The concept of Post-Concert Depression has often been used to describe the emotional comedown of seeing a live show, as the euphoria wears off and the reality of normal, everyday life sets in. But for the 40,000 fans who witnessed BTS’ historic concert at Citi Field on Saturday night (October 6), a different emotion comes to mind: hope.
BTS ended the North American leg of their Love Yourself tour at the packed Queens stadium, a momentous first for a Korean act. And it was truly a night of celebration and reflection for the chart-topping group and their diverse fans (called ARMY). “This is only the beginning of our most beautiful moment in life,” leader and rapper RM reminded the extremely amped crowd after kicking things off with the anthemic “Idol,” the group’s most recent, and most rambunctious, single.
Since making their debut in 2013, the seven members of BTS — RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook — have continued to defy the odds; shattering YouTube records, debuting atop the Billboard 200 twice, and revolutionizing the globalization of Korean music.
Seeing them live in concert, it’s easy to see why.
With their Love Yourself tour, BTS have created an experience so captivating, so inclusive, and so visually stunning that it’s cemented the boy band as one of the most vital acts in pop music today. The two-and-a-half hour set featured highlights from the group’s Love Yourself era — and one fire medley (no pun intended) — weaving together an intimate narrative of love and acceptance through a mix of musical genres, crisp choreographies, colorful visuals, and undeniable charm.
Blame it on the chorus of voices singing “you’ve shown me I have reasons I should love myself” while hues of pinks and purples lit up the stadium, their echoes filling the air like a warm embrace. Or the way BTS themselves basked in the enormity of the moment, delivering fan service and finger hearts with complete sincerity. (Jimin was even moved to tears.) But it was impossible to leave Citi Field and not feel energized by it all.
BTS ask their fans to look inward, to take their universal message and reflect on their own state of being — to know that just because you don’t love yourself today doesn’t mean you can’t love yourself tomorrow. In doing so, they acknowledge that a beautiful moment in life isn’t just one moment, but rather a series of moments. So let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful moments of the Love Yourself tour:
J-Hope set the mood
Bangtan’s resident hype man and mood-maker, J-Hope, set the night off right with an exuberant performance of “Trivia 起: Just Dance.” The funky, future bass track was the first of the night’s solo stages and therefore had a lot to accomplish, maintaining the energy of the opener while also establishing the rapper as a dynamic force unto himself. Oh, and he can really bust a move.
Jungkook kept the party going
Youngest member Jungkook delivered a playful solo stage with “Euphoria,” a dreamy pop song that really should have been a single with its radio-friendly EDM hook. Co-written by RM, the track is a bubbly ode to young love, and it was a confident showcase for Jungkook, who served vocals and choreography with staggering bravado.
Jimin made everyone swoon
“Serendipity,” Jimin’s soft R&B ballad, put the performer’s fluid duality on full display, as he toed the line between sweet and sensual — his airy, ethereal vocals grounded by the sharp precision of his PG-13 moves.
RM channeled his idols
There’s something effortless about RM. His flow. His swagger. His unflappable leadership. It’s how he can get a crowd of thousands to their feet with nothing but a mic. As the group’s main rapper, RM’s deep, easy flow and clever wordplay have become some of the most distinct aspects of the group’s sonic DNA. And with “Trivia 承: Love,” RM delivered both — a hype hip-hop track with deep emotional resonance, not unlike the work of his New York heroes. “The music born here changed my life,” he said, “made me dream, and gave me a new life.”
V’s gravitational pull
BTS doesn’t have a central figure, but as a performer, V comes close. The vocalist has the ability to seduce an entire crowd with a single look. During his sultry performance of “Singularity,” even the most subtle movements — a caress here, a glance there — were met with awe and fervent screams. It’s this intimate relationship with the camera that makes him so fascinating to watch, his charisma pulling fans into his magnetic field one eyebrow quirk at a time.
Suga had something to prove
Known for his slick tongue technology, lead rapper and producer Suga is a bit of a chameleon. Case in point: “Trivia 轉: Seesaw,” a standout performance that saw the rapper trade in his signature aggressive style for a melodic R&B flow, cool choreography, and a vibey disco beat. And with it, the complex performer turned his perceived weaknesses — his vocal ability and dancing prowess — into strengths before attacking the crowd with his electric verse in “Tear.”
Jin’s vocal talents soared
Fan chants are a typical part of the live experience in K-pop. But eldest member Jin received a special distinction on Saturday night, becoming the only member to inspire his own fan chant. As Jin sat behind the piano to deliver the opening verse of “Epiphany,” a chorus of “KIM SEOKJIN” reverberated throughout the stadium. And the early praise proved to be well-earned. The crystalline pop-ballad was a sneaky show-stopper, with Jin’s powerhouse vocals soaring into the night sky.
Jin might not be the group’s flashiest member, but that’s OK; Mr. Worldwide Handsome doesn’t need much to stun everyone into silence.
The medley set the stadium ablaze
BTS may be one of the biggest acts in music at the moment, but Bangtan haven’t forgotten their humble beginnings. The mid-show medley of “Boyz With Fun,” “Attack On Bangtan,” “Fire,” “Baepsae,” and “Dope” had the crowd on their feet as the group attacked the fan-favorite tracks with personality and precision.
Suga may or may not have spoiled their 2019 plans
Leave it to Suga to boast about the group’s future accomplishments before they’ve even happened yet. During the members’ final farewells to the crowd, the rapper assured fans that Citi Field was “just the beginning,” before alluding to a potential U.S. stadium tour in 2019. “Maybe next year… I’ll leave that up to your guys’ imagination. For us, we dreamed a dream and you guys imagined it, and now we’re here. Let’s see each other next year.” That sounds promising.
RM brought the message home
What does it mean to love yourself? And more importantly, where does one even start? According to RM, these are questions no one has the answers to. The process of loving yourself is a journey that never really ends, but through music and through moments of togetherness, the answer becomes a little clearer.
“Through this Love Yourself tour, I am finding how to love myself,” RM said as he addressed the crowd at Citi Field for the final time. “I didn’t know anything about loving myself, but you guys taught me through your eyes, through your love, through your tweets, through your words — you guys taught me, and I started to love myself. … So I want to say one thing: Please use me, please use BTS, to love yourself.”
Looking out at the sea of smiling faces in the crowd — faces of all ages and ethnicities, from all walks of life — there’s hope that they will.