SEOUL: When K-pop sensation BTS announced that their first in-person concerts since the start of the pandemic would be in the United States, Kim Ji-eun immediately booked a flight and hotel, praying that COVID-19 rules would let her attend all four shows.
Permissive entry rules have prevailed so far in both South Korea and the United States, allowing Kim and other fully vaccinated, die-hard fans of BTS to see their idols in person for the first time since 2019, when they wrapped up their last tour from North America to Europe to Asia.
The seven-member group will hold four Permission to Dance on Stage concerts at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Nov 27 to 28 and Dec 1 to 2.
“It’s a historic event,” Kim said ahead of her departure from Seoul on Thursday. “I’m just so happy and excited to meet BTS and other fans, and share our energy and hearts hoping for an end to the pandemic.”
A 40-year-old mother and YouTube content creator, Kim said she and her friend had to engage in a “nightly click war” to secure their concert tickets.
Waiting for her flight at Incheon International Airport, Kim had a bag stocked with fan staples such as BTS branded glow sticks and snacks, as well as pandemic-era necessities such as her vaccination certificate and COVID-19 self-test kit.
Since their 2013 debut, BTS has spearheaded a global K-pop craze with catchy, upbeat music and dances, as well as lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering young people.
The band won the top prize of artist of the year at the American Music Awards for the first time on Sunday, and best pop song for their summer hit Butter, among other awards.