Concert review: South Korean boyband BTS give fans a blockbuster show

South Korean boyband BTS members (from left) Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, V, RM, Suga and J-Hope opening their sold-out National Stadium show on Jan 19, 2019. PHOTO: BIG HIT ENTERTAINMENT
South Korean boyband BTS (from top left, clockwise Jimin, Suga, Jin, RM, Jungkook, J-Hope, V) during the encore segment of their sold-out National Stadium show in Singapore. PHOTO: BIG HIT ENTERTAINMENT

SINGAPORE - South Korean boyband BTS - arguably the biggest boyband in the world at the moment - can do little wrong by their league of ardent fans right now.

No matter what one might think of BTS or their music, Saturday's (Jan 19) 2½-hour concert - their second in Singapore - was without a doubt a blockbuster one.

Between the backbreaking dance moves, heart-pumping tracks and an audience that engulfed the National Stadium with screams and chants, the band showed why they are managing to rake in billions of dollars for the South Korean economy.

Bubbles, confetti, synchronised lighting, a water canon spray and the generous use of pyrotechnics accented a beautifully designed main stage.

A second stage, linked by a runway, extended into the mosh pit, while a third stage, which went fairly close to the seated audience, was connected to the other two stages by a small moving platform, bringing the band members closer to the those seated farther behind.

The show opened with Idol (2018) to hype up the crowd, and the concert also boasted favourites like Save Me (2016), I Need U (2015) and DNA (2017).

The vocal performances had room for improvement - they faltered on some high notes and their vocals belied exhaustion or felt strained at times.

Their rapping however remained strong throughout, particularly on Tear (2018), when the three rappers - Suga, RM and J-Hope - performed together.

It was stylistically a standout, with hard-hitting raps and darkly emotional lyrics.

Another highlight of the night was Singularity performed by V.

His husky voice was perfect for the slow, languid song. He recreated the stunning choreography from the music video - where he slips one arm into the sleeve of a suit jacket hung on a rack and mimics a two-person dance with the other arm.

BTS - short for Bangtan Sonyeondan, or Bulletproof Boy Scouts - also knew exactly what to do to hype up fans. Jimin casually belted out a verse of his latest release during the talk segment near the end of the concert to deafening cheers from fans.

And during performances, the group threw water onto fans, much to their delight, and struck funny poses at the official cameras, which were then projected on a big screen.

Light sticks purchased by the audience also pulsated and changed colour according to the beat. Towards the end of the concert, the light sticks spelt out "Singapore" across a section in block letters.

Off-the-cuff moments - like Jimin jumping up with a sheepish smile after taking a fall during DNA (2017), Jungkook giving his microphone to fans to sing-along during Magic Shop (2018), and Jin and V dancing up a storm together during So What (2018) - all gave fans reasons to scream.

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