BTS, arguably the top Kpop group in the world right now, held 2 shows this past weekend in Fort Worth Texas. I was lucky to get tickets to the Sunday night performance as both concerts sold out in minutes.
I travelled up to Fort Worth with friends on the Saturday and we headed straight to the large Korean/Japanese/Asian shopping and food area in Carrollton. After shopping, eating* and drinking we drove to our hotel to check in.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Fort Worth which overlooked the venue. Fortunately I got a room that gave me a perfect view of the line of waiting fans. (My friends weren’t as fortunate.) Saturday’s weather was a mess with heavy downpours which made me feel for everyone out in it. Many fans had umbrellas and plastic ponchos but quite a few looked unprepared for the rain, but obviously they weren’t going to risk losing their place in line to take shelter.
The City of Fort Worth tried really hard to prepare for the concert and the fans by closing off the street in front of the venue, putting out a lot of porta-potties, having police command center vehicles and increasing their bicycle patrols. On Sunday, with the sun shining, they even had a DJ in the park playing Kpop. The cleanup crew were amazing too and had a trash pick up crew pretty much constantly circling the venue.
We decided to be lazy on Sunday and didn’t do much more than check out the nearly Water Gardens and see if we wanted to wait in line for merchandize.
The line doubled back on itself a few times and we decided not to wait. However talking to people later the line apparently moved quite quickly, and after lunch we went back for my friends to buy light sticks and only had to wait in line a few minutes. (Some merch had sold out by then though.)
We had a good lunch at Little Red Wasp, before I settled done in the hotel bar to watch the lines to see when to enter the venue. With seated tickets we weren’t too concerned, and it ended up we only had a dozen or so people in line in front of us to get in. We found our seats easily with plenty of time to spare.
There was a little surprise for the fans in our area as Matthew McConaughey and his family sat down near us. I don’t think many people really noticed him until the venue staff made a big production of him being there, bringing him drinks and popcorn etc. He only stayed in the seats for about 3 songs before he headed down to the arena floor. He seemed to have a great time at the concert.
A few more minutes of waiting and the show began with a roar. Smoke and flames accompanied their arrival. Loud, thunderous, roaring, no words can really describe the decibel level of the crowd’s cheers and screams. Everyone was on their feet in a second and bopping along to the music in 2.
They started off with Idol, followed by Save Me and then I’m Fine. They performed in their trademark dynamic style, capturing the attention of everyone there. From their appearance, to their singing, choreography and ‘visuals’ everything was on point. They had large screens set up so we could see them close up and catch those fun and cheeky expressions as well as their sultry/ sexy looks that they have perfected for their fans. The screams got louder and louder as the fans of each individual member tried to outdo each other.
In between some songs they spoke to the fans, with some of it being in English and some in Korean, which was then translated into English for us non Korean speaking fans. All of them expressed their happiness and joy at being there and how much the love of their ‘army’ meant to them.
Along with their group songs there were also solo and sub unit performances. J-Hope was the first and wowed everyone with Trivia: Just Dance. He gave a tremendous performance, compelling everyone’s total and complete attention. There were also solos from Jin, V, Jimin, and Jungkook as well as a performance by all four of them singing The Truth Untold. The solos and sub-units showcased the individual talents of each member, and not a single one of them failed to impress. Their vocal range is really impressive for ‘pop’ singers of any nationality.
The rap sub-unit of Suga, RM, and J-Hope also got their chance to shine with a highly charged and powerful rendition of Outro: Tear. Their ability to keep the fan’s feelings and emotions wound up and tied to their own is one of their strongest draws. BTS sings and raps from the heart with lyrics that draw from both their own experiences and those of young people all over the world. They express the complexities of growing up in the modern world which resonates with many of their fans. When a new song is released it is very quickly translated into multiple languages. The music is also beautifully composed, which along with the lyrics, exemplifies the feelings and emotions so many people struggle with in their daily lives.
Unlike many groups in the past, the BTS fans feel personally connected and intertwined with the members of the group. The use of multiple forms of social media has allowed that interconnectivity to grow and now there seems to be almost a symbiotic relationship between the two. BTS has acknowledged their fans love and support on multiple occasions, and credit them with a greater part of their success. This two way emotional connection was obvious during the concert as it fed the excitement of the crowd, and the energetic and exuberant performances of BTS.
As the evening progressed there were some songs that just blew me away. Fire has always been one of my favorites and I didn’t think it could be any more explosive than it was in the MV, but boy was I wrong. They killed it. It was powerful, dynamic and ‘totally’ amazing. Sweat had been running fairly freely down their faces all evening, but they continued to put their all into each and every song.
I also have a soft spot for Dope and so was glad to see it was one of their choices, and of course Fake Love and Mic Drop were wonderful. But really if I’m honest every song was amazing and it is only personal feeling that have made me highlight one song more than another. The whole concert was flawless. The stage was set up with a walkway to an ‘island’ stage. Every part of the main stage, island stage and walkway were fully utilized making sure as many fans as possible got to see them up close. Large TV screens helped everyone to see them up close and were perfect for their little intermission ‘shows’. While there was a costume or set change they played what could also be described as ‘teaser’ videos. The boys posed, and acted cute, and sexy, and teased each other and they were ‘squishy’ and handsome, and completely adorable.
In many ways the evening was cathartic for most of the fans and nobody wanted the concert to end, but end it did. Long after fans left the building I could see groups of fans hanging around outside the venue chatting and reliving the experience. I know it took me a long time before I could even think about going to sleep.
Have a great day everyone.
Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation. All photo credits to original owners. All the good photos are from Kathy and Rick Silvers (the performance ones), the bad ones to me.
My thanks to BTS for coming to Texas, to my friends Kathy and Rick for driving, taking photos, and hanging out with me, to Spencer the barman at Hampton Inn & Suites, the City of Fort Worth and their Police department. Also to a sweet young lady from Infirespins.com who gave me a lovely pin for my jacket and the other fans who took a few moments to chat with me. It was definitely a weekend to remember.
*There are two areas for Asian goodies and entertainment in Carrollton, usually I go to the HMart side of the highway, however this time we visited the Daiso side. We ate at Rice Chicken, with dessert at Snowy Village and shopped at Daiso and Kinokuniya.