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[Herald Review] “If BTS and Army are together, the desert becomes the sea.”


BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

LAS VEGAS — In what would be one of the most memorable nights in the history of Las Vegas, BTS took over Sin City, proving the K-pop phenomenon’s matchless presence once again.

Ahead of the four-day sold out show, which kicked off at Allegiant Stadium on Friday, the already festive Las Vegas strip completely transformed for BTS fans visiting from all over the world. With an array of Army — the group’s fandom — flooding the busy strip and fancy hotel casinos, the iconic Bellagio dancing to BTS’ biggest hits “Dynamite” and “Butter” and various BTS-themed events splashing the city in purple, the second day of BTS’ concert series “Permission to Dance on Stage – Las Vegas” took place Saturday evening.

Daytime in the city might have been tough for many fans who stood in lines for hours under scorching heat. But as the sun went down, the wait was over. The gates opened wide to the fans, who, screaming with joy, rushed into the nearly 65,000-capacity stadium to become a part of a historic night.

The two-hour show was packed with the band’s biggest hits.

Amid rapturous applause, the seven bandmates, clad in sassy red and white outfits, jumped out of the giant screen flanking the stage as the ear-catching intro for their all-time opener “On” blared through the stadium.

Jin, who had injured his left index finger, had to scale down his performance due to lingering pain, performing some parts of the set while seated. 

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

After roaming around the stage with the boisterous song, the bandmates went on to a rock-remix version of “Fire,” during which the stadium blazed in a fiery red. Sparks exploded behind the stage, adding heat to the air.

After bringing fans to their feet with “Dope,” another energetic banger, the band grabbed microphones to greet their beloved fans. Shouting out to fans, RM belted out, “Permission to Dance on stage, Las Vegas!”

“I heard that Las Vegas is a city of miracles built in the desert. It’s a miracle that we are together like this today. If BTS and Armys are together, the desert becomes the sea.”

After dancing to all-time favorite “DNA,” BTS heralded that it was time to switch the mood. With V’s poignant intro, backed by a black-and-white screen, sorrowful ballad “Blue and Grey” instantly evoked emotions. Picking up from “Blue and Grey,” the sentimental mood spilled into “Black Swan,” which created an artistic and beautiful scene with dancers ruffling feathers.

But the musicians didn’t forget to pump up the loosened atmosphere. Before moving on, Jimin drew out another huge round of screams from fans, exclaiming, “I’m not ready. I need to hear Army’s screams for the next song,” as Jin asked him if he was ready for the next song. As concertgoers replied, Jimin smiled and said, “Now I’m ready. So we can start it? Let’s go!”

The bandmates went on to showcase a short rendition of “Blood Sweat and Tears,” magically transitioning into “Fake Love.” During the song, Jungkook sent the crowd into a frenzy by flashing his abs, a surprise event for fans at their request. Getting cozy, the band moved on with the cheery “Life Goes On,” with a screen that showed their polaroid-designed selfies, and “Boy With Luv,” during which a wave of thousands of BTS light sticks illuminated in a rainbow. 

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

“Armys, make some noise!“ Jungkook belted out, while Jimin addressed fans watching the concert in a real-time live broadcast at MGM Grand Garden Arena. “We can’t hear you from Live Play.” Picking it up, RM said, “Yeah, I think we can hear you from Grand Garden Arena. Thank you.”

“Show us your energy and enjoy this moment please,” said Jin. J-Hope said, “Armys are having so much fun!” while Jin chimed in with, “Let’s party like there’s no tomorrow!”

Like the titular message of the show, BTS showcased a top-tier performance with “Dynamite” with a live band, then smoothly transitioned into “Butter.” The band also climbed aboard orange moving carts that split on either side of the stage while singing retro-funk “Telepathy” and nostalgia-inducing “Outro: Wings.”

As the show headed to its conclusion, RM shouted out, “We still have the highlight. I’m anxious for your voice so I don’t want to say make some noise, but make some noise! Let’s go!”

Running at full throttle, the band put on their old hits “Stay” and “So What” through the fluttering colorful confetti that popped over their heads. Tapping into swaggering hip-hop, they performed “Idol,” “Home,” “Anpanman,” “Go Go” and wrapped up the concert with a festive encore of “Permission to Dance.”

The four days of shows, with the final two on April 16 and 17, have racked up over 200,000 admissions in total, according to BTS’ agency Hybe.

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

BTS performs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Saturday. (Big Hit Music/Hybe)

In celebration of BTS’ gig in the city, Las Vegas kicked off a special project called “The City,” providing an extensive and immersive fan experience by hosting various BTS-themed events all over the Las Vegas strip.

Those experiences include a special photo exhibition that feature unreleased and behind-the-scene photos of the band while preparing for its “Permission to Dance” tour, BTS-themed hotel rooms that are available at 11 different hotels in Las Vegas, a specially curated restaurant that serves BTS’ favorite Korean dishes by Michelin-star chef Back Sung-ook, an expansive 9,300-square-meter pop-up store and a Bellagio Fountains water show playing BTS hits.

“The City” was originally planned in spring of 2020 for Los Angeles on a bigger scale as part of the group’s “Map of the Soul” tour, which was canceled due to the worsening pandemic outbreak, according to Kim Tae-ho, chief operating officer of Hybe.

BTS’ introduction to Sin City comes about four months after the group sold out four nights at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, as well as three homecoming shows at Seoul Olympic Stadium in Korea last month. The group recently attended the 64th Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to perform their hit “Butter” live. The song was nominated in the best pop duo or group performance category, but they ultimately lost to Doja Cat and SZA.

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)





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