Leaving Reality and Stepping Into BTS World

The best weekend of my entire life.

Mei Dotzler, Editor

WE SAW BTS Y’ALL. WE FINALLY SAW BTS.

I don’t think anyone understands how long Krystal and I have been waiting for this. Being fans since 2019, we’ve been planning this hypothetical “What if we actually saw BTS in concert one day?” trip since freshman year, and now as seniors, it finally happened.

The BTS Girls. (Mei Dotzler)

We overcame a nightmarish heartbreak last year when the Map of the Soul Tour got canceled (which we had tickets for), and it genuinely wounded us. At that point, we didn’t know if we would ever see them. But gripping onto that shred of faith we still had, I will never forget the moment I looked at my phone while getting ready for work, with one pant leg on, and saw the notification “BTS: PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE IN LA 2021”. I immediately texted Krystal asking, “SHOULD WE GO”, only for her to respond a minute later saying, “WE HAVE TO GO MEI.” So it was decided. The next week we bought tickets to two shows and booked the AirBnb.

After a month of extreme preparation: outfits, nails, hair, two-week whitening strip treatments, we embarked on our 8-hour drive to Inglewood, California on Friday, the day before all our dreams were to come true. We spent the entire car ride repeatedly asking each other, “Is this actually happening?” and “Are we seriously seeing them in person tomorrow?”

Once we got to Hollywood, we met up with three of our other BTS friends, Sarah, Emma, and Cassidy, with whom we were sharing our AirBnb. That experience in itself, hanging out in our king-sized bed, eating In-N-Out on the floor, buying matching pajamas at Target, is something I will genuinely cherish forever. That might’ve been the best part of the entire trip.

Before we even got to the venue, something else I noticed was just how many Armys were in California. We literally saw a BTS shirt or clear bag with a BTS keychain hanging from it everywhere we went. And it wasn’t until we started talking to them and asking where they were from that I realized the magnitude of BTS’ influence. People from all over the country: Alabama, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, came to these shows. I can’t wrap my head around that. The instant camaraderie and feeling of community, that we were all there to celebrate the same thing, was something else.

Tae’s girlfriends and Jungkook’s girlfriend at front row. (Mei Dotzler)

OKAY THE TIME HAS COME. DAY 1. After spending two hours getting ready, with my blue mini dress and euphoria makeup, alongside Krystal’s lace ensemble and Sarah’s brown silk dress paired with sheer tights, we made our way to SoFi Stadium. Despite the absolute sh*t show it took us to get in, like almost getting trampled in a mob of people, at 7:30 pm on the dot, the show started.

When the lights went down and I heard the first notes of ‘ON’, I swear I’ve never screamed so loud in my life. THE ENERGYYYYYYYYYYYY OF THE ENTIRE SHOW WAS UNMATCHED. The long-awaited reunion between us and BTS created this profound excitement that radiated throughout the air. It felt kind of magical in a way. Honestly, I blacked out because I was having so much fun. But the happiness that coursed through my body for those two and a half hours is simply indescribable.

We tried to process everything we saw that night when we got home, but it was filled with nothing but broken sentences. “Did you see when…” “Oh my god, Jungkook is so….” “When they said….” Afterwards we had another sleepless night, preparing for an even bigger day when we woke up.

Sunday was Soundcheck, a private rehearsal only VIP got to attend, and front row. Oh yeah, did I mention we were VIP? I put on my outfit, an extravagant butterfly top, and knee-high boots, and we headed back to the stadium at 12 pm. We waited in line for a few hours until 4:30 when it was officially time to start walking down towards the floor. It took us literally 25 minutes to walk down almost 10 flights of ramps, to the point where Krystal and I had to take our heeled shoes off. It was kind of diabolical how much pain our feet were in but whatever.

Kings. (Mei Dotzler)

The only thing I remember from Soundcheck is seeing Tae, the love of my life, for the first time. The way he walked to the front of the stage with his hands in his black trench coat. I could not stop staring; my mouth hung open. I can still picture it too, seeing his face literally 10 feet away from me. I don’t think starstruck can begin to explain it.

I was already so overwhelmed. And then the actual show started and I was even more overwhelmed. Like we saw them…. 10 feet away. Is everyone comprehending that? Like it was 10 feet. Maybe 9 once I scouted up from jumping so much.¬†Everywhere I looked there was a different member. I’d look to the left and see someone then I’d look over here and see someone else. My eyes were moving at 100 mph. They’re so handsome in person, and seeing them dance too. It was so surreal. My jaw physically hurt from screaming “OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” every 3 seconds.

Right now, trying to type this, I’m at a loss. Trying to condense my feelings into a thousand words is just not enough and it never will be. It was so. Perfect.

They’d said they were scared that after two years, they didn’t know if people still liked them or if anyone would show up (which is obviously stupid). But seeing that sea of 50,000 dazzling ARMY bomb light sticks and hearing everyone sing the same lyrics proved that absolutely nothing changed in those two years apart. It’s like it didn’t even exist.

Lighting up the night sky with BTS’ signature purple color. (Mei Dotzler)

Looking back now after experiencing this weekend, it’s almost like the shows getting canceled in 2020 was a blessing in disguise. We wanted to see them so so so so bad for so long, and having to wait only made us appreciate it more. Not only were we longing for them, but BTS was also longing for us. I think it made it 10000x more special.

I’m getting a little emotional. I love them so much. And getting to see them with my best friend who loves them equally as much was something I will never forget. I feel so eternally grateful that we got to do this together and that we’ll do it 10 more times in the future.

My heart feels so full. So until next time…