By Sydney Lewis, and Trina Bernal
On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, the K-pop boy band BTS held their Love Yourself concert in Oakland, California. BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan, or “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” in English. Created by Big Hit Entertainment, leader RM (Kim Namjoon), eldest member Jin (Kim Seokjin), second-eldest Suga (Min Yoongi), third-eldest J-Hope (Jung Hoseok), third-youngest Jimin (Park Jimin), second-youngest V (Kim Taehyung), and youngest Jungkook (Jeon Jungkook) debuted in 2013 with their song “No More Dream.” A group of four of us bought the tickets in May and have waited four agonizing months for this day to happen. It started when we gathered into one car and drove over to the packed parking lot in Oakland, just a few blocks from the stadium.
Before the concert we decided to get our BTS merch, which included a BTS Army bomb, a multi-colored light stick, that synchronized with the concert songs upon assembly, photos, towels, and many other things. There was some much excitement surrounding us before the concert we couldn’t wait to see what what the night will bring us.
Entering the stadium, it was filled with screams, lights, and music. The thump-thump-thump of the songs reverberated through us as we took our seats. As we sat down, we noticed banners on our seats. The banners were in honor of BTS leader RM’s birthday that day. Our early admission let us enjoy their famous hits, like Run, War of Hormone, and Boy in Luv. These songs weren’t featured in the concert, but everyone knew the harmony and somewhat knew the lyrics, as they were in Korean.
After a calm period — if you could call an endless amount of screaming and beautiful screech-singsonging “calm”—the lights dimmed. Anticipation rose through the roof. The pyrotechnics and stage production opened wider, teasing the concert-goers of BTS’ appearance. Milking out the energy of the audience (hereafter referred to as ‘Army’) a VCR played on the two huge screens on either side of the main stage, which extends outward into the standing audience area. The VCR consisted of the group members’ posing and grooving to a self-produced hype beat.
Upon its end, the triumphant screaming after four long months of waiting for this amazing day exceeded the human-capacity of whoo’s and oh my god’s. And the thump-thump-thump increased in volume as well, where meanwhile, the group members readied themselves on the moving platform that enabled entry into the concert venue from the prep-concert area.
Their appearance caught us, The Army, off-guard in the fact that while the beat was still strong and solid, their attire glowed for all the audience to see. Then the whole group, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, practically jumped from beneath the concert structure, with Golden Maknae (Golden Younger Brother) being the first to appear in the massive life-explosive screen. The group went on to perform their song, ‘Idol’, hyping up the crowd.
After the song they stayed on stage, formally introduced themselves, interacted with us, and described how happy they were to be here. They continued the concert with songs, “Save Me”, “I’m Fine”, and ‘Magic Shop’. After these songs, J-Hope then sang his new solo song, “Trivia: Just Dance”, having the whole audience on their feet dancing to the beat, then Jungkook sang his solo song “Euphoria”. They end the first segment with one of their older bops “I Need U”.
In the second segment, they played their song “RUN”, Jimin performed his slow and angelic solo song Serendipity (the full-length edition), then RM performed his solo song “Trivia: Love”. Then we went on to sing Happy Birthday to RM, he was happy to be spending his birthday with ARMY. After the short celebration, they sang a medley of songs that included “Boyz With Fun”, “Attack on Bangtan”, “Fire”, “Silver Spoon”, and “Dope”.
Then they performed “Airplane pt.2”, a smooth salsa-sounding song, that got the crowd swaying their hips from side to side. The VCR of V popped up where Taehyung’s visuals filled the concert room, exciting every Army in the arena, knowing what was about to come, “Singularity”. V’s solo stage “Singularity”, which consisted of a soulful song and amazing choreography. After this, BTS then came out and performed another big hit of theirs “Fake Love”, using the Rocking Vibe Mix instead of the original. The group left the stage and, again, the screens showed another VCR, it was of Suga and Jin. At the end of the VCR, the lights dimmed, and Army awaited for both Suga’s and Jin’s solo songs to be performed.
Then suddenly lights brightened and on stage was Suga and the familiar tune of his solo song, “Trivia: Seesaw”, began to play. As Suga left the stage and the lights went out, a single spotlight emerges and points to Jin, surprising everyone, playing the piano while singing his solo “Epiphany”. Armys sang along with such passion and emotion that filled the whole arena. Immediately after Jin’s performance, a slow rhythmic beat played in the background as V, Jungkook, and Jimin, came from backstage to join Jin to sing “The Truth Untold”. Following this performance, the group went on to sing their songs “Outro: Tear” and “Mic Drop”.
Then for Encore, an extra performance the artists secretly prepare, to the celebratory and up-beat tunes “So What” and “Anpanman” are happily sung by the BTS members. “So What” has a very carefree vibe to it, while “Anpanman” is thought by fans to be either based on the paste-head Japanese anime character Anpanman, or based on the CEO of the Management that essentially created BTS, Bang Shi Hyuk.
The Final MENT of the band included Jin, V, and Suga saying proudly to the fans that they’re “Superheroes” to them, vocalizing their appreciation for the support they’ve had over the five years BTS has been a boy band. RM gave the stage to Jungkook, who genuinely wanted “to see [the Army] so much.” Jungkook asked for the audience to scream, to which the audience gladly obeyed. When it was the Golden Hyung’s turn, (‘Golden Hyung,’ meaning ‘Golden Older Brother’), J-Hope said it was their first time at Oakland, “but honestly it’s just like home.” When V sadly said it was time to go, he assured the Oakland audience that they would come back. Jin said ‘I love you’ in Korean, or ‘Saranghae.’ Suga noticed how ‘Lit’ Army was during their performances, wishing us goodbye, “See you!” Jimin wearing stylish shades shh’d the audience. Jimin continued in Korean, “Also you all guys are sick at dancing,” complimenting the Army. To finish, the birthday boy RM referred to the Army as his “birthday friends,” and loved how they performed in the same Oracle Arena the multi-winning basketball team Golden State Warriors play at.
Their final song was “Answer: Love Myself.” The song advises self-love, and completes the musical trilogy of BTS. After their last set song, BTS bows while confetti falls around them and the front rows. Many of the Army started welling up but we all hoped for V’s promise that they’d come back.
The concert was everything we expected and more. The internationally famous Korean boy group will still be performing on October 19 and 20 at Accorhotels Arena in Paris, France; performing on November 13 and 14 at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, and on November 21, 23, and 24 at Kyocera Dome Osaka in Osaka, Japan. Their final tour of the year will be on December 8 and 9 at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan. They will continue touring around Asia in early 2019.