Global superstars BTS’ virtual concert MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E kicked off on Saturday, October 10 (3:30 pm IST). It wasn't the usual showcase. The concert was magnum opus, the performances were immaculate, the production cost was eight times bigger than their June 2020 concert, BANG BANG CON – The Live, ARMYs were present virtually from around the world but the sentiments were still the same – to put up a memorable show with full enthusiasm that will be remembered for many years to come.
BTS members – RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook – have always been very grateful for the love they receive from the fans from across the globe. Earlier this year, the septet had to cancel their stadium world tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, they have released music and even hit No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 chart with their English single 'Dynamite'. But, powering through these tough times wasn't easy as admitted by them on the first concert day of MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E.
The ending statements began with J-Hope who reflected on what the stage concerts could have been but how they worked hard to achieve it virtually. "It’s just all good for me. I’m very happy these days. To be honest, I’m 80 percent very happy and 20 percent very frustrated," he said (via @doolsetbangtan). "This contactless, online concert was a big challenge and a great attempt for us as well. Feeling like the outcome of our wants to show you the good sides of us in this trying time, which was a big goal, was revealed today, I’m 80 percent very happy. I think the remaining 20 percent, as a singer who performs, is big frustration coming from not being able to meet your eyes and communicate with you. But also, as a performer, it’d be not right to not have this kind of frustration."
"I hope the COVID-19 situation is over soon and the days where we can show you us in person. This show was supposed to be a part of our stadium tour in April. It got delayed and delayed and became online. Given that it’s online, we thought through the things that we could show you better and prepared hard. MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E, we worked hard for it. If this made you smile just a bit, if this became a little happiness for you, I’m very satisfied. Also, today is not the only day. There's tomorrow as well. I promise we’ll show you even better, even cooler sides of us. ARMYs who watched us until this late time, and our fans around the world who watched us despite the time differences, I’d like to thank you. Thank you, ARMY," J-Hope concluded his speech thanking the fans for watching it around the world.
"And then seeing the members having so much fun while performing 'RUN' during our encore made me emotional. I’m sorry. I think I wasn’t able to fully concentrate from then, but I’m so happy that I became to see you like this. To be honest, while I’m sad that I didn’t get to fully show you what I prepared, I feel like you sent us hope and the good energy to us via the screen, and it all got delivered to us. Thank you so much. I’m not sure whether everything we prepared for you reached your hearts, but I hope so. To ARMYs who always cheer for us, even like this, and wait for us, thank you so much. Thank you so much," Jimin concluded his speech by bowing to the fans.
The group's leader started his speech in English to reach out to all the international fans. "We are literally strong, the ARMYs I know and the BTS you all know, we are all strong. We'll find the way. And if there's no way, Let's draw the map, the whole map again," he said.
Speaking in Korean further, his message was filled with a lot of hope and love for the fans. These are trying times and RM ensured to deliver a healing speech that encouraged everyone around the world. "Our first step forward began with the very small dream of seven youths who had gathered together," he said (via @doyoubangtan). "But people said that to be able to achieve our dreams, we would have to throw away many things he things we love, the things we trust, the things we want to protect. They said we would need to throw everything away to be able to obtain what we want. And their words weren’t totally wrong. The doors of the world were strongly fortified, the walls were high, and they did not readily allow us [to pass through]. But we did not stop, no! Because there isn’t just one path in the world, we met so many people like us and those of you here. n meeting them, we took a step forward that was at once small but also incredibly large."
He signed off by inspiring everyone with his words. "Our language is music and our map is our dream. We forever move forward as we sing different stories in different languages. We, BTS, are not seven; our stories would be the stories of you, me, and of us all," RM said.
The youngest member of the group Jungkook reflected on what it was like returning to the stage after so long and performing for ARMYs around the world. He said (via @doolsetbangtan), "First of all, I’m extremely thankful that I can perform while seeing your faces and hearing your voices like this online. I’m really a person who can live his life happy just by performing. More than 80 to 90 percent of the performance is something I can do because I see you and hear your cheering. So, today, performing while hearing the cheering sound, the first time in a long while, I was reminded of the memories we made together and was very, very happy. I had lots of fun performing I was thinking that I adapted to this new life pretty well, but then you sent me so much power. I think I’ll be able to stay more energetic and happier. I enjoyed today’s show so much."
Even during this ending statement, he ensured to encourage everyone to stay safe and wear masks. "You’re far away, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to meet each other, but please make sure to stay healthy and wear your masks. I hope your days are filled with happiness. Thank you so much and I love you," he concluded.
"But during the encore, I saw the ARMYs, and the ARMY Bombs, RJ dolls, slogans that we used to see all the time at concerts and shows. It reminded me of old memories and made me feel like that I’m with you. It made me very very happy. It also reminded me of what a sunbaenim (senior artist) at our company said before — "you can’t quit performing once you know the taste of performing, once you know fans’ love." I became to understand what that means even better today, and I can say that I had 50% of fun today. Until we regain 100% of it, BTS will always be with ARMYs," Jin said during his ending statement.
Suga wondered if it was possible to do a virtual concert on the same scale as the actual concert but he was happy to see the end results. "The plan was that we make our comeback with MAP OF THE SOUL, ON, in February, start preparing for the concerts right away, and begin the tour. But the situation was not cooperating," he told everyone (via @doolsetbangtan). "With the hope that it’d get better in May/June, we prepared a bit. But seeing that the shows are getting delayed and canceled, the seven of us, to be honest, had a rough time. We had planned to go on a tour and meet ARMYs, and it became impossible. We didn’t know what to do. Until October 10, I feel like we’ve been forgetting who we are and what we do. We did BANG BANG CON – The Live, but it was not a face-to-face concert. So I worried a lot, wondering if we’d be able to host an online concert with this setlist and satisfy both us and you. But today, with the cheering sound ambiance, it actually felt like I was performing. It was energizing. There were things that we had prepared but couldn’t show you 100 percent, and there were things that we could show you because it’s an online concert."
He signed off by saying, "I really hope that you who watched the concert today enjoyed it. I hope the situation gets better soon. I miss you. I really miss you. I pray that the situation gets better soon and the days where we can jump together at stadiums can come. Thank you, everyone."
[todaysbangtan] the 1st MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E concert that was made even happier bc we had a surprise meeting with ARMY who we missed! We are stronger bc BTS and ARMY are together ???? #MapOfSoul_Day1
— ᴮᴱbora⁷ (@modooborahae) October 10, 2020
V reflected on the difficulties of the last several months but also the opportunity to showcase what they had prepared for the tour. "I feel like we’ve been consistently saying that we feel frustrated and hopeless due to COVID-19 in the interviews. But we really do. It was so hard," V said (via @doolsetbangtan). "And even now, this concert was supposed to be where we with ARMYs, jump together, play together, and sing together. But for the seven of us to dance by ourselves, it didn’t feel energizing."
"To be honest, when we were doing 'ON' promotion, I thought COVID-19 would be over soon. So I lived with a hope that it’d be over soon, I’d be able to see ARMYs soon, and as time went by, the anxiety wondering when this would be overgrown gradually. So we prepared a lot of performances for 'DYNAMITE' for you, I didn’t have anything but 'I wish ARMYs see this' in my mind. Other than that, it was not fun at all. All I had in my mind was a wish that ARMYs who are having a hard time can feel energized as well," he added.
"The seven of us are here, with ARMYs — who are not here but here. I feel like you are actually here for us. Seeing you on the screen, hearing your voice, feeling your excitement I feel like ARMYs are here actually. I hope you are here, actually, next time. I think I love you so much. ARMYs, let’s make good memories. I love you," he concluded the speech that left everyone emotional.
The group has announced their next studio album titled 'BE (Deluxe Edition)' that contains the most 'BTS-esque' music yet. The latest story from BTS begins by declaring that 'even in the face of this new normality, our life goes on' and imparts a message of healing to fans and to the world."
'BE (Deluxe Edition)' will drop on Friday, November 20.
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