Hey! Hallie here!
Yesterday (and for a lot of us, this morning) was 2021’s Bang Bang Con. Bang Bang Con was created by the members of BTS to give ARMYs an alternative to a concert while the pandemic was preventing BTS from touring. As this is still the case, this Bang Bang Con was a collection of past footage from three concerts. It was also free, which gave more ARMYs the opportunity to watch the stream on BTS’s official Youtube channel. I almost skipped Bang Bang Con this year. It’s not that I don’t love BTS! Because I do! It’s more that the concert started at 11pm my time and, with three concerts, ended around 7am. I like my sleep. But a friend of mine convinced me to stay up and watch the concert with her. While we didn’t make it through the entire experience, which I’ll talk about later, we did have a really good time. I had only seen a version of the ‘Love Yourself: Speak Yourself’ tour and it was in Tokyo rather than Brazil. Otherwise, I hadn’t seen the other two concerts at all. And I absolutely loved them. All for different reasons. So let’s talk about how amazing these concerts were!
The First Concert:
The live stream opened with ‘BTS Live Trilogy EP 1: BTS Begins’. This was a 2015 concert that occurred in Seoul, which means the boys were pretty young and BTS was only just starting to get large amounts of popularity. Several members of BTS also acknowledged that their families were in the audience, making the entire experience more personal. This concert occurred during BTS’s “bad boy” phase, which means we got songs like “We are Bulletproof” parts 1 and 2, and even “War of Hormone”, a song we aren’t likely to see them perform on stage again. The concept of this concert fell under the “school delinquents” concept BTS used for a lot of their music at the time. A good example of this is the music video for “N.O.”, which works with the song lyrics to criticize the pressure put on young people to devote themselves to the school system. In the intermission sequences we saw a teacher tell off the members for running around, the members being dismissed to a torn down music room, and the members continuing to dance and mess around despite apparent orders to clean the room. What I loved about this concept was how it came full circle at the end of the concert. The concert started with the members sitting in a classroom wearing school jackets and backpacks. Throughout the concert the members had several costume changes, but for their final song they put the school jackets back on. After they said their goodbyes to the audience, the school set reappeared behind them, this time complete with students and a teacher who yelled at them for not cleaning up the music room. It was an excellent concert and it was interesting to see how far the boys have come. While they were all excellent live performers, as usual, all of them were more visibly exhausted than I’ve seen in most concerts and there were a few occasions where they were so quiet, you could hear the backing track more than them. Their charisma on stage, however, has always been unmatched. Though their individual personalities didn’t come out as much due to the strict “bad boy” image they were sticking to, their connection with the audience was incredible. This concert was a great way to start out the night.
The Second Concert:
This concert was the ‘BTS 5th Muster (Magic Shop)’ concert. I’ve watched quite a few BTS concert footage videos at this point. But this concert was my favorite I’ve ever seen. It’s probably my favorite concert concept I’ve ever experienced in general. The entire concept of “Magic Shop” is so much like a fairy tale that the concert transports you to a completely different world. The background of the beautiful green hills of Busan only helped the fairy tale image. The concert instantly stole my heart when the magic shop rose out of the ground, all of the members sitting inside the set to sing “2! 3!”. After a few songs the members proceeded to start an entire sketch. It wasn’t scripted or cringy. The members were allowed to ad-lib, as Jin did when the members sat down at a tea table and he made up the different teas he was pouring for each member. Yoongi sat at his office/DJ set and played portions of songs chosen by the members. Each member got to dance around to the song they picked and explain why it was important to the magic shop before they transitioned seamlessly into the next song. Through intermission videos we saw Jungkook enter the magic shop, a shop run by Jimin meant to help those who enter achieve their dreams and find comfort. Jimin offered Jungkook rooms occupied by the other members of BTS, who were supposed to help him but were instead being the goofballs they are. Namjoon accidentally broke everything in his room, Yoongi was fast asleep when Jungkook entered, and all J-Hope wanted to do was dance. Eventually Jimin successfully guided him to a room where his shoes from his old practice days were. He proceeded to wear these shoes in the performance that followed, which was a throwback to old performances such as the “We Are Bulletproof Pt 2” performance at their first Muster. They also did more recent songs like “DDaeng”, which all of the members rapped, including the vocal line. This concert was not only fun, it felt much more true to the members. Instead of sticking to a specific image, like the first concert did, the members spoke to the audience about their personal experiences and were dressed in costumes that fit their individual styles. You could feel their personalities shine through each song.
The Third Concert:
I’ll be honest, I had to look up footage of this concert earlier today because I fell asleep before it came on. Who can blame me? It was already four in the morning! This concert was the last of the ‘Speak Yourself’ tour, taking place in Brazil. The differences between this and the ‘Magic Shop’ concert were also major. Though their personalities were evident in both, this concert used their separate personalities as its concept. Each intermission video advertised which members would be performing their individual songs next. Then each member appeared separately to sing their own song on a set and in an outfit that matched the song’s theme. Jungkook came out in a flowing suit and flew above the arena to sing ‘Euphoria’. Taehyung started ‘Singularity’ in an overlarge bed and background dancers used props like masks to accentuate the song (Can we also talk about how good he looks every time he performs this song?). Jimin started out ‘Serendipity’ in a bubble full of gorgeous flowers and wore a sparkling black and white suit to dance in. Then, of course, we had moments where all of the members came together. They did so at the beginning to perform ‘Dionysus’, which is one of the most epic performances of any song you’ll find in a concert. They also came together to perform individual rap line and vocal line songs. This is where ‘Outro: Tear’ gave us Dior Hobi. For those who don’t know, the title refers to the gear J-Hope wears for ‘Outro: Tear’ and ‘Mic Drop’. The look is iconic. The end of this concert was especially emotional. It was the last concert of the tour and Jimin and Jungkook began to cry while thanking ARMY for their support. It doesn’t help that the concert ended with ‘Mikrokosmos’, one of the most emotional and nostalgic BTS songs. I nearly cried several times as it ended.
These were the concerts shown at this year’s ‘Bang Bang Con’! While I hope that next year the boys will be able to tour, I also hope that this continues even with fans being able to attend concerts. It’s an excellent way to give ARMYs who can’t afford concert experiences something to enjoy. I’m really glad I stayed up to watch (most of) the event. I had a lot of fun spending time with my ARMY friends and I’m not sure I would have been able to watch the 5th Muster if not for Bang Bang Con. I’m so incredibly grateful for the experiences and content BTS has given ARMY over quarantine. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!
One thought on “K-Pop and K-Dramas: Bang Bang Con 2021”
I think the concert in Brazil was my favorite. Although we did get to watch the whole thing, we sat in front of the TV for 8 hours. Whew!
And the next day we didn’t get to have any screen time. (Yes, my sister is nearly nine and I am four years older than her.)
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