BTS Army explores Vegas ahead of Permission to Dance On Stage debut

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It looks like the BTS army fatigues are brightly colored, headbands topped with plush cartoon animals, and broad smiles. Their fight song is “Butter”, “Dynamite” or any other Billboard hit by the globally popular K-Pop group.

Thousands of fans – the “soldiers” of the army – have flocked to Las Vegas over the weekend as BTS prepare for their first concert at Allegiant Stadium on Friday night. Their excited energy and vibrant style can be easily spotted near the fountains at the Bellagio – where BTS hits will be playing during a special water show taking place over the next two weeks – Area 15, near the stadium grounds and more. Again. Viewers came in groups of close friends, mother-daughter duos, co-workers and friends made online, and all were ready to immerse themselves in the fandom.

BTS sold out four shows — Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16 — at Allegiant Stadium through fan club presales only. Although the shows are sold out, tickets for this week could still be purchased on the secondary market, and they might not cost as much as you think.

Simultaneous viewing events of “Permission to Dance On Stage – Las Vegas” are also scheduled at the MGM Grand Garden.

Now in Vegas, fans are excited to explore the city’s makeover for them. Some restaurants are promoting specialty items, marquees along the Strip have turned purple, a favorite BTS color, and a pop-up event near Area 15 takes fans through sets inspired by BTS music videos . Outside Allegiant Stadium, fans lined up to buy T-shirts and other BTS merchandise.

Portland resident Charmaine Marl, 27, arrived Thursday night with her husband and two friends for the Friday night concert. They’re having an all-nighter, they said, to catch the after-show at Aria’s JEWEL Nightclub before catching a flight to Oregon.

The group attributed the group’s widespread success to the personalities of the members.

“They’re also honest and humble about their success, and I feel like few entertainers are like that these days,” said Marl, wedding photographer.

It’s a recurring theme in the military. Amanda Pace, 31, and Rim Al-Iali, 28, have tickets to all four shows and said their excitement comes from the connection BTS makes with their fans — and the connection fans make with each other.

“There is a real difference with BTS,” said Pace, a flight attendant from Swartz Creek, Michigan. “You may be fans of artists, but with BTS, they make a focused effort to return that love and make sure we feel as appreciated as they do. I’ve never really felt that with any other artist before.

Fans have even pushed back against the idea that the K-pop group is aimed at teenagers, popular due to their looks.

Diana Carreon, 32, from Chicago, said many fans wanted to know more about the band’s music-making process, how they write their songs and what their inspirations are. Carreon, who will be attending all four shows and staying in Las Vegas for more than a week, pointed out that many fans have unusual buying power for teenagers.

“The reality is that most of these people stay in the most expensive hotels – do you think a teenager can afford that?” she says. “These are mature people who can afford it and that tells you it’s not just teenagers. We do not sell small rooms. It’s stadiums. It’s the scale.

The shows and surrounding activities are a price to pay, Eli Valle said. The 25-year-old from Salt Lake City estimated she’s spent more than $2,000 on her trips so far, hundreds of them on merchandise. She became a fan watching videos online during the COVID-19 shutdowns, but was familiar with them beforehand through her work in the entertainment industry.

“I literally had them a few feet away from me in 2017 when I was working for an event in Los Angeles,” Valle said. “I didn’t know who they were. Now I’ve paid thousands of dollars to see them.

McKenna Ross is a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. Contact her at [email protected] To follow@mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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