In the Online Concert Era BTS is Leading the Way


Bighit Labels

Select fans attended virtual concert through zoom call.

Krystal Orehek, Reporter

The pandemic has forced many artists to cancel or postpone any touring plans during 2020, and has left many fans (myself included) staring at their tickets in Ticketmaster with a bold yellow banner that says “POSTPONED” above their ticket. With this huge hit to the touring industry, many artists have been trying something new: online concerts.

Online concerts are something that has rarely been attempted before, and most artists are going for a minimal approach by setting up a camera in their homes and giving acoustic performances of a few tunes. But one group is standing out in particular when it comes to these virtual concerts, and that’s BTS.

BTS performance of “Black Swan” during Bang Bang Con: The Live. (Bighit Labels)

The first virtual concert BTS delivered was coined as “Bang Bang Con: The Live” back in June. This show featured eight different sets, several outfit changes, and of course, choreography. They also broke the record for the most viewers for an online-concert bringing in over 700,000 people, which is nearly 8 times what they usually perform for during one show on their tours. Despite all of these things, MTV still didn’t nominate them for best quarantine performance and yes, I’m upset about it.

Although this show was amazing, they somehow managed to top it in October with their next online concert called “Map of the Soul ON:E.” ON:E had a budget of eight times more than the previous June show and they found new ways to use the fact that it was virtual to their benefit. They had AR aspects to the show and had a contest where fans could enter to be on a zoom call during the actual show. During member V’s performance of his solo song Inner Child the crowd was un-muted to sing along, it really didn’t sound that great, but the sentiment was sweet.

Jin performs solo song “Moon” on a literal moon.

This time there were too many set designs to even attempt to count… but if I were to attempt, I would estimate 12. I mean seriously there was a huge cliff (yes, a cliff), a moon, a carousel, a boxing arena with jail cell walls, and I think you get it.  At this point, the only thing setting it apart from feeling like a full-blown concert was the fact that I was watching it on my couch at 3 in the morning.

This concert showed BTS’ present work mingling with their old by performing songs as new as Dynamite to the first song they ever released in 2013, No More Dream. They danced perfectly in-sync choreography for nearly every song and even added in dance breaks to a handful, without breaking a sweat. This really isn’t surprising considering they perform back-to-back often, but nevertheless, I was surprised.

RM, J-Hope, and SUGA give energetic performance of UGH!

Every member had stages curated to fit the style of their solo songs from their recent album Map of the Soul: 7, giving them the opportunity to show their personal charms. On top of solo and obvious group performances, they also split into two other units. Featuring the rappers jumping around in a boxing ring during UGH!, a song that is essentially getting angry at all of the unnecessary anger in the world. Tailing this came the vocalists of the group performing an angelic performance of Zero O’clock, a song to remind ourselves that every day is a new chance at happiness.

It wouldn’t be a true BTS concert without encouraging words and some tears.

Jungkook sings along with fans over a Zoom call. (Bighit Labels)

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, I was just not able to understand why I had to go through all that when all I wanted to do was to happily perform with the members, have fun with you, and share the happiness with you,” a statement made by Jimin before giving into a wave of tears. BTS’ leader, RM, is known for his comforting words, and his comforting words would end up causing many tears in those watching the show (me). His words were a perfect way to end the show, a perfect way to end this article, and are important to remember while we all face the hardships brought in 2020.

“It’s no one’s fault. It’s not your fault.  It’s not our fault. It’s not anyone’s fault. And we’re people, we’re humans, we’re just doing our best and doing what we can do.”