After snagging their first AMA nomination for tour of the year, the band have extreme gratitude: “I wish there was a better word than ‘I love you.'”
Days after BTS earned their first nomination for the tour of the year category at this year's forthcoming American Music Awards, the band was home in Seoul for the conclusion of their record-breaking love Love Yourself: Speak Yourself World Tour — fittingly titled "The Final."
As artists at the top of their industry, as well as perfectionist performers, there is always a pressure on BTS, but the expectations were arguably higher on Tuesday (October 29) for the group to end a bigger-than-ever note and make no question of their place in the live scene.
Hours before the first song, fans spent the day surrounding South Korea's massive Seoul Olympic Stadium's outside grounds, which resembled a BTS amusement park. Posters and murals of the guys were in prime selfie position, music videos played for concert attendees to chant along to, the "ARMY wall" allowed fans to write personal messages to the group, photo studios allowed (digital versions of) the members for fans to snap a pic with, and a booth was in place for fans to learn more about BTS and UNICEF's "Love Myself" campaign. All of this made for a full-day experience.
As they have throughout this tour, the K-pop icons opened their set with Map of the Soul: Persona standout "Dionysus," featuring the septet perched regally on a set of thrones in the middle of a stage setup inspired by ancient Greece. Undeniably a metaphor for their near-godly place in the pop scene, the guys plowed through high-energy performances of "Not Today" (bringing out an army of back-up dancers) and "Wings" (where they showcased their natural ability to freestyle and make a giant stage feel fun and intimate). Nothing was technically too different from their past Love Yourself: Speak Yourself concerts, but the blasts of glittery fireworks, pyrotechnics that literally warmed up the stadium, and new fashion looks from the members all set the stage for the show to be taken to another level.
From the visuals to the vocals, the members' individual performances all felt most notably upgraded from what they had previously shown.
BTS' rappers carried themselves on stage with a newfound energy (J-Hope's all-red suit-pant combo that embodied his infectious-yet-slick charm for "Tri: Just Dance," RM comforted the hyped crowd with the feel-good anthem "Tri: Love," while Suga glowed with sweet, superstar smiles at the camera as he rocked a cozy sweater). The vocalists seemed eager to top themselves from the past (Jimin's effortless vocals shined through a bubbly take on "Intro: Serendipity," while Jungkook delivered even more chill-inducing ad-libs while being hoisted around on zipline for "Euphoria").
Meanwhile, V and Jin boasted a reinvigorated sense of artistry — the former's performance of "Singularity" looked like a music video with overhead camera shots and V's moody-mysterious delivery, while Jin delivered a matured-yet-pained take on his "Epiphany" ballad that made the audience cheer anytime the screen showed a closeup of his profile.
But perhaps the most stirring part of "The Final" show came during the last moments, when the group addressed the audience one more time, culminating in a speech from RM. The members spoke about their feelings with the concert ("I used to think about the parts that I could have done better towards the end, but this time, I wasn't thinking about that," J-Hope shared), while expressing gratitude to those who came tonight ("Today, I just want to tell you how thankful I am," said V), and assuring them a new album and tour would come to "get back to you with new energy," as Jungkook put it.
When leader RM finally addressed the crowd, his usual wise and peaceful demeanor cracked with teary confessions as he recounted the journey throughout this tour. "After receiving great feedback for The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, I was worried if everyone would participate in this journey," he shared, referencing the group's breakout releases that landed them on the Billboard 200, before making a candid confession that he's truly embraced the message of BTS' Love Yourself albums. "Now, if someone asks me whether I love myself, I think I can say that I do."
RM continued, "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself ends here, but our journey to find ways to love ourselves will continue, so let's hold each other's hands and move forward. After this tour, I really hope that RM could be RM, BTS could be BTS, and you could be you under the name of ARMY. I hope that even one word, one lyric that I write can be used by you, for loving yourselves. I feel sad that [the] Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour is over. I wish there was a better word than 'I love you.' This [next] song ["Mikrokosmos"] is dedicated to you as appreciation for being our universe and our love."
The finale song elicited a light-show where more than 300 drones lit up the sky to create planet shapes, as well as the BTS and ARMY logos — a true BTS World — before the guys were carted around the stadium to wave to the fans in the upper sections and come together for one final bow together.
What BTS has accomplished with this tour, and in their career at large, is already award-worthy as underdog artists breaking into a music industry that still seems puzzled how to accept them. The grandeur, the fan engagement, the staging and the music already wowed more than two million attendees around the world, but the emotions that came packed inside the "The Final" concert of BTS' Speak Yourself: Love Yourself World Tour truly showed why the group deserves the title of tour of the year. This wasn't just a successful concert; it was a confirmation that the groups' developing artistry and growing emotional intelligence continue to lead them to continuously break through the industry and beyond.
Setlist: "Dionysus" "Not Today" "Wings" "Tri: Just Dance" "Euphoria" "Best of Me' "Intro: Serendipity" "Tri: Love" "Boy With Luv" "Dope/Silver Spoon/Fire/Run" "Singularity" "Fake Love' "Tri: Seesaw" "Epiphany" "The Truth Untold" "Tear" "Mic Drop" "Idol" "Anpanman" "So What" "Make It Right" "Mikrokosmos"