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Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Review: Permission to Dance Onstage

Finally experienced my first BTS concert after officially becoming a fan (or to be more accurate ARMY) by watching their live concert called Permission to Dance Onstage, which was streamed last October 24th. I've seen their performances online, but it was my first time to experience a live concert of the sort with BTS. This is going to be a long review, so bear with me! I'll try to be as unbiased as I can be, but that is going to be hard!

I had purchased a ticket for the concert and their soundcheck (again, my first time to watch a soundcheck performance), so my niece and I were already waiting in front of the TV as early as 2PM, passing the time by watching BTS performances from YouTube. We were talking about songs we wanted to hear at the concert when we heard that we could enter the site for soundcheck already -- are were welcomed by nonstop ads that featured BTS. I didn't really mind since it featured the guys anyway, but it was a bit of a long wait before soundcheck happened.

Soundcheck was as expected -- just BTS performing three songs to check the sound for the concert, with all of them dressed casually and chatting in between songs. We had just heard that Taehyung/V would not be dancing due to a leg injury so my niece and I were watching and checking if he was OK. He seemed like he was, but we knew that it still meant he wouldn't be able to dance with everyone else. I know some non-fans would say I should be disappointed and that it meant that the concert wasn't worth it with one of them sidelined but I was more concerned about the guy being OK enough to be onstage with everyone more than anything else. 

A few hours later, the concert finally started. I had purchased a 4K video with a multiview option for the show but our ISP picked that day to have issues so I was so frustrated with the video quality the entire time. I couldn't even switch to multiview without having issues with the connection. 

Anyway, back to the concert: the opening video reminded me of their Mic Drop and Butter music videos, this time with the boys seemingly booked in prison until they managed to escape with that paper clip that drove a lot of fans crazy (you need to see it to get it).

The first performance was On, a strong song to start the show. With the boys in all-white outfits (and my niece screaming at the see-through outfit of Jungkook and Jimin's well-toned arms), they gave an energetic performance. Taehyung's presence was missed on the dance floor, but he performed well despite sitting at one side of the stage. I felt bad seeing the tattoo he usually had whenever they performed On and knowing that he would have wanted to be dancing along with everyone else.

I was surprised by the remixed version of Fire. It's one of my favorite songs from them performance-wise, and it was a refreshing change to hear it the way it was performed in the show. The dance moves I loved from the song were still there so I did not mind the remix. 

On was followed by another older song, Dope. After that performance, the group greeted their audience and it was at that point that as someone watching I could tell how empty the whole area was that they were performing in. I can't imagine how difficult it was for them to perform and have the energy level that they did knowing they were doing it in front of an empty stadium. They followed their greetings with another remixed song, DNA. 

After a video break (a video that was part of their teasers for the concert), the group came out to perform the song Blue & Grey. It was one of my favorite performances of the entire show. Seeing them facing what appeared to be their reflections in a mirror but were actually video screens was beautiful. I loved that they were performing wearing what appeared to be blue outfits while their video/mirror images were grey. To me, it represented how we can be and feel one way but appear differently to other people. It was a really good idea production-wise. I also loved that last part where they showed V onscreen as the song ended with the moon in the background. The fact that V was visibly affected by not being with everyone front and center made the whole thing even more moving. 



Blue & Grey was followed by an amazing performance of one of my favorite BTS songs, Black Swan, which was probably my favorite performance of the entire concert. I have always thought that choreography-wise this is one of the most memorable and amazing dances/performances that they have. Seeing the transition they did to the song where they all changed to black outfits blew me away. I could not take my eyes off this particular number. It's too bad that V was not a part of it because I could really feel his presence every time they performed this one so the fact that he was not dancing was very obvious to me. You could feel that a piece of the group was missing.

After another spiel from the group, BTS launched into a medley of old songs. Blood Sweat and Tears and Fake Love. As any fan would be aware, the choreography in these songs tends to be very "revealing" so my niece and I started screaming since Jungkook was already wearing a crop top and Jimin seemed to have only one button keeping his upper body from being naked (as the fans said, that button was the hardest working button in the world that night). They were great performances, and it was nice to hear their older songs again. 



Another video break (can I just say I did not get these videos? I need someone to explain them to me! Baby ARMY here!) and then BTS appeared on a giant moving bed, singing their pandemic song Life Goes On. They then transitioned to another remixed song, Boy with Love, before moving on to another spiel from the guys that introduced their next set of songs. 

BTS performed Dynamite and Butter, with yet another cool dance break in between (I am a big fan of these dance breaks, with J-Hope being front and center for them). Another video and spiel break later, they launched into a remix of old songs: Baepsae, Dis-ease, Telepathy, Stay and So What. As nice as it was to hear these songs, I think all the fans would have to admit that we would have been happy with a full version of Baepsae. But I think they knew what they were doing by just giving a tease of that one!

As the group started saying goodbye, they launched into a performance of the songs I Need you, Save Me, and Idol. A friend of mine who has never watched a concert in his life asked me if the show was over, but I assured him that as most artists do, there will be a bit of a break before the final set, which did happen. 

The final set was made up of Young Forever, Spring Day, and Permission to Dance. I have to admit hearing Young Forever and Spring Day made me feel sad because it made me wonder if I will be able to see them in concert live given this pandemic and the fact that people are talking about how they might all go into military service soon. It was good that they ended with Permission to Dance or I would have been depressed as the show ended! 

What are my main takeaways from the show? 

#1: It was worth the money (if only my ISP cooperated...good thing the signal was good during the replay). 

#2: It's amazing how they were able to perform at that level in an empty stadium. I felt a little heartbroken knowing that it must have been difficult for them! As great as they were performing during the concert (and I enjoyed it, I truly did), I felt that there was something missing — not just because V was not dancing along with everyone but also the fact that the energy level is just so different whenever they have an audience. The dynamic of a performer feeding off of the energy of the audience will always give a different level of performance and I could feel how much that missing link affected their show.

#3: Jungkook's crop top. Jimin's hardworking button. Suga in a skirt. Their stylist is a genius! 

#4: RM looking like a major hunk with that bod. And Jimin showing proof that he has been working out with those insane arms! 

#5: Taehyung/V is an amazing performer. Not even being relegated to a chair can stop him from giving fans a good performance! 

#6: Is it just me or does J-Hope seem to be getting more and more handsome these days? 

#7 Had an even better appreciation of Jin as a vocalist with this show because I felt that I could hear his vocals more in this one. 


People in LA who are going to see them live are so lucky. Given the pandemic situation in our country, I doubt if we can have a chance to see them here anytime soon. Having a taste of this concert experience makes me crave for more and I would love to have the opportunity to do so someday. Please include the Philippines in your tour guys, whenever that will be.


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