The real greatest showmen: singing in the rain with BTS

Rap Monster works the stage during

Jacqueline Sumida

Rap Monster works the stage during "Serendipity" at Soldier Field.

Jacqueline Sumida, Online Entertainment Editor

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I never thought I would be surrounded by more than 10,000 screaming girls at Soldier Field watching the world’s biggest boy band in the rain. But, here I was, doing exactly that. It was epic.

On May 12, Korean boy band BTS wrapped up their two-night stay at Soldier Field in Chicago on their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” tour. This tour sold out in minutes and the only reason my friend Fernanda and I got to go is because of people selling tickets on Twitter. After getting the tickets, all that was left to do was wait two months until we drove down I-55 into the city.

That afternoon we drove into the city, went to Nandos for some good chicken and walked down Michigan Ave to the venue. Everywhere we looked someone was wearing BTS merch and I mean everywhere. The ARMY had officially invaded Chicago.

After a brisk ten minute walk, we got to the venue with the other 10,000 people, about an hour before gates opened. We got merch and went into the longest line in the history of the world. Luckily, security started letting people in 20 minutes before gates were supposed to open so we got in quickly.

Our seats were in the 100 level so we were sheltered from the mild drizzle that appeared around 7. Even getting seated at 5:30 wasn’t an actual problem because BTS made sure we were entertained the entire time. On the stage, there are six giant LED screens.

The two larger screens on the edges of the stage played every single one of their music videos, everything from early songs like “Run” and “Save Me” to current hits “IDOL” and “FAKE LOVE.” People screamed every time their bias, slang for their favorite member, came on screen. The videos kept us company while we waited for the seven guys.

Around 7:30 the MIC DROP video came on and with it came an ecstatic light show from the stage. Soldier Field was decorated in red and white light while the Steve Aoki remixed song rang out through the venue. When the mic was dropped in the video, the stadium went dark.

On stage, however, marble pillars were revealed and two inflatable silver tigers appeared on the sides. Dancers entered on all sides in black and white suits while the bass went from five to eleven. Oh yeah, then the group showed up.

Jumping out of a trapdoor in the stage came RM, V, Jimin, Jin, Suga, J-Hope and Jungkook in all white suits and Britney Spears dancing microphones. They started off with an extremely energetic performance of “Dionysus,” flanked by their 20 to 30 backup dancers, ending with all seven on thrones while the audience roared around them. This blended straight into one of their biggest hits today, crowd favorite “Not Today.”

Watching BTS dance in their music videos is an experience, but watching them perfectly execute every turn and step in front of you is like watching a fireworks show.

After “Not Today,” the group takes turns doing intros to the screeches of every girl in the near vicinity. They say the usual concert stuff, that they’re so excited to be here and asking if we’re ready to get hyped before breaking into my favorite track, “Outro: Wings.” Needless to say, that made my entire experience worth it.

BTS separates their show into five acts, each has a video introduction associated with it that centers in on one or two of the members. The first two videos consist of the boys looking into the camera and smiling, playing with flowers and oranges, dancing in pastel clothes, taking Polaroids and walking around. They were centered around two pairings: J-Hope and Jungkook in the first with RM and Jimin in the second.

This playful feeling kept through the first half of the show, mostly made of the happier side of the group’s discography. A lot of this upbeat energy came from the choices for each member’s solo song. Along with their impressive group songs, each boy had a solo song during the concert that showed off each member’s versatility and skill.

J-Hope came out wild and energetic with a colorful rendition of “Trivia: Just Dance,” with the rapper running around the stage like he owned the entire thing. RM’s solo piece, “Trivia: Love,” ran along the same lines with the leader controlling the audience’s every move. Suga’s “Trivia: Seesaw” showed off the low range and less intense side from the most intimidating member of the group.

For the other four members of the group; however, killer vocal solos were the name of the game. Jungkook’s “Euphoria” and Jimin’s “Serendipity” gave the crowd ample reason to cheer, the range on both of them is out of this world. Jin’s “Epiphany” ran along those same tracks, making raising your voice a full octave look like an everyday event.

The most impressive solo, in my opinion, came with Taehyung, also known as V, and his magnetic version of “Singularity.” He pulled out The 1975 style people mover and walked up and down with the strongest amount of swagger, leaving every girl in the audience in stitches.

Before “Singularity,” a shift happened in the form of Taehyung’s VCR. He was all alone wandering around wearing black on an all-white stage. The tone itself gave way to his smoldering performance.

Suga and Jin’s VCR came with the exact theme in mind, the same black clothes on white background.

Throughout the performance, the group changed outfits multiple times. After the white suits, they changed into brighter colors and faded jeans for the act including hits like “Dope,” “Fire,” “IDOL” and the recent Halsey collaboration “Boy With Luv.”  The ending act came with all black street outfits including bomber jackets and Supreme headbands for the Steve Aoki remix of the megahit “MIC DROP.”

Their final outfit made me feel reminiscent of The Aces and HAIM when the band came out for their encore decked out in their own merchandise. And it wasn’t just the outfits that made this encore the best part of the show. It’s the fact they’re the sweetest band ever.

They spent ten minutes thanking the audience and reminding us that we were the best. My favorite part about that was that they’re not natural English speakers, but they prepared this just so they could let their fans understand their appreciation for the moment they were in. It was one of the cutest moments I’ve seen in a long while.

Throughout the last three songs of their set; “Anpanman,” “So What” and “Make It Right,” the group really showed their bond as a unit, messing around on stage in a flurry of hugs and love. While “Mikrokosmos,” their closing song, was a mess of crowd participation and endless crying.

The group then took ten minutes after the ending notes to run across the entire stage and thank every single one of their fans from a distance before disappearing back into the stage once again.

At the end of the show, I felt more fulfilled then sad about it ending. They put on one amazing show and I was lucky to witness the incredible talent of the biggest boy band in the world right now. It was breathtaking, to say the least.

BTS continues their world tour with a stop in East Rutherford, New Jersey before playing sold out shows in Wembley Stadium and the Stade de France later in the year. If you get the chance to see this group in concert, definitely do it. They’ll dance the night away with you.

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