Concert Review: BTS Show Their Humanity With Their ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ Concert

On Oct. 10, BTS put on the first of two performances for their “Map of the Soul ON:E” online concert. With larger-than-life stages, the Korean band showcased songs from their 2020 album Map of the Soul: 7 and performed some classics from their discography. While the concert definitively proved BTS have been releasing quality hits for years, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook’s humanity was the heart of the show.

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BTS on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The group performed old and new songs

BTS opened the first “Map of the Soul ON:E” concert with “ON,” the lead single from Map of the Soul: 7. The song was all but ignored by U.S. radio, and since BTS’ Map of the Soul Tour is indefinitely postponed, the K-pop group went all out with their performance.

Complete with a marching band, large set pieces referencing the “ON” music video, and BTS’ ferocity, the septet gave the song the recognition it was robbed of. BTS then performed “N.O” from their 2013 album O!RUL8,2? and “We Are Bulletproof, Pt. 2” from their debut single album 2 Cool 4 Skool.

After a VCR, RM opened the next set with his solo song “Intro: Persona.” BTS then joined him on stage, and the group performed “Boy In Luv” from their 2014 EP Skool Luv Affair while wearing school uniforms. Keeping up the pattern of interspersing older songs with songs from the Map of the Soul album series, the band closed the set with a remix of “Dionysus,” a song they first released on their 2019 EP Map of the Soul: Persona.

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BTS performed solo and unit stages for the first ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ concert

Following another VCR, Suga opened the next set with his solo song “Interlude: Shadow,” which details the downsides of fame. The band chose to perform “Black Swan” next, an introspective single from Map of the Soul: 7.

In “Black Swan,” BTS express their fear of losing their passion for performing while striving to continue in spite of that fear. This felt even more poignant as the group performed the song during a concert that was forced to be online because of a global pandemic. In a surprise twist, Jimin performed a solo dance break to the orchestral version of the song, showing off his modern dance skills.

Next, BTS’ rap line, RM, Suga, and J-Hope, performed “UGH!” while wearing boxing attire. The group’s vocal line, Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, followed this with their unit song from Map of the Soul: 7, “00:00 (Zero O’Clock).”

After the unit stages, Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, V, and J-Hope performed their most recent solo songs, “My Time,” “Filter,” “Moon,” “Inner Child,” and “Outro: Ego,” respectively. For ARMY, this “Map of the Soul ON:E” concert marked the first time they ever got to see the solo and unit songs from Map of the Soul: 7 performed live.

BTS showed their love for ARMY during the concert

In the latter half of the first “Map of the Soul ON:E” concert, BTS performed “Boy With Luv,” “DNA,” “Dope,” “No More Dream,” “Butterfly,” “Run,” and “Dynamite.” After performing “Dynamite,” their new English-language single, the group began their ending ments. This is where the band members’ dedication really showed.

In their ments, the members referenced their disappointment with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some of them felt hopeless with the pandemic being out of their control while others expressed how frustrated they were with everything being uprooted.

During Jimin’s ment, he cried because he did not understand why the coronavirus had to happen at all, disrupting his and BTS’ plans for the year. The BTS singer told fans that while he was sad, he was also grateful to finally be able to share something with the other members and ARMY again after so long.

To close out the concert, BTS performed “We Are Bulletproof: the Eternal,” a song that reflects on their past struggles while affirming their love for each other and ARMY.

BTS’ humanity was the main takeaway from the ‘Map of the Soul ON:E’ concert

At times, the “Map of the Soul ON:E” concert on Oct. 10 felt larger than life. BTS performed songs with grand set pieces across multiple stages. There were impressive costume changes, new choreography, and bold special effects.

BTS finally got a chance to pay homage to Map of the Soul: 7 all while providing escapism for fans. However, the group’s ending ments reminded viewers that while BTS are entertainers doing their best to roll with the punches of this year, they are still human.

In 2020, BTS had an album debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, a song debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, won multiple awards, and they have a new album coming out on Nov. 20. By acknowledging how frustrated and hopeless they have felt in spite of their record-breaking year, they showed it is possible to be happy with what you have while still mourning what you lost. In a time of uncertainty when everyone has lost something, that reassuring sentiment cannot be understated.

“Map of the Soul ON:E” setlist (Day 1):

  • “ON”
  • “N.O”
  • “We Are Bulletproof, Pt.2”
  • “Intro: Persona”
  • “Boy In Luv”
  • “Dionysus”
  • “Interlude: Shadow”
  • “Black Swan”
  • “UGH!”
  • “00:00 (Zero O’Clock)”
  • “My Time”
  • “Filter”
  • “Moon”
  • “Inner Child”
  • “Outro: Ego”
  • “Boy With Luv”
  • “DNA”
  • “Dope”
  • “No More Dream”
  • “Butterfly”
  • “Run”
  • “Dynamite”
  • “We Are Bulletproof: the Eternal”