Live Review: BTS “Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour” – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney (26.05.17)

BTS returned to Sydney to finish up the third and final tour of their Wings trilogy, and Sydney’s ARMY were more than ready to welcome them back to Australian shores! Picture this: the massive Qudos Bank Arena bustling with fans, bursting with colour and packed with energy. One glimpse was enough to be able to tell that ARMY had been waiting for this day for a long, long time! Pre-concert, fans carefully held onto slogans which had been distributed in advance. The slogans said “spread your voice as far as you can” and were organised by BTS-Trans Projects and AUSARMYPROJECT, with one of the sponsors being your very own pals here at Hello Asia!

The stage was covered up by a huge curtain that had the words ‘The Wings Tour’ projected. Two screens on either side were playing BTS music videos and fans tirelessly waved their official lightsticks (the ‘ARMY bomb’) and sang along to each and every song as they waited for the boys to appear! After a short while, the lights in the arena dimmed and a music video began to play on both the screens as well as the gigantic curtain – ‘Spring Day’. Finally, the lights went out completely and the gentle glow of ARMY’s lightsticks gave the arena a beautiful, fantasy-like vibe. Cue the concert prologue video!

I want to point out here that the team at Hello Asia were seated on the upper right-hand side of the stage. The view allowed us a glimpse of what was happening behind the curtain. We saw the members of BTS walk on stage and get into position on their individual podiums- my view was limited to three BTS members, and while all three looked very professional and well-prepared, one member in particular gave me a really sweet first impression. He was practising his dance moves all by himself on his podium! Right until a moment before the curtain dropped, he was practising and practising and practising some more. It was really heart-warming to think about how much he must have wanted to put on a memorable performance for Sydney’s ARMY! I kept my eyes glued to this member, determined to find out who it was when the lights came on, and finally the curtain drops… the arena lights up… the fans scream, and it’s… Suga!

All of the members’ efforts definitely paid off because their performance of ‘Not Today’, which opened up the concert, raised the already explosive atmosphere up a notch. There were a good dozen or so backup dancers present on the stage, making the choreography look even more impressive with everyone’s fierce, confident facial expressions and synchronised movements! The end of the song lead us into BTS’ group introduction. (Note that all of the boys spoke solely in English throughout the entire concert!) Rap Monster welcomed fans before each member of the group took turns introducing themselves. Memorable moments include the teamwork between J-Hope and ARMY: “Sydney! Hi! I’m your… (fans: hope!) You’re my… (fans: hope!) I’m J… (fans: HOPE!)” as well as Jin happily acknowledging his recent burst of fame as the ‘good-looking third guy from the left’, claiming to be “world-wide handsome”.

BTS’ music gives its listeners a very intense, powerful, ready-to-take-on-the-world feeling, but this concert took everything to the next level with rock versions galore. I didn’t think that ‘Dope’ could get any better, but I was in for a surprise! The use of on-stage and off-stage lighting was impressive particularly in these rock performances. We’d have lights shining on BTS as they sang and rapped, though when it was time for fan-chants (e.g. shouting ‘Enemy, enemy, enemy! Energy, energy, energy!’) the lights would dim on BTS and shine brightly on the fans. Someone made a heart shape with his arms as the ending pose of ‘Dope’ – was that Jimin? Yellow card for being too cute!

The boys head backstage to change their outfits and in the meantime a video plays on the screen. The video shows all the boys walking into a white light… except for Jungkook! Solo time! He performs ‘Begin’ and his crazy vocal and dance skills once again lead me to the same conclusion I made back when BTS first debuted: rather than inhaling O (oxygen), Jungkook actually inhales Ms (my skills), the 119th element of the periodic table, and that is the reason why he is incredible at everything and my artistic talents are limited. (I’m joking.) (Sort of.) (*X-Files theme song plays*)

This is followed by Jimin and Suga’s fantastic solos, ‘Lost’ performed by the vocal line, ‘Save Me’ and ‘I Need You’. The latter two in particular were very cleverly organised; the final lines of ‘Save Me’, “I need your love before I fall, fall…” comfortably fit the first lines of ‘I Need You’, which are “fall, fall, fall.” The choreography is equally as well-aligned, allowing the songs to feel like a continuation or ‘part two’ as opposed to two entirely separate songs. Speaking of choreography, this concert definitely put into perspective how much BTS practise for each performance. The dances for almost all of their songs are incredibly physically draining, and the fact that the group still manage to maintain their synchronisation and stable vocals says a lot about their work ethic.

Rap Monster and V‘s solo stages gave fans a moment to breathe after all that cheering with some smooth, mellow vibes. And before we know it, along comes J-Hope! His solo stage ‘MAMA’ is filled with childhood photos projected on the big screen. He looks on top of the world as he sings and raps about being able to work and have his working mother rest, relax and rely on him. Jin’s solo performance of ‘Awake’ is accompanied with violins and cello. As expected from the legendary third-member-from-the-left, Jin is so handsome that I have a tendency to forget that he also has a fantastic voice – but he sure did a fine job reminding me during this song!

Further highlights included ‘Fire’, during which spurts of controlled fire shot up from the stage in time with the song, and back-to-back performances of some of my favourite BTS songs: ‘N.O’, ‘No More Dream’, ‘Boy In Luv’ and ‘Danger’! The members encouraged everyone to jump during ‘Run’, at the end of which a huge burst of gold confetti fell onto the fans. ’21st Century Girls’ was filled with fan-service from kissy faces to winks – you name it, we’ve got it!

The next talk segment had BTS explore their new favourite English slang – ‘legit!’ Everyone tried their best to say that the fans are ‘legit’ before Rap Monster offered a model example, yelling to ARMY, “You guys are LEGIT!” and introduced the last song. Wait, the last song?! Already? Nooo!! The members left the stage except for J-Hope, who performed a solo dance before everyone returned to sing ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’. And just like that, the last song was finished… but the concert can’t be over already! Encore, encore, encore! Fans began to hold up their slogans in preparation for the boys’ return…

Yes! We’ve got an encore! A video plays on the screens with the theme of youth, flying, and the members of BTS as seven boys with one heart; as Seven, but One. It’s an uplifting video about being positive during hard times, and it brings a smile to every ARMY’s face. BTS return to perform ‘Wings’ while running around the stage filming fans with small video cameras! (Ooh, do I smell a concert DVD in the making? Let’s keep our fingers crossed!) It’s at this moment that I belatedly notice how many fans brought cut-outs of the members pulling derpy faces. So funny! I hope they were caught on film!

It’s sadly time for the final talk. Rap Monster thanks fans for coming and for their slogan. He reads out the slogan’s text in Korean and translates it into English before thanking fans once again for taking the time to prepare it. V says he wants “this concert to last forever – you too??” to which Sydney ARMY cheered as loudly as they can! Jimin thanks the fans before holding the microphone far away from his face and yelling, much to everyone’s confusion. Rap Monster quickly clarifies that Jimin was “spreading his voice as loud as he can”, just like the fans’ slogans say! Awww!! Suga and Jungkook express their thanks and note how happy they are to be here. Jungkook says that although they live far away, “we are always together!” J-Hope says that ARMY are his wings and that BTS can fly because of them. And then comes Jin… “Haha, yes, yes! I’m world-wide handsome!” I think he’s just a little bit excited about the international response to his looks, don’t you? Haha! He shows off his heart-shaped wristband and tries to blow a kiss to the camera but he can’t figure out which one is filming him. He tries again only to fail once more. Don’t give up! You can do it, world-wide handsome!

Rap Monster talks about their win at the Billboard Music Awards before continuing to say that Australia is beautiful and if he couldn’t live in Korea, he’d live here! I’d been wondering up until that second why his English sounded so different to what it did in the past, and it was only when he mentioned his attempts to speak using an Australian accent that I realised why! Don’t worry, mate, it was a good effort! He finishes up with one last question for the fans: “Will my Aussie ARMYs walk together with BTS from now on?” Aw, Rapmon, did you even need to ask? YES!

The concert ends with ‘2! 3!’, ‘Spring Day’, and lots of confetti. Fans sing the final notes of ‘Spring Day’ as the members stand in a line, hold hands and bow. BTS and ARMY wave at each other for a good five minutes, and it was really nice to see BTS making such a big effort to wave to each and every one of their fans regardless of where they were standing or sitting. Jin finally succeeded at blowing a kiss to the camera, and it was V who blew the final kiss before they left the stage for the last time.

An epilogue video shows the making of the Wings tour and credits begin to roll as fans excitedly chat to each other about what an incredible night it was. That was without a doubt a concert to remember, and I’m sure that Sydney ARMY will be talking about it right up until BTS return again. Here’s to hoping that day comes soon!

Check out the full photo gallery of BTS in Sydney here.

Photos courtesy of BigHit Entertainment and IME except for photo 2 – Johnny Au