Friday night, BTS took the stage of Chicago’s Rosemont Theater by storm, the third of four stops in the North American leg of their Episode II: The Red Bullet Tour and I was there to witness it all, a dying zombie in a sea of euphoric ARMYs.
Arriving at the venue about an hour and a half before the doors opened, the line of ecstatic ARMYs waiting for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the beloved members of BTS encompassed nearly the theater. Amassing from far and wide, this jumping, squealing, dancing, laughing, hyped-up line of fans filled the Rosemont Theater to near capacity, their chants and cheers filling the room with an electric energy that caused my heart to pound and my palms to sweat. I was, after all, mere minutes from seeing BTS in person! (Eeep!)
When the house lights finally dimmed, the roar of the crowd rattled me to my very core, the excited energy around me taking my already ecstatic self to a whole new level of “OH HOLY CRAP! THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!” Opening the show with a video that slowly took the level of excitement in the room from “Ack! I’m actually here!” to “ASDFGHJKL!” The energy in the room was palpable, suffocating almost, as all those months of waiting for this exact moment finally came to an end and the seven members of BTS walked on-stage under the cover of darkness. The instant the stage lights went up, the energy in the room exploded and OH SWEET BABY MONKEYS, THERE WAS BTS! I’m not gonna lie, there was a moment when the reality of everything going on hit me so hard I completely forgot how to breathe. Or maybe it was Jimin’s smile that took my breath away… Probably it was both.
Kicking off the evening with a four-song set of awesomeness that included, “N.O,” “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2,” “We On” and “Hip Hop Lover,” I found myself on the verge of a heart-attack as BTS took all of two seconds to prove they are absolutely amazing in every way. I know somewhere in this set of songs, the boys took a second to introduce themselves but honestly, I was so preoccupied with other things (namely trying to keep myself upright), I don’t really remember what they said. Most likely it was something mind-blowing like, “WASSUP CHICAAAAAGGGOOOOOO!”
From there the boys slowed things down a bit with “Let Me Know” and “Rain” and let me just take a moment to say, hearing “Let Me Know” in person, pretty much made my life. “Blanket Kick” was next on the set list and seeing that level of adorable in person… Oh good grief! It’s a wonder anyone in that room survived! With Jungkook in the bed and the boys being so ridiculously cute you felt like your heart was going to explode from all the feels… It was almost too much for this poor zombie to handle! Oh who am I kidding? It wasn’t almost too much to handle, it was my death, plain and simple.
But the overwhelming rush of feels didn’t stop there. “Just One Day” was up next and the moment Jin pulled that flower out of nowhere, I swooned so hard I very nearly fell over. It’s a good thing there was another little break in-between “Just One Day” and “Look Here” because by that time I really needed a moment to collect myself. Not that it really did me any good… “Propose” made my heart flutter in all the best ways and then BTS disappeared into the darkness while we, the sobbing fans, were left to enjoy another video full of youthful angst and ridiculously gorgeous boys.
A quick costume change later, BTS was back with “No More Dream” and “Tomorrow” and I could have died in that moment the happiest of fangirls in the whole entire world. But I didn’t. Instead I joined the boys in a rousing sing-along version of “Miss Right” that kept everyone entertained. It was very apparent the boys found the sound of several thousands voices enthusiastically “huh-hum-humming” our way through lyrics we couldn’t quite get was quite hilarious and who could blame them? It was frickin’ hilarious!
Following up our little sing-along session with “I Like It,” and “If I Ruled The World” I had no idea my mind was about to be completely blown. But then the lights dimmed and J-Hope, Suga and Rap Monster took center stage while the others ran off and then “Killer” started and OH HOLY FLIP! Never, in all my wildest dreams, could I have imagined the level of mind-blowing awesome that was watching these three perform both “Cypher Pt. 3” and “Cypher Pt. 2: Triptych.”
And then we moved into the part of the concert that made my heart swell to a level of euphoric happiness I have experienced only a handful of times in my entire life. Wrapping things up with a four-song set that spelled instant death for this particular zombie, BTS moved from “War of Hormone” to “Danger” to “I Need U” to “Boy In Luv” and I kid you not, every single person in that audience sang every flipping word of those songs at the top of their lungs. (Myself included.) I wish I could describe to you how happy I was as the boys performed these last four songs but honestly, I have no words. All I can tell you is the smile I’d had on my face all night long got brighter with the start of each song and my heart was so full of happy it ached. As did my face. (Apparently my face isn’t used to smiling that much.)
When the stage lights dimmed and BTS disappeared into the darkness, the entire theater rumbled with the roar of a crowd that refused to say goodbye. Giving us exactly what we wanted (aka an encore to end all encores) was always a part of the plan but first we were treated to a heart-warming video full of thought, reflection and thanks from the boys which segued perfectly into “Road.” From there each member of the group took a moment to personally thank us, their fans, for such a great Chicago experience.
Wrapping up the evening with the most enthusiastic renditions of “DOPE,” “Fun Boys” and “Attack on Bangtan” I have ever seen in my life, BTS gave us the encore that will be long remembered by more than just myself. Completely caught up in the emotions of the moment, I sang and danced my heart out with those boys (as did the rest of the crowd) during those last three songs and I’m not even embarrassed to say, when they began walking off stage to a very emotional, farewell version of “I Need U,” there were tears in my eyes. (There may have also been a rather high-pitched squeal of fangirly-ness and a moment of swoon-y faintness when Jin stopped his trek off-stage long enough to sing his part of the song and break into spontaneous dancing but we won’t go into that…)
To say Friday night was amazing is such a gross understatement I’m almost embarrassed to write it. There just aren’t enough words in the world to describe what BTS’ concert was actually like, at least for a fangirl like me. Incredible… Amazing… Mind-blowing… Phenomenal… Emotional… Wonderful… A dream come true… They’re all true but they still don’t do the night justice.
I think what made the evening so amazing was watching the boys have just as much fun as the rest of us. There was so much energy poured into their performances, so much love given from both the audience and the boys, so much happiness to enjoy and fun to have, it was impossible to walk away from that theater without a smile on your face. I know I can’t say anything for certain, from the perspective of the boys or anyone else there, but I can say with absolute certainty that last night was one of the best of my life. I walked away from last night’s concert with a heart full of overwhelming joy and a head full of wonderful memories. I can only hope BTS walked away feeling the same way. I’d like to believe they did though I suppose only time will tell. I mean we were left with the promise of a TRB Episode III so maybe these boys will find their way back to Chicago someday… Yeah, I’m already squeeing over the possibility of seeing them again. What can I say? Once (or even twice) will NEVER be enough!