elastic than previously. They are visible from the front of the stage over the audience.
Two prominent themes
BTS’ discography has always featured two prominent themes that go beyond simply representing their nation: heartfelt songs that make you feel everything, and swaggering, furious hip-hop. The ensemble divides into two tonight to do both. The vocal line of Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook performs “00:00 (Zero O’Clock)” and “Butterfly” flawlessly and with spine-tingling intensity as their individual voices rise gloriously above the night. Rappers RM, Suga, and J-hope then enter the stage and perform furious, stunning renditions of “UGH!” and “BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer,” with each word of the song’s title accentuated by fireballs. Both are jaw-dropping in every way, with the foursome exercising their rapid-fire flows.
There are further treasures from their legendary back catalogue elsewhere. Their first US Number One song, “Dynamite,” fills the stadium with rainbow-colored joy before an exciting and upbeat performance of “Boy With Luv.” Towards the end of the programme, the songs “Young Forever” and “Spring Day” offer poignant moments. The former, which was released in 2016, perfectly captured the group’s tenacity and drive to succeed. Even though they are some of the biggest performers in the world, when they sing this song now, as they stand on stage in the beginning stages of their second chapter, it feels like a renewal of their commitment to “keep sprinting toward my dream.”
The staging of this special event confirms that BTS has never been a band to cut corners, as the song “Young Forever” says. The continuous pyrotechnics bursts and meticulous attention to detail make the two-hour performance a sensory assault. While the graphics in “BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer” change to represent each member—”Jack In The Box” colours for J-hope, “persona” and “who am I” for RM, and a splatter of blood and sword noise à la “Daechwita” for Suga—one example of the titular creature flaps around gracefully to the side of the stage during “Butterfly”
In Busan, historical periods from other eras are also on display. The three brand-new songs from “Proof” are also there. With choreography that places the members in front of the handlebars of phantom motorcycles, the rumbling and revving “Run BTS” makes its live debut early. As the displays display film strips embellished with images from previous concerts, the song “For Youth” strikes a nostalgic, appreciative note in the show’s closing moments.
BTS Hasn’t Arrived in Busan
There is also considerable emphasis on the future. Jin reveals that he will soon be the next member to debut solo content and that a single is on the way during the closing moments. With its poignant yet upbeat message that BTS’ best days are still ahead of them despite all the peaks that have coloured the last almost decade, “Yet To Come” closes out the programme.
The globe went into overdrive earlier this year when the group revealed their intentions to embark on solo projects, mistaking the news as the end of the BTS as a band. The group members vehemently refute those claims on stage tonight, with Jimin telling the crowd: “I think everything we’ve done so far is only a taste. We should continue for another 30, 40, or 70 years. A few minutes later, the band waves goodbye as “Rest of my life” from the song “For Youth” glows on the screen behind them. perhaps this is just the start.