My dream came true: I went to a BTS concert

Diana Xu, Managing Editor

Section 108, row 17, seat 2. Section 108, row 17, seat 2. This repeated in my head as heartwarming, familiar music rang in my ears. People walked past me. It was all a blur. As I entered the arena, my heart soared. 

It all started 40 minutes before 4 p.m. on May 7. I opened my computer. My battery level read 7 percent. How could I have forgotten to charge my computer the day the BTS World Tour: Love Yourself concert tickets went on sale? 5 percent. In my state of panic, I quickly found an outlet, plugged in my computer, sat on the cold stone floor and waited for a FaceTime call. 

My sister called me. The next half hour was stressful, to say the least. BTS tickets were going on sale, and they were infamous for being impossible to get. Our fears turned into reality when the website crashed, and we ended up begging our mom to buy the tickets on a third party website. This was the first time I had even attempted to buy tickets to see the biggest boyband in the world. What if I couldn’t buy tickets in time?

In the end, my mom bought tickets for my sister and me, and the price totaled approximately $1300. Don’t get me wrong; that’s insane for the price of a concert ticket, but this was a normal price for a decent seat at a BTS concert. I was just happy to even have the chance to go to the concert, something I had never even dreamed about in the four years I had been a fan of BTS. 

My sister was actually the one who introduced me to BTS. In 2014, she showed me one of the band’s earliest music videos, “Danger.” At the time, I was already listening to K-pop, but I hadn’t heard of BTS because it was only a rookie group, a K-pop group that had recently debuted. The band’s unique music, which now consists of a mash-up of different genres such as rap, EDM and Latin American music was really what drew me to the group. Its music is so diverse that it accompanies me in any situation. Even after watching many other K-pop groups and listening to their music, I still come back to BTS. From how obsessed I may seem with BTS, you might think I’m crazy, but you’ll understand when you listen to one of its songs.

I couldn’t help but feel proud of being a part of this fandom.

I was so obsessed with the group that I even brought the conversation about the concert to summer program friends, who also shared the same love for BTS. At both of my summer programs, I easily found people who loved the members just like me. This was when I truly understood BTS’s influence in America, as the boys’ music had an enormous following around the country. Music really does transcend languages; a lot of the people who listen to BTS don’t even understand Korean.

It was two weeks before the concert, and my excitement started all over again. I would sit in class thinking of the concert and randomly start smiling. My friends would look over at me in confusion, but they would remember a little while later that the concert was coming up. A lot of them were jealous, and many were annoyed that I was mentioning it every day, but I couldn’t help it! I was so excited I couldn’t control myself. Even as the date approached, it didn’t feel real to me. I was asking my sister how we were going to meet up because she was in Berkeley, even half-joking about missing school to wait in line.

The day finally came: Sept. 12. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. that morning. It was a school day so I had to get up early to get ready for the concert because I wouldn’t have time to after school since my friend and I had decided to leave at 4 p.m.

The entire day, I couldn’t concentrate. Nothing seemed to be going in or out of my brain, and I was completely in a daze. At one point, I even gave up on my test. I had studied the night before, but I couldn’t remember anything. I tried to calm myself down, but it didn’t work. By the end of the school day, I was just glad it was over. I rushed home, touched up my makeup, packed up my binoculars, which I used to see the members more closely, tickets, chapstick and wallet into a purse and waited for my ride. 

We arrived smoothly and promptly to Oakland by taking BART, and on the way, we saw people going to the concert, wearing BTS shirts and holding BTS light sticks. After exiting the train, there were people selling merchandise everywhere. We walked toward the arena and, once again, were fascinated by the power of BTS.

I saw the line going into the Oracle Arena. It was one of diversity. I saw people of many different ages, ethnicities and races, and I couldn’t help but feel proud of being a part of this fandom. 

While waiting in line, something flying in the dreary sky caught my attention. A small, white plane was circling the premises of the arena. Behind it was a bright, red banner. I soon realized it was a banner wishing one of the BTS members, RM, happy birthday. My heart warmed in the cold. I was in disbelief that someone would spend so much to have a banner flown around for RM. This was the power of BTS.

The line going into the concert was underwhelming. I was expecting fans to be pushing and shoving one another around from the stories I’ve heard, but we surprisingly moved through the line smoothly and quickly. 

When we got into the arena, my friend and I wasted no time. We bought BTS’s lightstick, the army bomb, a plastic stick with a clear plastic ball on it that we would probably never use again, but we were still delighted. 

Although I knew BTS wouldn’t hear me over the thousands of other fans screaming, I still wanted to give the members as much support as I could because I believe they deserved it. 

My friend and I walked into the arena, and I was blown away by the sight of the stage. We were so close. I was finally going to see the faces of the people I watched online every day and listened to whenever I felt happy or depressed. 

BTS music videos played on the big screens that were on both sides of the stage. Even before the members appeared, it was already a dream come true to be standing in the arena itself, waiting for them. BTS fans, ARMYs, and their voices filled the arena as they sang along to the music. My spirits rose, and I felt euphoric. I was in my element. There was one thing I had no doubts about: my love for BTS and its music. 

I screamed and screamed. My throat was straining. I kept opening my mouth, but I couldn’t hear my voice. Although I knew BTS wouldn’t hear me over the thousands of other fans screaming, I still wanted to give the members as much support as I could because I believe they deserved it. 

The boys performed the songs from their new album as well as some of their top hits, one after the other. It was everything I could have imagined. With each song, I tried to go back and forth between blurting out the song lyrics and screaming at the top of my lungs, only taking a break when the videos introducing the upcoming songs played on the big screens. Each video had a different concept for the solo songs of each BTS member. After a video played, a member would perform their solo song. At each break, I shut down and heaved with exhaustion. It was as if someone had hit the off button on me; the reaction was immediate. Two minutes later, I would be hyped all over again. This continued through the duration of the entire concert, and by the very end, I couldn’t remember what had just happened.

The concert seemed like it vanished in the matter of seconds. But it was also as if it would never end. It was indescribable.

This concert was an experience I will never forget. I am grateful for being given the opportunity to be in the boys’ presence. BTS grows more and more popular every day. The band has made countless appearances in the U.S., most recently, having concerts across the nation, speaking at United Nations for UNICEF’s ‘Generation Unlimited’ Launch, performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and appearing on Good Morning America. I know my chances of seeing the members again are extremely low, but I am so happy I was able to go to their concert, and I truly appreciate life more now that one of my dreams have been achieved. It was a dream come true.

Months after the concert, I continued to see BTS in the U.S.. The band had made an appearance at the Grammys on Feb. 10 and was given the opportunity to present the Best R&B Album award. When I saw BTS on the red carpet, I thought to myself, maybe the next time they’re there, they’ll be receiving a Grammy instead of presenting one. If that happened, I wouldn’t be surprised. My love for BTS hasn’t changed at all. The band is expected to make a comeback on April 12 with a new album, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” and I can’t wait to listen to it. As for seeing BTS, maybe I’ll be able to go to one of their concerts in the future again. Regardless, BTS has made an undeniable difference in the music industry and has opened up windows of opportunity for the years to come.