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With tears and sweat, BTS wraps up globe-trotting concert tour in home country

K-pop 22:48 October 29, 2019

By Park Boram

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- Tears and sweat wrapped up K-pop superband BTS' year-long world concert tour in the capital of their home country on Tuesday.

The famous home ARMY's fan chant consecutively naming the seven BTS members brought to a close BTS' "Love Yourself" world tour at the thundering Olympic Stadium in southern Seoul, 14 months after the same chant launched the band from here onto the forefront of the world music scene.

The finale edition of the three days of concerts officially capped the band's headline-grabbing world tour and its extension leg, "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself," which kicked off in Seoul in late August last year.

The year-long tour lifted BTS to the status of a true global pop icon whose Korean-language songs brought down the barriers of nationality and language, testifying to how pop music is consumed in the highly internet-connected contemporary world.

Under the concert series, BTS staged 42 shows in 26 cities in Asia, America, Europe and the Middle East, bringing together more than 2 million fans in total.

This image of BTS during the "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour finale concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium on Oct. 29, 2019, is provided by Big Hit Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Back from the career-zenith moment, BTS attributed Tuesday its global success to relentless love and support from home fans.

"Isn't it thanks to your trust and support that we were able to perform in many cities and stadiums, like the Rose Bowl (in California)?" BTS leader RM said shortly after the final "Love Yourself" show kicked off amid booming roars.

"With the wings you ARMY gave us, we will come to you this time," youngest member Jungkook said, referring to the famous name of the BTS fandom.

The Tuesday Seoul finale started off with BTS' latest hip hop song, "Dionysus," against the backdrop of a sea of colorful lights made by the light-emitting "ARMY Bomb" cheering sticks.

Jungkook dazzled some 44,000 fans at the concert as he, tied to a lift, rose up and flew over the audience while presenting his solo number "Euphoria."

This image of BTS' Jungkook during the "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour finale concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium on Oct. 29, 2019, is provided by Big Hit Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Roaring fans erupted in laughter as J-Hope and the band's youngest trio -- Jungkook, V and Jimin -- briefly demonstrated the witty "chicken wing" choreography from J-Hope's latest breakout solo, "Chicken Noodle Soup."

"Fake Love," whose umbrella album, "Love Yourself: Tear," won the band its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, brought the evening show to its highlight, defying Seoul's late October night chill.

Close to the show's three-hour run, "IDOL," another BTS' career-building megahit, again brought the audience to ecstasy, with fans crying out the song's lyrics in unison and their ear-splitting shouting shaking the open-air stadium.

This image of BTS during the "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour finale concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium on Oct. 29, 2019, is provided by Big Hit Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

As an encore, a medley of four songs was presented, including "Anpanman" and globally-loved R&B number, "Make It Right."

Fans together made a spectacle in response, making a wave of lights blanketing the audience.

The show's final close brought BTS members close to tears as they recalled the eventful concert journey.

"While I performed 'Epiphany,' I was saddened at thinking that this might be the last time I'd sing it," Jin said tearfully, referring to his solo number.

"Thinking that 'It's the end,' it was bitter sweet," he said.

RM couldn't hold back his tears as he went through his memories of the concert.

"Having finished the 'Love Yourself' journey, I still don't know for sure if I love myself if you ask me, but I feel like I can do it now," RM said in a shaky voice.

"I wish even one word or one line in our lyrics could help you love yourself in the future as well," RM said.

Streaks of tears also wetted Jungkook's cheeks as the band staged the last song, "Mikrokosmos."

Jimin promised to bitter fans that "we will hurry and come back with a new album soon. It will be really soon."

The finale show in Seoul brought a crowd of excited fans at home and from abroad to the stadium area since hours prior to the concert, making the concert venue a scene of a global festival early on.

Some fans distributed free photo cards of BTS members to fellow ARMY members while others enjoyed the waiting time taking photos of themselves against the backdrop of BTS images and special event zones set up by Big Hit Entertainment, the band's label.

Asa, a 23-year-old ARMY from Indonesia, was in the audience on Tuesday. She traveled in a group of 12 Indonesian fans for a one-week stay in Seoul, which covered the first and the third of the three-day Seoul finale concerts from Oct. 26-29.

"Korea is the best place to watch BTS concerts because it's their home. The performance will be the best at home," she said.

This image of BTS's Jin during the "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour finale concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium on Oct. 29, 2019, is provided by Big Hit Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The latest world tour set a series of records in the history of world pop, as well as K-pop.

BTS became the first ever Korean music act to hit such high-profile world concert venues as Citi Field in New York and Wembley Stadium in London. In the time period spanning shortly before the start of the tour and throughout, BTS topped the Billboard 200 three times, became the first music band since the Beatles to earn three Billboard 200 No. 1s in a span of less than two years.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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