music

Is it really the end of an era?

This past weekend, the long awaited BTS Map of the Soul ON:E online concerts happened! Originally, I had only bought a 4K ticket through the BTS ARMY Fanclub membership for the Saturday show, which for me started at 6am. However, as soon as that concert ended, I bought a ticket for the Sunday show as well, and that one started at 3am for me. It’s now Monday and I’m still super tired and trying to catch up on sleep, however, seeing both shows was 100% entirely worth the exhaustion I will be consumed with for the next few days.

Promotional image for Map of the Soul ON:E concerts, via BigHit Entertainment.

The set list for both shows were the same, save for the encore which was different. There were also some differences such as some outfit choices for the solo songs. Jungkook and Jimin seemed to do a color swap for their solos, with Jimin having a red suit on Saturday and then Jungkook had a red outfit for Sunday. Even if nothing was different, it would have been amazing regardless!

The set list for both days are as follows:

Opening VCRON, N.O, We Are Bulletproof Pt.2

VCR,  Intro: Persona (RM solo), Boy in Luv, MENT, Dionysus

VCR, Interlude: Shadow (SUGA solo), Black Swan, Jimin dance solo, UGH! (Rap line), 00:00 Zero o’Clock (Vocal line)

VCR, My Time (Jungkook solo), Filter (Jimin solo), Moon (Jin solo), Inner Child (V solo)

VCR, Outro: Ego (J-Hope solo), Boy With Luv, MENT, DNA, Dope, No More Dream
Encore Day 1: Butterfly, RUN, Dynamite, Ending MENT, We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal

Encore Day 2: Spring Day, IDOL, Dynamite, Ending MENT, We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal

Both shows were incredible. It was really nice being able to see them perform in this way again since it’s been a while, well almost a year, since they had a concert save for the performances they have done for promotions and “smaller concerts” like the Tiny Desk concert just as an example. With the concerts being online, they were able to achieve some really cool effects throughout the performances with the stage. The “elevator” set up they had for their Dope performance was really cool.

I think the first show was more emotional than the second. Jimin cried and seemed very emotional, I think mostly because he didn’t realize that he would actually see fans on the screen (there were fans that were “there” through their webcams on the screen that the members could see and hear which was really heart warming!), and I also think just the overall state of things at the moment with COVID-19, how things are so much different right now and a lot of people are struggling no matter where you are or what you’re doing. I think Jimin’s feelings could really be felt by a lot of people watching. For the second show, Jimin seemed better and more cheerful so that was nice to see! Also, finally hearing them sing We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal gave me all the feels. Even though it wasn’t in person, I’m glad I was still able to “see” them sing it live.

Each member did really well throughout all the songs. The solos were incredible. It’s hard to pick a favorite performance because I loved them all so much. Jungkook is my favorite member so I’m biased towards him and his performances, so I could say that his solo was my favorite. Really though, they were all amazing and worthy of being on my top tier favorites list. I think this may be one of my favorite concerts. I really love the setlist they had. The solos were wonderful, the group songs were amazing, both encores were definitely made with the fans in mind, and the VCRs!! They obviously filmed these months ago so I’m glad they were finally able to use them. The one before Shadow and then the vocal line one are probably my favorites. I also liked the one before Ego because J-Hope and Jungkook were together in it and it was just super cute. The mixes for a lot of the songs were also very good, and I really wish they would release the mixes or even a live album? Maybe this concert will somehow be available to purchase in the future so I can just have these mixes forever? Because they were all amazing!

One cool thing about these concerts? Syncing up the lightstick! I bought tour merch for the original tour a few months ago and got the Map of the Soul lightstick. Through the live streaming site, you were able to connect the lightstick via bluetooth so it was like you were really there! It was really nice! I love the lightstick and the colors from the concert were so pretty. It was the easiest thing to set up as well. It was easier than connecting my wireless earbuds if I’m being honest…

The ending screen for both concerts featuring the ARMY Bomb (BTS lightstick). Left is 10/10 and Right is 10/11. Photos taken by me.

With the conclusion of these concerts and the fact that BTS have a new album coming next month which means a new era is upon us… does this mean that the Map of the Soul era is truly over? From what RM said yesterday, it seems like this journey has, in fact, come to an end and we should be ready for the next journey to go on with them. It’s sad, because the Map of the Soul era didn’t have a proper tour, but these two shows were better than nothing at all. Maybe there is still hope for a proper MotS tour, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the tickets for that tour were converted into whatever tour they will hopefully be able to have for their new era. Time will tell. Let’s hold onto the words that the members said and hope we can all meet next year and have a proper concert safely together.