Concert review: BTS Love Yourself, Speak Yourself at Wembley Stadium

BTS at Wembley
Photo credit: Munhwa Ilbo

Wembley Stadium had been host to many musical acts over the years, including the 1988 Live Aid concert. 31 years later and the stands and pitch are filled with fans of sensational boy group BTS, who are quite literally conquering the world. So it is no surprise that both of their dates at Wembley sold out; even after the quick February announcement.

The tour was titled Love Yourself: Speak Yourself, which rounds off the Love Yourself era of albums. They promised their devoted fans, affectionately known as ARMY, an amazing show and they held fast to that promise, with fireworks and stunning costume sets designed by Dior. The show started with Dionysus, a song from their latest best selling album Map of the Soul: Persona; all seven members looked angelic in white, despite the sinful dance moves on stage. This was followed by introductions, initiated by the group’s primary English speaker RM, who was followed by introductions from Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They followed the introductions with performances of Not Today and Wings.

BTS at Wembley
Photo credit: Korea Herald

Fans were then treated to a video set focusing on J-Hope and Jungkook. This was the first set of solos from the group. J-Hope opened them up with his solo Just Dance. A smiling J-Hope took to the stage to show off his skills as a rapper and performer with the song. The next song was performed by their youngest member, Jungkook, who went on stage to perform Euphoria. He stunned fans by taking to the air and flying over the crowd, earning him the nickname ‘Hunky Mary Poppins’. All seven members returned to the stage for a performance of Best of Me.

The next video set focused on Jimin and RM. Jimin opens with Serendipity, showcasing his abilities as a singer and dancer; he appeared on stage in what can only be described as a bubble. Love was performed by RM, whose smooth voice on its own made for pleasant listening. In contrast to Jimin, who was in black and white, RM appeared in bright bold colours and jeans; fans were just as crazy for this adorable and intelligent leader as they were for the ever beautiful Jimin. After a costume change for Jimin and RM, all seven were back on stage in shades of pink to perform Boy with Luv, which featured Halsey. This was followed by Dope, Baepsae and Fire in quick succession. BTS rounded off with a concert remix of Idol which gave the concert a party atmosphere, with fans singing, dancing or both.

The next solo was Singularity and was performed by V.  As a song, Singularity is as visually pleasing to watch in person as it is to watch a performance of such a piece. Dressed in green, V showed his more soulful side, which his baritone voice is suited to. Singularity was not a song to sing to but allowed fan involvement with the gentle swaying of army bombs: the official lightstick. After a costume change, V was joined on stage by the rest of BTS for Fake Love, which fans sang to.

BTS at Wembley
Photo credit: @jesseesaw

The final solos were presented by the eldest members, Jin and Suga, with the final video set focusing solely on them. Suga opened with Seesaw, which showed a softer side to the seemingly intimidating rapper from Daegu. Jin finished the solos with Epiphany, beautifully played and sung by Jin; one of the few songs to cause Wembley to fall quiet as fans watched the performance. The group split into two sub-units formed by the vocal line and the rap line. Jin, Jimin, V and Jungkook formed the vocal line and performed Truth Untold, which contrasted with the high energy performance of Tear by the rap line formed of RM, Suga and J-Hope; it seemed as though the rappers dropped their softer sides for it.

To finish they appeared on stage in tour merchandise, with bouncy castles to perform Anpanman, which showed a little more of the off stage personalities. It went into So What and was followed by the final statements and a little Freddie Mercury magic from Jin. the final two songs were Make it Right and Mikrokosmos from Map of the Soul: Persona. Overall this was the best concert I have attended for both Western or Korean artists, with the atmosphere being better than both Ravi in November 2018 and Ateez in April this year.

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