BTS – Soldier Field

By Faith Richardson

Screaming, crying, fainting. It sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, but in fact, it is actually the beginning of a BTS concert. BTS, arguably the most popular Kpop band to ever exist, disrupted the music scene when they skyrocketed not only to the top of the Korean charts, but also the Billboard hot 100. Their hit song with American artist Halsey, Boy with Luv, reached a peak of #8 and won countless awards in Korea. Now, they are doing a world tour and selling out arenas at every country that visit.

The shows that I attended were the back to back Chicago dates. Now, I have never been a die hard BTS fan before (in fact, when I was really into kpop, I liked EXO more), but this concert blew me away.

The entertainment started before we even entered the venue. You could see thousands of BTS fans draped in their merch, screaming the lyrics of whatever song by the band was being played. Once we got inside, my breath was taken away. Music videos of the band were being played back to back for about 30 minutes before the real show started, leaving every fan in the arena with a feeling of suspense. Then, the screens turned red and the crowd went wild. “This must be when they come out,” I thought to myself. Dozens of men ran to the stage to pull back tarps, revealing giant pillars and other various decorations. Once BTS came out, it was deafening. All 65,000 people in that arena were screaming at the top of their lungs. So loud, in fact, that it was hard to hear the voices in the music. All you could hear was the bass slicing through the sounds of the crowd.

The show started out with their fast paced song, Dionysus. Quickly, air inflated what I originally though was left over tarps and towering tigers rose above the band right on time with the music. Explosions and fire danced across the stage as close to 50 dancers hypnotized the crowd. Not only were there physical effects for everyone to enjoy, but the gigantic screens danced with color, perfectly timed to increase the emotional affect of the concert. Once the song was over, I couldn’t do anything but cheer along with the rest of the 65,000 people.

The concert continued with more upbeat songs, leaving every fan dancing, besides the ones who were hysterically crying. I was surprised to see moments of the concert dedicated to high quality clips of specific band members having fun or playing a certain persona. What I quickly realized were that these videos were previewing the upcoming solos. One member, JHOPE, left me enthralled at his performance of his song, Just Dance. The jumbo screens danced with purple and green, only extenuating his perfected dance moves.

Jungkook’s performance of “Euphoria” was shocking for a different reason. The effects didn’t blow me away like the previous songs, but instead, the young man was strapped onto some sort of platform that sent him soaring above the crowd, leaving girls with their jaws dropped (I was one of them).

Their more popular songs like the notorious “Boy With Luv,”  “FAKE LOVE,” and “IDOL,” made the crowd go even crazier than before. Almost every single one of the English speaking Americans that filled the arena were singing (more like screaming) along in Korea with the boys. I myself even shouted my favorite lines to those songs. 

As the concert came closer to a close, I was feeling a mix of emotions. I felt sad because I knew my time with the boys was coming to an end, but I was captivated by the only increasingly better performances that were happening back to back. “Anpanman” was one of my favorites. The bright colors mixed with the inflatable bounce house forced a huge grin on my face.

The show finally ended with a drawn out rendition of “Mikrokosmos.” BTS took their time making their way to every corner of the stage and waving to their thousands of fans. The music continued to play for close to 8 minutes while we all smiled, laughed, and cried. The fireworks only added to the emotion, and a towering BTS symbol rose from the ground and lit up in front of all of us. It was nothing short of magical.

Instead of immediately suffering from post concert depression, I walked back to my hotel in a crowd of fellow ARMY’s all singing BTS’s most popular songs. Once I arrived, I quickly fell asleep and prepared for my second concert day, which included soundcheck.

If you have the opportunity to attend a soundcheck, it is an absolute must. I knew that if I wanted good seats that I would have to wait a long time. Now I am a very impatient person; the kind that gets stressed out waiting five minutes for the bathroom. This time, however, I was determined.

We arrived at the venue at 5am, and we weren’t even the first ones there. The doors wouldn’t open until 11:30 so I knew I would be there for a while. I quickly made friends with the people around me that made the time seem as it was flying.

After hours and hours and HOURS of waiting, we were finally inside and ready to see the boys. I knew the minishow would only last for about 20 minutes, but I was excited and determined to get the most out of my 7 hours of waiting. It was all worth the wait because once BTS finally came out, we were front row, no more than 5 feet away from them. Immediately my morning was put to good use and I was screaming along to all of the songs that they were performing in front of us. I was truly breath taken at how honestly beautiful each one of them are. They frequently interacted with the crowd, including myself, and I felt blessed to be there, even if it was only for 20 minutes. Although we were all sad to see them leave once they had to go, I was even more excited for my close seats for the main concert. 

The second day was the same as the first, only more wet. The concert was by far the best one that I have ever attended. Between the effects, music, and overall personality of each band member, my standards were raised for all future shows that I may see. If you have the chance to see BTS on their next tour (which they announced at my concert), then you absolutely must go. If you are not currently a fan of them, you better hurry up because their shows are not like anything you’ve ever seen before. If you don’t leave one of their concerts singing their songs, then I’ll be shocked. Signed, a newly converted ARMY.

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