BTS, facing an uncertain future, reunites for its last scheduled concert

BTS, facing an uncertain future, reunites for its last scheduled concert

BUSAN, South Korea — “BTS is back on stage! What more could I wish for? said Kim Ji-yeon, 23, who came to watch the K-pop supergroup’s concert in her hometown of Busan. For a year, the dean of the college has been studying day and night for the civil service competition, even on weekends. “I had to skip my studies,” she said, “because tonight might be the last chance for me to see BTS perform live.”

On Saturday, the septet reunited for their first gig since the surprise announcement in June that its members were taking a break to focus on their solo careers, which sent shockwaves through the group’s global fan base. .

As K-pop giant BTS takes a break, his fandom plummets

“We were all crying when we announced that our activities as a group would stop and solo chases were to follow,” singer V told onlookers. “And yet, we are once again giving a concert as a group.”

His remarks were met with collective “ahhs” and “ohhs” from dispirited fans, and his bandmates quickly chimed in, saying they weren’t “stopping” but just taking a not much time.

The announcement in June came as the deadline approached to decide whether the group would be granted an exemption from the country’s compulsory military service. The oldest member of the group, Jin, faces conscription after turning 30 in December. “As of now, this is our last scheduled concert,” Jin said in a heartfelt voice.

The concert, held for free to support South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan, drew more than 50,000 fans. Tens of thousands more fans, even without tickets, gathered in different parts of Busan to watch the concerts live on big screens and snap photos of the city’s landmarks lit up in purple, the color of BTS.

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Authorities said the weekend’s events are expected to draw some 100,000 domestic and international visitors to the southern port city.

As time is running out for BTS to enlist, Busan officials fear losing support for their bid to expose the world’s biggest boy band. The Mayor of Busan even asked the central government to exempt BTS from compulsory military service so that the cultural juggernaut can continue to be the face of the bid.

Kim, a student in Busan, said she was not interested in applying for the exhibition initially, as she wanted her city to focus on long-term issues such as youth unemployment rather than unemployment. one-time event. Now, she says, “I’m just glad the show brought my favorite band to my town.”

The “ecstatic” cries of BTS enthusiasts interrupted what could have been a restful weekend for Yoon Jung-sil, 73, who lives in an apartment right next to Busan Asiad’s main stadium. She said the concert was an “administrative lawsuit” for her city, citing traffic jams and price hikes in the hospitality industry. To prevent the mega-event from degenerating into a logistical nightmare, authorities in Busan flew drones to monitor traffic and dispatched inspection teams to overpriced hotels.

“I haven’t seen so many foreigners in my neighborhood,” Yoon said. “Is this what the exhibition will look like in Busan?”

While some locals worried the chants and cheers from the open-air stadium were too loud, lines of fans camping at the entrance to the venue were hoping for exactly that, listening to the concert from outside. “Just hearing their voices from afar means a lot to me,” said Janie Aquino, one of the disappointed fans who lost the ‘click war’ for tickets but made it to the venue anyway. – from the Philippines in his case.

Bujhoy Aguila, 40, who flew from Manila with Aquino, said the group’s uplifting songs helped them through the gloom of the pandemic. “BTS, they let me live my second youth,” she said, holding back tears.

As the superstars entertained the crowd with their catchy tunes, moving lyrics and intricately coordinated dance moves, fireworks erupted into the night sky above the stadium.

“Some say BTS is too old now,” said Suga, the group’s rapper. The 29-year-old said his nearly decade-long career since the band’s 2013 debut “erupted before my eyes” as he browsed through the concert repertoire. “Let’s grow old together,” he told cheering fans.

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