BTS World Tour: Love Yourself - Berlin, 10.17.18

Freitag, 19. Oktober 2018

I've been a fan of K-pop for years now, thanks to Girl's Generation and SHINee (my forever bias among all Idols is Taemin, just saying). Right around the time when Blood, Sweat & Tears came out in 2016 I noticed everyone talking about the video and BTS in general. I didn't really pay attention to it at first, but at some point I wanted to know why everyone was so obsessed.

And that's when everything was over--or began, depending on who you ask.

For those of you who might not know them, BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan/Bangtan Boys/Beyond the Stage) is a K-pop band made up of seven members, as you can see from the above picture, called J-Hope, V, RM, Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, and Suga. Since 2013 they've slowly but steadily taken over the world. They are the currently biggest boyband in the world, are on the TIME magazine cover as 'Next Generation Leaders' and have spoken before the UN as UNICEF Ambassadors. Not bad, right? 
Jimin during the introduction.
They are known for their sharp choreographies, lyrics dealing with real life issues that are rather uncommon in K-pop (for example depression), and their music incorporates several different styles, especially since four members are singers and three rappers which gives them a lot of space to play with. Fun fact: they are involved in the production of their songs and also in the lyrics, another rather uncommon thing in the K-pop industry.

So, when I heard that BTS were coming to Europe, and Berlin specifically, I knew this was my chance to finally see them on stage. I mean, how often do K-pop bands come to Europe, right? ...But then I saw the ticket prices and I felt discouraged. What kind of price? The cheapest tickets were 75€. And there was also the fact of both Berlin concerts selling out in nine minutes or less, which didn't help much either since it basically gave me no time to think about it.

J-Hope during one of the first songs.
I accepted my fate of having to rely on concert recordings on YouTube and fancams and livestreams that would happen during the concerts, which isn't too bad either, you know? Not as awesome, but better than nothing. But, because I am surrounded by the best people in the world (and have fast internet on my phone) I was lucky enough to buy a ticket (one of the two cheapest options) on the day of the second Berlin concert when last minute ones were put up on eventim. THANK YOU.

Hours later I arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin with half an hour until the concert started. Luckily, as someone with a seated ticket, I didn't have to wait in line with everyone else, but could basically walk in immediately. I had no idea where exactly my seat was (since you couldn't choose) but turns out I got an amazing spot with a great view and no one directly in front of me. Perfect! Unlike during European or American artist's concerts, there was no opener, instead different BTS music videos were playing on the giant screens off to the right and left of the stage, until the arena suddenly went dark and the screaming turned basically deafening once the guys stepped on stage.
Jungkook during the introduction.

Just before the concert started an announcement was made that Jungkook was still dealing with his heel injury and thus had to sit out all the choreographies. I'm pretty sure everyone in the arena would agree with me when I say that I prefer him sitting on his stool, or just walking around, than pushing himself and only getting himself more injured. It was lovely to see though how the guys still incorporated him into everything, danced around him or stood next to him, so he wouldn't feel left out or even worse than he already was (he mentioned feeling embarrassed and guilty for letting ARMY (the name of their fans) down). 

To my surprise the setlist was different than the one for the previous day (which I only knew because of the aforementioned fancams) but nonetheless it was jam-packed with hits and lesser known songs, fast party tracks but also slow ballades, a perfect mix for the fans and the band themselves. The choreographies in their videos? Yeah they do those live as well and it's even more amazing and mind blowing. Especially when you consider the fact that they're on stage for 2.5h(!) and as former dancer I know how hard it is to just dance for that long, let alone dance and sing at the same time.

Jin during his solo song.
The structure of the concert was made up of a few opener songs, followed by an introduction (which included the band members attempting to greet the arena in German), group songs but also sections where each of the members performed a solo song (V's Singularity was my favorite from all the solos simply because of the sensuality of the song itself but also V's voice and way of performing it, simply gets me every time), and then finished off by the singers doing a song (The Truth Untold is one of my absolute favorite BTS songs ever) and then the rappers, before coming together for a 'final' song. They leave the stage and then come back for the encore dressed in jeans and casual black shirts goofing around, filming each other with a GoPro on a selfie stick, and having fun. At some point they all say a few words, thank the audience for coming, some doing it in English and others in Korean with a translator coming over the speakers. It's interesting how it's not just them saying a sentence and then letting the next person talk, but it's usually like a minute or two per member with each saying something different, relating it to themselves or the audience, the city they're at, or something that's on their mind. 

RM during his solo.
You know how Beyonce frequently changes her outfits throughout her concerts? BTS do that as well. The different group sections have different outfits, and all the solo performances, the stage and props are changing as well. All their outfits are amazing and harmonize with each other, be it gorgeous black and gold suits, all white, bedazzled shirts, or all black with leather harnesses. A funny moment was during RM's solo performance. He forgot to close his belt, which I at first thought was a planned move, but no, it was a honest mistake. OOPS. My favorite outfit, besides the one for the opening (the one you saw on the first picture of Jimin), was Jimin's (is it too obvious that he's somehow turned into my bias?) bedazzled shirt and loose red 'bow'. It's so pretty and sparkly! Unfortunately my picture doesn't do it any justice (I'm sorry). 

And then, before I knew what was going on, the concert was over. Never had 2.5h passed so quickly, but wow, some of the best hours I've ever had at a concert. It was completely different than any other concert I've been at before, the crowd louder than I imagined possible (at some point I saw a staff member close to me with a device that measured how many decibel it was, around 110 as far as I saw at one point), the space illuminated by so called ARMY Bombs (basically glowing snow globes on sticks synchronized via bluetooth and an app) creating different patters or, at some point, even the German flag. There were people of different ages, genders, heights, skin colors, and walks of life present, all brought together by their love for BTS, their music, and K-pop in general. A night they would never forget, many later said on twitter, the best one of their entire life, an experience they would still talk about during the weeks, months, and even years to come.
BTS backstage after the concert with the signs BTS ARMY Germany made.
A final thought: I love BTS, and I love the concert, BUT personally I think the ticket prices were a bit much considering
they have a young audience (and I don't mean just teen girls as the German press tried their very hardest to make it seem, many people in the crowd were early or mid twenties, something I count as relatively young as well) who might not have that much money because they still go to school, university, or don't have the best paying jobs in the world (which isn't to say that some of course can easily afford it, but you get the point), so paying 200€+ for GA (general admission) is a bit...much. Also, the merch prices? 50€ for a shirt? In comparison, my Placebo shirt was 20€ at the same venue a year prior. Then again, I get it, they're a huge act right now, come with a giant stage with different features, screens, backup dancers, a big wardrobe, all things that need to be paid for and I can't imagine any of the shipping and transportation costs being small, yet when you play two sold out shows to a combined 34.000 people, I'm sure tickets for half the price, or even just the merch, would do the job just fine as well.

Of course BTS themselves don't make any of these decisions, the management and organizers do, so I'm not saying this as 'hate', but rather as salty/sad fan who simply couldn't afford both tickets and merch. 

Overall, as you might've deduced from this post, I had an amazing time at the concert and loved every minute of it, spent the entire rest of the evening, and the following day, telling everyone about it and how great it was. BTS are amazing performers and entertainers, and what I got was definitely worth my money. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by an ocean of smiling happy faces of ARMYs singing along and just having the time of their lives. Lyrics in Korean? Easy! Fanchants? Even easier! Do I hope that BTS will return in the coming years (especially since they've just announced that they've extended their contracts by 7 years)? YES!

And that's it! Thank you so much for reading! In the comments, tell me if you like BTS, if you've ever been to any of their concerts or if you'd want to go?