Tens of thousands of BTS fans were gathering in Seoul on Thursday (Mar 10) for the K-pop superstars’ first live concert in South Korea since the pandemic began – although COVID-19 rules will prevent them from dancing or singing along.
The chart-topping septet’s series of three concerts, dubbed Permission To Dance On Stage – Seoul, kicks off at the capital’s Olympic Stadium Thursday evening.
Since BTS’ last performance for domestic fans in 2019, the band have gone from strength to strength, with three Billboard-topping singles and two Grammy nominations.
Hours before the show, concert-goers – many clad in purple sweatshirts, the official colour of BTS fandom – crowded the venue, and filled the streets outside with banners of the band.
“It feels like a dream and I still can’t believe that this is my seat whenever I look at my ticket,” said Heo Min-hee, a 25-year-old office worker from Seoul.
Han Aeng-hee, a 53-year-old fan from Gyeonggi province, added: “I prayed every morning to secure a ticket and miraculously, I got tickets to the first and last concerts.”
“I’m very grateful and I can’t wait,” she said.
Tickets for the concerts – 45,000 seats in all – sold out within minutes, despite stringent social-distancing requirements for the BTS fans, known as ARMY.
Chanting, singing, screaming or even standing up are all banned, as South Korea battles an Omicron spike, with more than 300,000 cases reported Thursday.
“Instead, we ask for warm applause to show support for the artists,” Big Hit Music, the group’s agency, said on its Weverse social media platform.