A 90 minute spectacular...

Global superstars BTS celebrated their seventh anniversary as a band on Saturday, June 13th. With all concerts and face-to-face interactions on pause, the septet have still managed to make the lead-up to their anniversary as special as possible for themselves and ARMY by the continuing their tradition of BTS FESTA.

As a group known for their raw energy in a live setting, ‘BANG BANG CON The Live’, a 90-minute online live concert experience, was a much-anticipated gift for the fans who are no doubt missing seeing their favourite boys live.

There has been a lot of talk on the future of concerts and tours in the post-COVID era that the world will eventually step into, this special show from the biggest band in the world was therefore as enlightening as it was entertaining, giving us a look into what “live” shows could look like in the new normal.

Here are five things we learnt by watching BANG BANG CON The Live... 

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TIMEZONES ARE NON-EXISTENT IF YOU’RE PART OF THE BTS ARMY

The BTS fandom has always been fierce and extravagant in their support of and love for the band. Whether its streaming their music, selling out stadiums or trending their names all over social media, the ARMY never fail to show up where it counts - BANG BANG CON The Live was no different. The show began streaming at 6pm KST which was 10 am BST, 5 am ET and 2am PST.

But apparently time zones are only a construct to be shattered where ARMY are concerned, because they turned up and tuned into from all over the world with no care for what time it was. For BTS, ARMY puts even time on hold.

BTS THRIVE IN A LIVE SETTING WITH FANS SCREAMING THEIR NAMES

The super group have always been lauded for their live performances. Whether their powerful choreography, intricate stage setup or long track list, a BTS concert is an experience like no other. While it’s true that a large part of their electrifying energy comes from the band’s own stage presence, BANG BANG CON, proved how vital the fans are in making a BTS live show as famed and amazing as it is.

This was particularly clear in the introduction segment the band have always done; SUGA takes off his in-ear, holds his palm up to his ear and the stadium screams his name, j-hope starts every intro with his signature phrase "I’m your hope, you’re my hope, I’m J-HOPE" again hinging on fan reaction to get himself and everyone else excited.

It was evident how much the band missed this fan interaction – it’s simple, and taken for granted, but without ARMY chanting their names, a foundational part of their live set is missing.

BTS’ MUSIC WAS THE BEST BETWEEN 2014-16 (BUT BTS 2020 ISN’T SO BAD EITHER)

This might be the unpopular opinion of an OG fan, but BTS was catchy and rough around the edges in the best way possible in the pre-WINGS era. Before their superstardom with ‘IDOL’, ‘Boy With Luv’, and ‘Black Swan’ there was ‘Dope’ ‘Boyz With Fun’ and ‘Just One Day’ – and when the stream opened with these tracks I was transported to 2015 when I was just discovering K-pop and BTS, I whooped for joy and may have scared my mother.

It’s worth mentioning that their setlist was a good mix of old and new, giving everyone something to enjoy ; ‘Respect’ where RM and SUGA played off each other followed up by V and Jimin’s ‘Friends’ were definite highlights as was the second half of the show with high-energy offerings ‘Go go’ and ‘Anpanman’ before finishing with always-emotive ‘Spring Day’.

THE MULTI-VIEW DISPLAYS DIDN’T SERVE A PURPOSE

In the lead-up to the live stream, it was said that what made the show even more spectacular was that fans could watch the concert on six multi-view displays on the same screen allowing for a vivid concert experience. In theory, a good idea. In practice, it was just six screens of pretty much the same thing and a little distracting.

It was a cool addition, particularly in tracks such as ‘Like’ where they each had selfie sticks to provide different angles, the umbrella choreography of ‘Boy With Luv’ and the retro presentation of ‘Jamais Vu’ – all of which was made better by the varied angles. But It might have served a better purpose if it provided such starkly different angles of the stage rather the spot-the-difference display that it ended up being for most of the 90-minute duration.

BTS MISS ARMY JUST AS MUCH AS ARMY MISS THEM...

Possibly an obvious observation, but one that deserves a mention anyway. The septet clearly miss performing on stage but what they miss more is the grounding presence of their fans around them.

As RM calls to attention in their ending speech, the band made a fair share of errors in their usually perfect choreography – which they accepted in good humour and laughed off- also lacking energy in certain parts of the show. He explains that not being able to look his fans in the eye, not feel their presence made it harder for him to perform.

ARMY have waited for this livestream for a long time wanting to see BTS again, and it’s clear that the band themselves have been waiting to connect with their ARMY again. BTS and ARMY seem to miss each other equally.

Overall, the biggest lesson was: BANG BANG CON The Live was imperfect in a lot of ways but it undeniably brought a smile to the faces of everyone who tuned in - fans who have made the ticket purchase via Weverse will also be able to enjoy the stream on demand for an unlimited time period - and that’s more than enough!

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Words: Malvika Padin

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