LOS ANGELES — After two years, BTS is finally taking the stage in concert again — and it’s not just their legion of devoted fans, known as the ARMY, who are emotional about it.
Just before soundcheck for the second night of their four-show concert Permission to Dance On Stage – LA, BTS members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook opened up about their complicated feelings on returning to the stage after COVID-19 derailed their 2020 world tour during a press conference conducted with an interpreter.
“Yesterday, I thought: is this real or a dream?” Suga said hours before their Sunday show at Sofi Stadium. “Nothing has really come easy for BTS, and it’s been the same for the past two years.”
However, he said, “BTS has always overcame these hurdles and bounds by working hard.”
“That is a strength that BTS has – our ability to overcome.”
The 2020 year was bittersweet for K-Pop’s wildly successful group. Their album “Map of the Soul: 7” dropped in February, weeks before the pandemic forced them to postpone their highly anticipated Map of the Soul world tour. In November, they released a second album, “Map of the Soul: 7”, which was intimate and self-directed.
And this month, BTS has wracked up more milestones to their ever-growing resume, winning every award for which they were nominated at the American Music Awards and clinching a 2022 Grammy nomination for best pop duo/group performance.
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Jungkook stated, “We made and published songs that tried as authentically to express our frustrations” about the recent group music. The fact that songs we have created are so loved, I believe, has provided us with a lot more strength and energy.
Now, BTS is ready to give that energy back to their fans, after what V called a “very sad, difficult time for everybody.”
According to RM, the pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone and the same is true for BTS. One of COVID’s greatest tolls on the group, he said, has been the inability for them to connect with their fans in concert.
He sees the Permission to Dance mini-tour as the group’s chance to show “how much we’ve grown, how much we’ve learned these past 2 years.”
In echoing RM’s sentiment, Jimin said the group “felt powerless” and “depressed.”
We worked very hard to make this happen because we felt the need to offer consolation and healing to anyone else going through similar difficult times.
Their return on stage was not without pressure. Jimin confessed he felt “a sense of regret” for not relishing on Saturday’s opening night as much as he could have.
He said, “I was extremely nervous. “I was very afraid,” he stated. “I wasn’t able to really express those emotions sufficiently, and, because of that, I wasn’t able to enjoy the experience as much as I wanted to.”
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Jin added he was “very nervous” as well and noted the group’s pre-show huddle was especially moving on Saturday. RM said seeing the ARMY this weekend has made him “really emotional beyond words.”
According to J-Hope, the magnitude of BTS’ worldwide following is not lost on them.
“Speaking on behalf of a generation is a bit embarrassing when we think about it, but it comes with a sense of responsibility,” he said. “This really is the power of the music of BTS, and we worked really hard preparing this tour because we wanted to show this power, the power of our music.”
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BTS is wrapping up a great 2021. But, there’s one thing that remains: will 2022 see the K-Pop band win their first Grammy?
It’s an achievement BTS has wanted for years. But, according to RM, if they do win, it won’t just be their own victory. It’s simple,” he stated, and said that he’d be giving “half of the credit” to “the ARMYs.”
You’re only a small part of the whole adventure… I always try to realize that for myself,” RM said. It really helps me to keep my head down, which is really crucial to survival in such a crazy industry.
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