BTS’ “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour has come to an end with the grand finale in Seoul on Tuesday.
Starting from sunny California, the colossal stadium tour took the septet to ten cities across the US, Brazil, the UK, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia and finally to the band’s home ground of Korea from May to October.
BTS at Rose Bowl Stadium (Big Hit Entertainment)
With the latest concert series, BTS broke records at each of the venues, selling out tickets at breakneck pace. It only took 2 1/2 hours to sell out all shows in the US, while tickets for London’s Wembley Stadium sold out in 90 minutes. To accommodate such high demand, BTS later added additional dates to all its American, European and Brazilian visits, which also all sold out on the day they were listed.
Earlier this month, BTS performed in Saudi Arabia, becoming the first-ever foreign artists to hold stadium concerts there.
“Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” is an extension of the band’s critically acclaimed “Love Yourself” world tour spanning 12 countries, which began last year and ended in April.
The stadium tour was also a huge commercial success. The first 16 shows -- excluding Saudi Arabia and Korea -- grossed $99.26 million with 815,116 tickets sold, according to Billboard. Their double-header at Rose Bowl Stadium earned $16.6 million, making it the highest-grossing event at the famous venue outside Los Angeles, beating the likes of Taylor Swift and U2.
The stadium tour arrived at the culmination of the septet’s global breakout popularity, immediately following the band’s release of its latest chart-topping EP “Map of the Soul: Persona.” The 24-track performances included the band’s beloved hits like “Dope,” “Fire,” “Idol,” “Fake Love” and “Mic Drop,” as well as solo acts by the bandmate. Songs from the latest album, such as “Boy With Luv,” “Dionysus,” “Mikrokosmos” and “Make it Right,” were also part of the jam-packed set list.
Here are some highlights from each of the cities where BTS turned the stadium purple.
Rose Bowl Stadium, Los Angeles (May 4-5)
Total 120,000 in attendance.
BTS performs at Rose Bowl Stadium (Big Hit Entertainment)
With Rose Bowl Stadium, BTS kicked off its first-ever stadium tour in California in front of 60,000 fans for each of the two nights. The band wore special costumes designed by Kim Jones, Dior’s artistic director of menswear. It was the first time the French luxury house created men’s stage wear for a pop band.
“One of the dreams that we have dreamt of have come true. I will never forget this moment. This is the stage made by you Armys. Thank you for enjoying the performance together and creating a festival together. I hope you made happy memories through our performance and music.”
Soldier Field, Chicago (May 11-12)
Total 90,000 in attendance
BTS` concert in Soldier Field, Chicago (Big Hit Entertainment)
Despite the chilly, rainy weather, over 45,000 fans gathered at the Windy City’s biggest venue on each of two evenings. TXT, the rookie boy band also from Big Hit, was among those in attendance.
“Thank you for staying and cheering for us even though it was so cold. I think I’ll remember Chicago Army always. I love you guys and I’ll come back next time! Make sure to drink hot water and take a hot bath before you sleep. Good night Army!”
Met Life Stadium, New Jersey (May 18-19)
Total 110,000 in attendance
BTS performs at New Jersey`s Met Life Stadium (Big Hit Entertainment)
For the last stop in the US, BTS made sure to grace more TV screens and events ahead of hitting Met Life Stadium. BTS performed at New York City’s Central Park as part of the summer concert series on ”Good Morning America” to fans that had camped out for days to catch a glimpse of the band. They also appeared on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” where the group --dubbed 21st century Beatles -- performed “Boy With Luv,” with a twist that paid homage to the legendary English band.
“Dear America, thank you for embracing us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for accepting us. These seven boys from Korea who sing in Korean and who have different looks, speak different languages. You guys truly teach us that music transcends the language.
“Thanks to Army, we were able to perform at such a big stage and go on a stadium tour. We made this stage come true. You are our stars of the night, and a lighthouse that leads us. Thank you Armys for enjoying the stage with us. We love you!”
Allianz Parque, Sao Paulo (May 25-26)
Total 100,000 in attendance
BTS performs at Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo (Big Hit Entertainment)
After six sold-out shows in the US, BTS head south to Brazil. Fans camped outside of the concert venue five days prior to secure good spots for the concert.
“We are very happy to meet you Armys at a bigger stage in two years. We will never forget your passionate enthusiasm and cheer. All the Armys who enjoyed the stage with us together, thank you so much for a special memory. We love you!”
Wembley Stadium, London (June 1-2)
Total 120,000 in attendance
On the day of BTS` Wembley Stadium concert in London (Big Hit Entertainment)
BTS made history as the first K-pop band to hold a concert at Wembley Stadium, and further selling-out the tickets at the venue in just 90 minutes. Before the concert, BTS held press conference to over 100 reporters from all around the world, where the bandmates talked about the world tour and their activities. The entire concert was broadcast live on Naver’s V Live platform for the first time, with over 140,000 viewers globally watching the paid content. On the second day of the concert, fans gave a surprise event to the band by singing “Young Forever,” leading the group to break down in tears.
“You guys always had the greatest artists, historically, in the music industry -- the Beatles, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Adele. We don’t even have to make a list. So the UK was like the big, big wall to me. But tonight, we and you guys broke the wall.
“Dreams came true at this place that we’ve always have wanted to set foot. We were able to enjoy on the historic and dream stage Wembley with global fans. My heart is full and happy. Thanks to Armys for making all this glory possible. We will never forget this moment that we created together. Thanks to everyone around the world for watching and cheering our performance.
Stade de France, Paris, France (June 7-8)
Total 110,000 in attendance
Halsey made a suprise appearance at BTS` concert in Paris, performing "Boy With Luv" together (Big Hit Entertainment)
Wrapping up the European leg of the tour in France, Halsey made a surprise appearance on the first night, performing BTS’ “Boy With Luv” together on the stage.
“We were very happy to breathe with even more fans this year than the first European tour last year. We were very surprised by your passion and enthusiasm and we received present that we will never forget. Thank you to global Armys for making meaningful historic moment together.”
Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka, Japan (July 6-7)
Total 100,000 in attendance
BTS performs at Yanmar Stadium Nagai in Osaka, Japan (Big Hit Entertainment)
Following the release of BTS’ Japanese single “Lights/Boy With Luv” to record commercial success, the septet performed in Osaka. The Japanese version of “Boy With Luv” was performed for the first time at the concert.
“Hello Osaka! We are happy when we are together. BTS dreams as we look at Army. Because Army is a huge existence to us.”
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka, Japan (July 13-14)
Total 110,000 in attendance
BTS performs at Shizuoka Stadium Escopa in Japan (Big Hit Entertainment)
Completing the Japanese leg of concerts, BTS performed in Shizuoka for two days. The Shizuoka show was livestreamed across 277 theaters in Japan.
“Thanks to Armys who have supported us since the debut album to the latest single. Our best moment is time spent together with Army. I am so happy to have you enjoying our performances together. We will never forget this moment spent together.”
King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Oct. 11)
Total 30,000 in attendance
BTS performs in Saudi Arabia (Big Hit Entertainment)
Following BTS’ official extended break for a month, BTS resumed its activities with a concert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. BTS made history as the first-ever foreign artists to perform at the stadium in Saudi Arabia. The band modified its choreography for some songs out of respect for local Islam culture. During the concert, fans celebrated Jimin’s birthday together as well.
“We’d never thought we would perform here. Thanks to all the people, to all the Armys who made this possible. There is a beautiful full moon up in the sky. Remind of us, remind of tonight,
“We know that you always give us so much love and support even we live a thousand miles away. Tonight is the festival for Armys for sincerely waiting for us
“I missed this scream, this atmosphere. We’ve been very nervous, but also very happy to have finally met you in a long time. I’m your amal (‘hope’ in Arabic). Shukran (thank you)!”
Jamsil Olympic Stadium, Seoul, South Korea (Oct. 26, 27, 29)
Total 130,000 in attendance
BTS at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul (Big Hit Entertainment)
To mark the grand finale of the world tour, BTS returned home for three nights at the same stadium where the band kicked off the “Love Yourself” tour in August 2018. The “House of BTS” massive pop-up shop opened in the city prior to the concert, attracting many fans for a visit. The Seoul concert was broadcast live on the first night via V Live, while the show was also streamed across theaters in Korea, the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan on the second day.
For the finale, BTS prepared a display with 300 drones flying above the stadium and forming planet shapes and the BTS and Army symbol alongside the final song, “Mikrokosmos,” followed by massive fireworks.
“This ‘Love Yourself, Speak Yourself’ concept ends here, but the journey to search how to love ourselves will continue. So let’s hold hands and spend time together so we can love ourselves even more.”
“Where there is beginning there is an ending and where there is meeting, there is also a farewell. The final concert came to an end, but I think it is also another beginning.
“It is because of you that we are here today. I hope even one word or one line in our lyrics can help you to love yourselves. I am sad that the tour is coming to an end. I hope there is a better word than love. I love you very much.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)