The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I was on my way back home when I received the notification that BTS announced a four-day tour at Las Vegas. I think I screamed so loudly that my mother got scared because she thought something bad happened to me or that we were about to crash. Oops! After taking this notification into account, I only had one week to prepare everything. I checked at least five times to make sure if I had followed the correct steps by adding my ARMY membership to Ticketmaster in order to receive the presale code. However, as much as I tried to prepare myself, nothing compares to the day the tickets went on sale. My best friend, Alanys, always told me the experience of buying BTS concert tickets felt like going to war. I believed her, considering that this was going to be her third time going to a BTS concert, but part of me didn’t fully grasp how true her words were. When the clock hit 8:00 pm, I was placed in a waiting room with more than 2,000 people in front of me. As traumatic as the whole experience seemed, the universe was on our side, and we succeeded (after experiencing what felt like insurmountable amounts of anxiety…but who cares? we still got our tickets).
The plane tickets were considerably expensive. The hotels were either too costly or they didn’t let us check in because we were not yet 21 years old. My stress levels were climbing through the walls. One random night, we found a round trip plane ticket that was way cheaper than the other ones, and almost a week after leaving for Las Vegas, Krystal (my other friend) found a hotel that was a 2-minute-walk away from the Allegiant Stadium, where the concert was going to take place. I didn’t have a moment to process that I was going to see the Bangtan boys in person because at one moment I was buying the tickets, and at another moment, I was packing. It felt so surreal. And yet, on April 5, we were leaving San Juan behind and heading to the city that never sleeps.
On our first day in Las Vegas, we decided to go out and explore the malls that were close by. As the other girls were getting ready, I was scrolling dismissively on Twitter when I saw a post selling three tickets for Day 1. I immediately reached out to her asking for prices and if we could call her to do the transaction at that exact moment. We had wanted to buy tickets for the first day, but it was very hard finding them at face value or at a reasonable price, especially if we wanted to buy seats together. I will keep saying the universe was on our side for this trip. It was probably the most impulsive and fastest decision we ever took as a group on that trip (perhaps a good second contender would be when we got out of the concert on Day 2 and decided to buy a Be album impulsively just to get a photocard…). And just like that, we had tickets to go to both concerts. Luckily, we were already going to the mall because we needed to buy new outfits.
BTS PERMISSION TO DANCE THE CITY – LAS VEGAS
There’s not a better way to say this, but BTS “took over” the city. There was a program of BTS-related events and activities in addition to the four-day concerts. There was a Live Play of the concerts in the MGM Grand Arena (which, may I add, was where the Grammys took place a week before), the Official Merch Booth, the BTS: Pop-Up: Permission To Dance exhibit, after parties to extend the excitement of the concert, a photo exhibition called Behind The Stage: Permission To Dance, a water show with BTS Music in the Fountains of Bellagio, a BTS Favorite Korean Dishes Tasting Menu in a local café and even BTS-themed rooms in select hotels.
We first went to Behind The Stage: Permission To Dance, where we received postcards of all the members and enjoyed the behind-the-scenes of the concert experience with up-close-and-personal pictures that gave us a glimpse into their creative process. The pop-up showcase was an immersive journey through the group’s history, music video highlights and iconic moments. We were able to take as many photos and videos as we wanted. The last event we had the opportunity to attend was the water show in the Bellagio. Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend the other events because we’re both months away from turning 21 years old, so we’re not considered “adults” in the USA. Although we mourned it at first, we had so much fun in the other activities that we were just grateful that BTS gave us the opportunity to experience all of this.
OFFICIAL MERCH LINE- APRIL 8TH 2:00 a.m.
For those who don’t know, BTS sells merchandise, such as shirts, hoodies, accessories, blankets, premium pictures, photocards and many more. If you don’t arrive early to the merch line, there’s a chance that when it’s your turn to purchase, there won’t be any of the items that you want left. My friends (veterans in this area) told me that we had to get up early and wait in line until they opened at 9:00 a.m. As far as first impressions go, this is one I will never ever forget. We decided to arrive at the merch line at 2:00 am. Yes, you read that right, and it wasn’t even early enough because when we got to the stadium, there were at least 30 people in front of us. I talked to the girls who were about ten people in front of us to ask at what hour they arrived (1 am) and the first people in line arrived at 11:00 pm. So, we sat down and waited seven hours to buy what we wanted…which ended up being quite the experience.
Because we had to stay there for hours, we had a lot of snacks that we had previously bought the night before (more like a couple hours before, to be precise). In those seven hours, a lot happened. I even called my mom at some point to tell her that if she received a call from the Las Vegas police department, that she shouldn’t be surprised because I was about to fight people in that line. First, the people in front of us (three boys and a mother-daughter duo) were making fun of a girl younger than me. And of course, I had to intervene. This is supposed to be a safe place, where people come to enjoy their favorite artists, not to get bullied in a merch line.
Second, when they opened the booth and the line started to move, about a hundred people cut in front of the line. It felt like I was in a movie. We started running and screaming, and the staff was trying to get us to calm down, but how could we remain calm when we stayed awake all night waiting in line for random people to just cut in line? It was unfair. Thankfully, the girl I spoke to early in the night recognized us and told us to cut in line with her. Taking into consideration the fact that there were a lot of people that cut the line in front of us, we started to rush towards the girl. But the moment we arrived next to her, a middle-aged woman started to curse at us and pushed Krystal and I, making us almost fall. When I tell you I had to breathe and keep walking/running, it’s because I was about to push her back. Not to mention the fact that later she was making racist comments because we were speaking in Spanish. Then, her mother, a very old lady, was struggling to even walk… So, after a couple insults here and there, a lot of screaming and running, we got the merch we wanted! This is certainly not something you see everyday.
Day 1 – April 8
Finally, the time arrived. We did our makeup routines, ate the most delicious hamburgers ever (maybe I was just really hungry), and did our hairstyles. After we took as many pictures of us as possible, we walked to the stadium. You could hear the screams everywhereーyet more proof that it was getting real. I felt excited and emotional. My first time watching BTS was going to be with my best friend, the person that got me into BTS a couple years ago. You know that feeling when you accomplish something? That’s how I felt. My heart felt so big and full of love. The concert was delayed for almost 40 minutes because, out of nowhere, one-half of the projection screen panels shut down (if you’re from Puerto Rico, a forty minute concert delay may be considered “early” for a lot of artists). That led everyone to feel even more excited and anxious, and you could actually feel the vibrations of the screams. The “countdown” went like this: The “Dynamite”, “Butter”, and “Permission to Dance” music videos, followed by the first VCR. And then, BTS appeared and started singing the intro song “ON”. I get shivers by just thinking about it.
If there’s one thing I can say from the first day is that seeing BTS live did not feel 100% real. I’m not sure if it was because we were farther to the stage than we were going to be the next day, but it felt like I was watching holograms or impostors who sang like BTS. It felt so surreal, while the smallest bit realistic. I just remember screaming throughout the whole concert, and asking aloud “Is this real? Omg, this is real” or “Are they real? They don’t feel real!” The concert has a set list, but it’s never confirmed if they’re going to change a song or two, so the moment we heard the first seconds of “Outro: Wings,” we started to jump, dance and sing (and scream very very loud). When “Baepsae” started after “Airplane Pt. 2,” I feared for my life because of how dizzy I felt from singing so loud. When we arrived at the hotel, we fell asleep so fast that none of us could even discuss what just happened.
Day 2 – April 9
On the second day, I had a sugar crash in the afternoon. Please, don’t tell my mother…Luckily, the food arrived quickly, and I had time to nap before the concert. When I woke up, the nerves I hadn’t felt the day before were there. Maybe it was because I knew that I was closer to the stage this time and that at one point, they were going to pass on a cart in front of me as they sang “Telepathy”. I was also alone because my friends were in another section opposite of me. But all the nerves I felt disappeared as soon as BTS came on stage. Watching them closer than ever before made me stop for a full 10 seconds and just stare with my mouth gaping open, thinking over and over again, “They’re real.” It took me two concerts for me to come to terms with myself and believe that this was actually happening. I know this whole article may seem silly for a lot of people, but having the opportunity to see the people that motivate me every single day, and being able to enjoy a moment with them means everything to me. Ironically, I did not cry, which surprised me a lot because I’m a crier when it comes to BTS. I think the most I did was tear up before the concert even started because I was really overwhelmed. Now that I’m thinking and writing about it, I think the reason I didn’t cry was because I was genuinely happy. I had never felt happier than at that moment.
When I heard the intro of “Telepathy” and saw them get into the carts to pass around the C100 seats, my heart was beating so fast. The first face I saw up close was Suga’s. You know how everyone talks about core memories? That moment right there was a core memory forming. I remember his little smile while the others were waving excitedly and singing. Watching all the members so close to me? Best experience ever! Highlights of this concert: I did not expect them to sing “Anpanman,” so as soon as I heard the melody, the little voice I had left was gone. I screamed so loud I ended up hoarse. And after that, they sang “Go Go.” It’s a miracle I survived that concert (I almost passed out in the last song. This is a reminder to drink water and breathe, both of which I somehow overlooked because of the overwhelming excitement and hype surrounding the event…).
And that was the summary of my experience seeing BTS for the first time. My favorite song they performed was, without doubt, “IDOL.” None of my videos of the song look okay because I was jumping and screaming so loudly that you can barely see them in the video. A small rundown of all the members: RM is…tall and so perfect. Jin is an angel. He’s as beautiful as I thought he was going to be. Suga is the cutest prince, and his smile will be forever hard-wired in my memory. J-Hope is breathtaking (I literally had to take a moment to breathe whenever I saw him). Jimin is adorable and sensual at the same time (a deadly combination, if you ask me). If you search on the internet what a hot person looks like, V is pretty much bound to be the only person you’ll see in the results. Jungkook’s onstage singing voice is not as similar as his talking voice, so when he spoke for the first time I was a tad confused, but when they put him on the big screen…Oh my god. Let’s just say that I had the best time of my life, and I wanted to stay there forever. I wish I could make those nights infinite.
BTS has worked hard to get where they are. You can see it in everything they do: in their songs and performances, in their fans’ enthusiasm; and, of course, in their concerts. They’re humble and caring. What those concerts accomplished made me admire and love them even more than I did before. I’m immensely proud of them, and I will continue to support them for as long as they let me. I’m already saving money for the next concert. Let’s meet again, BTS!