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BTS closes magical ‘Love Yourself’ era in Seoul: Over 14 months, the K-pop superstars performed for over 2 million adoring fans

Nov 01,2019
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BTS wrapped up their 14-month-long “Love Yourself” world tour with three concerts at Seoul Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, southern Seoul. As part of the tour, BTS performed in 23 locations around the world, putting on 62 concerts in front of a total of 2,060,000 fans. From left are members RM, Jungkook, V, Jin, Jimin, J-Hope and Suga. [BIG HIT ENTERTAINMENT]
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Clockwise from top left: Fans fill up the area around Seoul Olympic Stadium on Tuesday for the tour’s final show in Seoul; Fans who did not get a ticket to the concert stand outside the stadium, singing along to the songs they hear from the outside; The BTS Pop-up Store in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, was a must-visit spot for BTS fans, known as ARMY, prior to the concert. [YOON SO-YEON, YONHAP]
Some people set up picnics, some were studying for exams and others were watching YouTube videos on their smartphones. No matter how they chose to spend their afternoon, everyone outside of Seoul Olympic Stadium in southern Seoul on Tuesday afternoon was waiting for the same thing - the chance to see the final show of K-pop sensation BTS’s “Love Yourself” world tour. While the main event was to be held inside the stadium that evening, outside was a festival unto itself, filled with activities and events for the group’s loyal fans, known as ARMY.

The group wrapped up their 14-month-long world tour with a grand finale in Seoul. Over the course of three concerts on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, they performed in front of a total of about 130,000 fans to close out the exceptional chapter in the career. Through 62 concerts in 23 locations, a total of 2,060,000 people attended the shows over the tour’s run. Along the way, the boy band made K-pop history.

The “Love Yourself” tour kicked off in Seoul in August 2018 and made stops in 20 cities around the world. The group’s follow-up stadium tour, “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” added 20 more concerts to their total.

Not only did BTS become the first Korean act to headline and sell out two days at Wembley Stadium in London, the group also became the first foreign act to hold a solo concert in Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd International Stadium in October.

Buildings in Riyadh and New York City were lit up purple for the K-pop superstars, just as Jamsil Station had been decorated for their shows in Seoul.

The high-speed rail line SRT even doubled the number of trains leaving from Suseo, in southern Seoul, to Busan for the duration of the concert, and the Airport Express saw a record high of 326,386 passengers on Oct. 25.

Although Seoul Olympic Stadium can hold up to 43,000 people, not all of the fans around the arena were able to get tickets to go inside. But that didn’t mean that they weren’t going to show their support for BTS. Many fans lined up outside of the stadium to get their hands on merchandise and take part in the event booths set up outside, while also breaking out into impromptu dance and cheering sessions while listening to the concert from the outside through the night.

“We don’t have a ticket, but we’re here to listen outside,” said Nisa Ismail, who travelled from New Zealand. She was sitting next to her sister who made the trip from Malaysia. “I just want to feel the vibe, and hopefully we’ll get to see the fireworks as well. But we’re just enjoying the mood together.”

Nastia Skokova from Russia said, “I tried to buy tickets, but I failed. But the culture and the music is just all amazing. I feel excited just being here.”

Big Hit Entertainment’s fan community app Weverse was filled with fans sharing information, which also provided a map of the site, waiting times at the event zone and details about when they could pick up the merchandise they reserved.

“I’ve been to BTS concerts 22 times,” said Janelle Story, a devoted ARMY member who met her friend Bethany Bloch on Twitter through a shared love of BTS.

“Their sincerity and their [genuineness] is just different from anyone else. The energy and the synergy the guys have with each other - it makes me happy and joyful just watching them. You can actually feel that they do what they do because they love to do it, not because they have to. And the good message they try to send makes the fans care as well.”

BTS is expected to have earned some 150 billion won ($128 million) during the stadium tour and some 14.3 billion won just from the three-day concert run in Seoul this month.

Add that with the 33,000 won price to watch the live stream through the V Live app on Saturday and Sunday and the 28,000 won cost for tickets to live showings at local cinemas on Sunday - the number is likely to increase greatly.

“ARMY gave us the wings to fly, and with those wings, we’ll fly to you,” said member Jungkook, opening up the concert on Tuesday.

Starting with the powerful “Dionysus” (2019), BTS rocked the stage with their hits, including “Boy With Luv” (2019), “Idol” (2018), “MIC Drop” (2017) and “Fake Love” (2018).

The members also took time to perform their solo songs, including J-Hope’s “Just Dance” and V’s “Singularity.” Memorable moments include when RM’s performance featured spectacular augmented reality features that made it seem like he was actually shooting hearts with his hands and when Jungkook flew across the stadium using a lift.

The highlight of the show came at the end, when 300 drones put on a light show in rhythm with one of the group’s most touching songs, “Mikrokosmos” (2019).

Intel, who also put on a drone show for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, joined forces with Big Hit Entertainment for the special show.

“If there’s a beginning, there’s an end,” said Suga during the show. “And an end also means a new beginning. ‘Love Yourself’ ends, but it could mean the beginning of a new tour. We love you so much ARMY.”

V added, “Thank you for cheering us on during the tour. We met so many ARMYs, and we haven’t found anything more beautiful than ARMY. This tour ends, but it won’t be the last, so please don’t think of this as our final meeting.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]