K-pop sensation BTS –– composed of members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook –– returned to the states for their “Permission To Dance on Stage” concert series that began in Los Angeles in November 2021 and ended in Las Vegas on April 16. These shows marked the end of their two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions.
BTS fans, better known as ARMYs, use concert days as an opportunity to strut and showcase their unique fashion styles. People of all ages often show up to the venues adorning purple outfits and accompanying BT21 –– animated characters that represent each of the seven members –– headbands. One Twitter user customized her mini black dress with sparkly BTS symbols and paired it with a Jimin fan. Fans also come dressed in purple, the official color of the group after member V coined the phrase “I purple you” to symbolize “I love you.”
Las Vegas was more alive than ever when roughly 200,000 people, with ARMY Bomb lightsticks in hand, filled the Allegiant Stadium throughout the four Nevada shows. On the final day, the livestream count of the concert reached 402,000 people from 182 different countries and regions. Of course, jaw-dropping numbers are nothing new for BTS, considering they have six music videos with 1.1 billion views.
The concert series was named after their latest release, “Permission to Dance,” a fun song that, amid a pandemic, delivered some much-needed optimism and joy.
“We do feel a sense of responsibility to deliver music that is not only great but would have a positive impact on people,” member V said.
Their concert setlist was in tune with that idea, featuring 24 of their most catchy songs, including well-known title tracks “Butter” and “IDOL.” Energetic songs such as “Fire” and “Dope” opened up the concert, while slower, more heartfelt tracks like “Spring Day” and “Epilogue: Young Forever” closed the show.
“I just love you, we love you,” leader RM said before the encore on April 16. “And you know we’re BTS, you’re ARMY. We’re each other’s everything. We’re now at the end of the tour in Vegas and the end of PTD. The show might be over, but our light will stay going forever.”
After RM’s bittersweet message to the thousands of adoring fans, BTS ended the night by performing “Permission to Dance.” However, fans were left with a surprise when a grainy, black-and-white teaser video began to play, showing clips from each of their eras, starting from their debut. Toward the end of the video, the boys unanimously said, “We Are Bulletproof,” and the date June 10, 2022 was shown, indicating a comeback with the album “Proof.” With the comeback date being a mere three days away from their nine-year anniversary, it is highly likely that this new era will be reminiscent of their older songs.
A few days before the concerts, BTS attended the 64th Annual Grammy Awards with a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. After their loss –– the second year in a row –– fans were quick to share their frustration by trending “#scammys” on Twitter. Among other achievements, their nominated track “Butter” spent 10 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a shock to many when BTS did not win the award.
BTS’s loss led to controversy as many fans began accusing the Recording Academy of racism and xenophobia. In the past, the Grammys has been under fire for not awarding artists of color with the proper recognition. Since its start in 1959, only 10 Black artists have been awarded Album of the Year. The Grammys has always prided itself on being a hallmark of musical excellence, but its continued disregard of artists of color has begun to reveal the Recording Academy’s true nature. Some of the biggest names in music, such as Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Drake, Zayn and more, have publicly condemned the awards show. With the reputation of the Grammys slowly diminishing and BTS continuing to see incredible success, the question of who needs who more naturally arises. BTS does not need a Grammy to prove what the world already knows; they are a global superpower with a fiercely loyal and supportive fanbase.
From the customized outfits and the set design to the singing and alluring choreography, BTS can always be counted on to deliver a memorable performance. For the most loyal of ARMYs, however, merely seeing the boys in person after a long hiatus was more than enough to elicit joyful screams and tearful faces.
Kamilla Jafarova is an Entertainment Intern for the spring 2022 quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.