April 2020’s BANG BANG CON, an event spanning two nights, allowed the BTS Army to enjoy past concerts streamed in their entirety online.
Stream: ‘MAP OF THE SOUL: 7’ – BTS
BTS are arguably the biggest band in the world right now, both with global commercial success and a fanbase (ARMY) spreading from South Korea, North America, and many other global regions. Their latest album Map of the Soul: 7 dropped in February and was both a tribute to the bond the seven members (Jin, V, Jungkook, Jimin, RM, SUGA, J-Hope) have with each other and their fans.
Because of this, it came as no surprise that after the cancellations of their planned upcoming tour due to COVID-19, that they had to put something else creative together. So, along came BANG BANG CON, an entire weekend where old BTS concerts would stream in full on YouTube and Weverse.
Airing in KST, over a million fans tuned in to the streams each night from a variety of different time zones. The first night of the concert replay lineup included 2015 BTS LIVE: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life On Stage, 2016 BTS LIVE [Most Beautiful Moment In Life On Stage: Epilogue], BTS 2014 LIVE TRILOGY: EPISODE II The Red Bullet (2014 Memories), and BTS 3rd MUSTER [ARMY.ZIP+].
Both new and old members of the ARMY, or even people who had yet to experience BTS prior, were able to have a free front row seat to the band’s live show evolution that would cost hundreds price-wise. The band’s most standout merch, the Army Bomb Light Sticks that are typically held in the crowd, were able to be linked to the Weverse app to mimic the light show from a living room or bedroom comfort.
One of the most standout moments from the first night of BANG BANG CON was “Tony Montana,” a rap song from BTS member Suga’s solo endeavor as Agust D in 2016. However, it was performed during a concert on the livestream as a collaboration between SUGA and Jimin and was absolutely worth the wait. Any performance of a song alluding to Scarface is meant to be mind-blowing.
The lineup for night two of the streaming weekend included 2017 BTS LIVE TRILOGY EPISODE III THE WINGS TOUR IN SEOUL, 2017 BTS LIVE TRILOGY EPISODE III THE WINGS TOUR THE FINAL (2017 Memories), BTS 4th MUSTER [HAPPY EVER AFTER], and BTS WORLD TOUR ‘LOVE YOURSELF’ SEOUL.
Several music videos and dance rehearsal videos were also streamed intermittently as transitions to keep viewers just as hyped as watching the actual concerts.
Watching the band grow over the span over numerous concerts and years, while also changing various hair dye colors, was a unique experience, especially without personally attending a BTS concert before.
They made use during the Wings tour in Seoul of riding themed boats through the crowd during “Interlude: Wings” and a few mechanical hot air balloons later on in the setlist. After an interlude of music videos and stretch techniques, the Wings Final Tour aired, opening with a video backdrop of the group’s BBMA acceptance speech and a literal Mic Drop track to a giant crowd. There was even a rap cypher medley with RM (an abbreviation for Rap Monster), Suga, and J-Hope, where each member dropped tough verses with ease.
Not once did the energy felt watching BANG BANG CON – for hours, by myself – ever die. During the more emotional solo songs, like Jungkook’s “BEGIN” or the orchestral “First Love,” the passion they put into their music is still evident even through a screen. It rubs off on you, especially as a source of joy in times like these. The only negative thing I felt about the weekend-long event was that it didn’t have a replay button.
However, the lack of a replay button was just further evidence of how much of a special experience this livestream event was. While fans could play individual videos of songs from the show they wanted to see, there was something brilliant in watching the seven members as one cohesive show. Even their stage outfits made myself wish I was dripping in glitter too.
There was something incredibly spectacular during BANG BANG CON about fun pop dancing, going hard to a rap song on the setlist, and even being moved by “Spring Day” the same time as over a million other people across the world. Plus, there’s an educational level in even learning a little Korean while watching.
The BTS boys operate on another level of energy and expand so much further beyond a typical K-Pop category label, with most songs incorporating levels of hip-hop influence.
Even for those who are new to BTS and missed this weekend’s livestream, it isn’t worth missing out on the band completely.
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