Concert recap: Unforgettable moments from BTS' 'Permission to Dance on Stage'

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2021 05:48 AM

Although every single seat in the Seoul Olympic Stadium was empty, it did not stop BTS from putting on an electrifying show that rivaled the grandeur of some of the biggest concerts held before the onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis. 

On Sunday, the South Koreans hosted "Permission to Dance on Stage," the septet's fourth digital concert amid the global pandemic. 

The event, which was originally meant to be the boyband's first in-person gig, marks the start of a hopeful brand new tour. 

The two-hour performance, which drew audiences from 197 territories, featured power-packed production numbers of the Bangtan boys’ unexpected but ingenious setlist, complete with enthralling choreographies, equally energetic back-up dancers, lavish set designs, state-of-the-art technology, well-thought-out outfits, as well as a live band. 

Here is a recap of some of the pay-per-view's most unforgettable moments: 

FAN-FAVORITE OT7 CLASSICS

"Permission to Dance on Stage," which consisted of 24 tracks plucked from BTS’ 8-year discography, was divided into 5 segments depending on the concept and message of each piece. 

RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook kicked off the concert on a high note with a mesmerizing production of their rhythmic beat-driven song “ON” from their 2020 album "Map of the Soul: 7."

Unlike their previous shows, where there were solo or subunit performances that allowed them breaks, all the numbers involved the seven members. 

Nevertheless, the Bangtan boys maintained the momentum throughout the entire night as they filled the stage with a mix of their signature bops such as "Dope," "So What," and "IDOL," as well as tender renditions of their pensive pieces like "Life Goes On" and "Blue and Grey." 

The group noticeably tried to accommodate all the songs fans often request in their setlist. But since there is only a limited amount of time (and energy), BTS moved to indulge ARMY by creating a few seamless medleys. 

"There are so many songs and dances we created throughout our career. For me not one of those is any less precious and I think ARMY feels the same sentiment we have," Jimin noted. 

The stand-out, in particular, was the fiery cuts of "Airplane pt 2," from their 2018 full-length "Love Yourself: Tear," Baepsae" from their 2015 mini-album "The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2" and "Telepathy," and "DIS-EASE" from their 2020 record "BE." 

NOSTALGIC NEW SOUND

But perhaps among the most unforgettable performances were the never-heard remixes of some of their biggest global hits. 

"I thought we should pursue the fun things ARMY would love and of course, I want to show them something new," J-Hope explained. 

BTS revitalized their 2016 records "Fire" and “Blood Sweat and Tears," into a trap and acoustic piece respectively. 

Meanwhile, they reworked their 2019 title "Boy with Luv" into a funk-pop cut, and their record-breaking 2020 single "Dynamite" into a funk-soul number and were both performed with an enthralling live band. 

While the immaculately remixed arrangements offered a refreshing and addictive new sound to some of BTS' most performed singles (as they were all the title tracks of their respective albums), it retained enough familiar elements to spur the sweet and nostalgic sentiments associated with the tunes. 

EMPEROR V

Although V had to literally skip the beats due to calf pain he experienced the night before, he never missed a note.

While the singer shared he felt "embarrassed" having to stay seated for most of the show, as advised by his doctor, he went on to exude an amplified stage presence that at times even stole the show.

Despite being separated from the members for most of the program, V, surprisingly, not once seemed out of place and instead looked nothing short of regal in his chair as he flawlessly hit the notes in all his verses with his captivating signature vocals. 

Admitting he was disappointed he was not able to dance as he rehearsed, V guaranteed ARMYs he will be joining the other members in the next leg of "Permission to Dance on Stage" in the United States. 

"I'll take care of myself and get better soon," he asserted. 

"I know some of you noticed this concert there's are no individual acts, it was our first try. We wanted to showcase all 7 of us. Look forward to it because in the next tour you won't be missing any of us," he added. 

As of this writing "You Did Well Taehyung," continues to trend on Twitter, as his fans continue to flood him with praises, support, and, warm messages. 

ENDEARING ENCORE

In the encore section, where the act usually sings pensive and laidback tracks, BTS did a heart-tugging rendition of "Epilogue: Young Forever" and "Spring Day," sentimental pieces from their first and second special album "The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever" in 2016 and "You Never Walk Alone" in 2017.

According to V, the materials were thoughtfully selected and "discussed at length."

"This time as well we were thinking what songs would ARMY want to hear and picked those two songs," he explained. 

"Epilogue: Young Forever," which was co-written by the BTS rappers J-Hope, RM, and Suga along with Big Hit founder Bang Si-Hyuk and producer Slow Rabbit, talks about the group's hopeful wish to always stay in their youth due to the fear of losing their ARMY as they grow older. 

The 2016 track was also the piece that brought BTS to tears during their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour in 2019 at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London, after ARMY sang the tune to the septet, as a surprise, to mark their historic debut at "dream stage." 

Meanwhile, "Spring Day," often regarded by the fanbase as the septet's best song yet so far, delves on the feelings of longing as well as hope amid uncertainty. 

The title's lyrics, however, take on a much deeper meaning during the "new normal," for both BTS and ARMY.

BTS CONFESSES STRUGGLES 

Although BTS rocketed to the meteoric heights of fame during the COVID-19 crisis, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, admitted during their online gig that like everyone else, they are struggling to navigate through the unprecedented circumstance. 

According to RM, despite snagging a slew of career records, awards, and chart wins the past year, the lack of interaction with fans robbed him of his ambition. 

"I had mixed feelings preparing for the concert. It has been two years and I sometimes wonder if I still have the motivation to move forward," he confessed. 

He went on: "I tried new things like working out to try to overcome them but it really feels like I've come to my limit. I almost felt like I was losing my sense of my identity." 

Jungkook likewise shared that their separation from ARMY left him feeling drained. 

"My motto is ‘I would rather die than to live without passion,' but recently the fire in me is fading. After some time, I feel like living without much spirit. I realized my passion is growing cold," the main vocalist said. 

Meanwhile, the oldest members stated the changes the pandemic imposed also affected them physically. 

"When we were touring, we had the stamina required for it. But since we don't, no matter how much we work out or practice, it still is not the same level. The kind of stamina did not keep up," Jin explained. 

"We have not performed that much so it is different. We have to pace ourselves, especially since all performances involved all 7 of us. It was no joke," Suga chimed in. 

Nevertheless, the members promised ARMY they will continue to persevere until the day reunite and are in fact, looking forward to "building new memories" together.

"I know seeing you offline would be enough. There will be no need for a 'propeller' or 'motivation' because I realized is jumping together and seeing ARMY have fun will be enough," RM stated. 

He went on: "We prepared a lot of songs that you like. So until that day — we won’t get discouraged and we will be waiting for you."

Similarly, Jungkook revealed that ARMY is one of the biggest factors that fuel and empower him, and is holding on to the hope of meeting soon. 

"Looking at the empty seats made me feel cold and got me teary-eyed... Standing here, on the stage where ARMYs are watching from far away, I realized that I needed to see you guys so wherever it is I'll fly to you please wait," Jungkook enthused. 

Jin, on the other hand, jokingly added that although he is growing old at 30, he will work to "get his old boy back" so he could give his best in as many shows as he can. 

"My body aches here and there, and I really want to hold more concerts before I become too old and it becomes hard to keep up the energy as before. With the LA concert as the start, we’ll find more chances to meet you guys so please look forward," he mused. 

SONG OF HOPE

BTS ended the program with their third English title and namesake of the tour, "Permission to Dance."

The track, which they also performed at this year's United Nations General Assembly, has since become an anthem of togetherness during this difficult time where the new coronavirus is still continually ripping the world apart.

BTS sauntered on the stage as they showed off the track's signature dance moves, including the steps that involved sign language. 

Jin, who had been serving some of his most confident appearances and best vocal performances (with the exception of his solo songs) yet so far during the Butter-PTD era, again stood out after delivering yet another skillful performance. 

And while the last performance did not exactly have the extravagance of their previous productions such as "Blood, Sweat, and Tears," and "Fake Love," the feel-good number felt the most genuine as it highlighted the septet's playful personalities and charisma. 

When the group dropped their last note, BTS asked their fans not to be disheartened as the end of the digital concert signals the beginning of their hopeful new journey. 

"The last song is BTS’s message to ARMY. Even if this stage is over, our song and our dance will go on. So please stay with us 'til the end," the BTS leader said. 

"Things are getting better around the world right now. Maybe we can meet in person. Please ARMY around the world, do not be sad. Please have hope we can meet soon. Let us go on day by day," Suga asserted. 

The next leg of "Permission to Dance on Stage" is slated on November 27 to December 2 at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The 4-day gig will be the group's very first in-person event in two years. 

According to the Bangtan boys, they are planning to add more stops across the world. 

"Starting from out us tour we will try out best to visit all of you," Jin assured. 

"We always find a way to be happy together no matter the situation. Because that is BTS and ARMY right? No one can stop us," RM cheekily said. 

"Permission to Dance on Stage - LA" will also be available via online streaming on December 3, at 12:30 p.m. KST. Other details, however, are yet to be announced.