At last week’s American Music Awards, K-pop titans BTS were named Artist of the Year. This weekend, in front of 50,000 screaming fans at the Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, they prove why they deserved it. Over the course of a thrilling two-and-a-half hour show, the band’s seven members deliver a sublime succession of pop hits, combining meticulously choreographed dance routines with clearly unrehearsed moments of heartfelt sincerity. To paraphrase another famous army leader: they came, they sang, they conquered.
BTS’s dedicated fan following, known as the ARMY, have flown in from all over the world to witness their heroes’ long-awaited return. They have been very patient. Due to the pandemic, 760 long days have separated the last BTS show in front of an audience in Seoul on 29 October 2019 and their return in Los Angeles on Saturday, the first of their four shows at the football stadium. During a press conference held at the venue on Sunday afternoon, singer Jimin said the pressure of returning to the stage after so long had left him feeling “very scared and nervous” the previous night, and he vowed that for their second show he would “take it easy” and try to “enjoy the experience” a little more. Judging by the cheeky smile spread across his face by the conclusion, he more than succeeded. He’s not the only one: 50,006 faces grin deliriously back at him.