21st Century Boys: BTS Take on Chicago [Review]
BTS owned the stage at the Allstate Arena, where they performed in front of a full house on Wednesday night (March 29) as a part of the U.S. leg of their 2017 Wings Tour. The group, which consists of seven members – Rap Monster, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook – performed an impressive over two hour long set, mesmerizing the Chicago audience with a show that was nothing short of a musical and visual spectacle.
Before the group even stepped foot onstage, eager fans waited with anticipation, eyes glued to the large overhead screens which projected BTS’ music videos. Fans (affectionately referred to as A.R.M.Y. by the group) sang along to the videos, counting down the minutes until the start of the concert.
Promptly at 8 PM, the house lights dimmed, signaling the show’s start. The set started out with a booming rendition of the group’s power track “Not Today,” which instantly set the crowd ablaze. Right off the bat, fans chanted and sang along to the song, pouring out their hearts with every word.
After the first segment of their set, the members began their solo performances. Each of the solo acts exhibited the members’ impeccable talent in singing and dancing. However, it was the emotive performance of Rap Monster’s “Reflection” and the passion in Suga’s “First Love” which made their solo performances the most memorable.
Periodically throughout the show, the members also performed songs which featured the subgroups within BTS: the vocal line, which consists of Jimin, V, Jin, and Jungkook, crooned a soulful rendering of “Lost,” while the rapper line, which consists of Rap Monster, Suga, and J-Hope performed an excitement-filled “Cypher 4.”
While the group’s set list mainly highlighted the tracks featured on their latest album Wings, BTS didn’t forget to pay homage to songs from earlier in their career. The group performed a medley of older hits, including “Danger,” “Boy In Luv,” and “N.O.” They also paid tribute to their fans with their song “21st Century Girls,” a modern, feminist anthem – especially fitting for A.R.M.Y. which mainly consists of female fans.
Finally announcing the end of their concert, six of the members took their leave, leaving J-Hope standing alone at center stage to perform an abridged “Boy Meets Evil.” The members then regrouped to perform their hit, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.”
The show wasn’t quite over yet: following their leave, BTS was warmly welcomed back onto the stage for an encore. The loud roars of the crowd, along with a gradient spectrum of rainbow Bangtan Bombs that A.R.M.Y.s proudly held up in the air, greeted them as they walked back onstage.
With the concert coming to a close, Rap Monster shared his sentiment of his brief time in Chicago, telling the audience about the places he visited, such as The Art Institute and The Shedd Aquarium. To further express to his love for the city, he also shared that if he were to live anywhere outside of Korea, he would love to live in Chicago.
Jungkook added, “We are far, far away, but we will always be together” – a line that Rap Monster pointed out that Jungkook practiced “a million times.”
The group closed out their two hour set with their fan tribute “2! 3!” and “Spring Day.” The members spent their last moments on stage showing their thanks to the fans who have been there for them through everything.
While BTS’ impressive musical ability and stage presence stole the show, it would be hard to praise them without mentioning the stunning visuals that accompanied the group throughout their set. Cinematic clips from their videos, as well as symbolic imagery of flowers, butterflies, and wings, floated across the screen throughout the night as the members performed.
At a venue which has welcomed numerous renowned musical guests throughout the years, BTS truly held their own, showing the world that they’re no longer the underdogs.
And once again, BTS proved that they are every bit deserving of their global recognition.
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