BTS returns to the stage reuniting their ARMY of fans after a 2-year hiatus
It's been over two years since BTS and fans met face to face at a live concert. The group's very last show was in Seoul, South Korea during the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour on Oct. 29, 2019.
Announcing the dates with nearly a week's notice to fans back in September, BTS sold out their four day SoFi Stadium concert tour before tickets were released to the general public. BTS fans, also known as ARMY, flew to Los Angeles from all over the U.S. and even all over the world to finally reunite with their favorite idols. Tens of thousands of fans gathered each night on four different days at SoFi Stadium.
Not only was this a moment for ARMY to see their favorite artists, it was also a time to meet other fans they had connected with online. Julieta Salvo flew in from Seoul, South Korea. Originally from Argentina, Salvo has been living in South Korea for seven years and became part of ARMY last year during the pandemic.
"It's the first concert in two years. The first they held after I became ARMY and it was my first BTS concert," says Salvo, who attended all four concert nights. "I wanted to be here for their reunion with ARMY." She was able to meet fellow ARMY member Claudia Cornejo from Michigan in person after interacting with her online. Cornejo, originally from Mexico City, Mexico, has been to multiple BTS concerts in different U.S. cities and Canada.
"To me it is important to attend as many BTS concerts as I can afford," Cornejo says. "I invest a lot of my free time and money supporting them and their music. [It] might sound super cliché, but I found them at the worst moment in my life and they helped me overcome some mental issues and bring extreme joy to my life." Cornejo also enjoys finding clothes her favorite members wear and supporting different fashion brands.
Among the sea of people, you couldn't miss the fans that came dressed to the nines. Friends came matching with sparkly purple jackets, colorful wigs and BT21 headbands. Others custom designed their own outfits, while some wore specific, themed fits to showcase the different eras of BTS' musical journey. In addition to standing in line for merchandise, fans exchanged collectibles, gave away gift packs with candy, photo cards and jewelry, and watched dance groups perform.
Despite this being the first time in a long time that BTS and ARMY were together in a live setting full of singing, laughter and tears, BTS made it clear there is so much more to come.
Hannah Yoon is a documentary photographer based in Philadelphia. You can follow her on Instagram: @hanloveyoon. Emily Bogle produced this story.
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