South Korean K-pop group BTS kicked off their “Permission to Dance on Stage” shows in Seoul on Thursday, marking the septet’s first in-person concert in the country since their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” tour in 2019.
The Thursday concert, held at the Olympic Stadium, was the first of three concerts planned for South Korea this weekend. The Saturday show will reportedly be broadcasted in select movie theaters, while the final concert on Sunday will be livestreamed through Weverse.
The group performed 20 songs as part of their set, including hits “On,” “Burning Up (Fire),” “DNA,” “Dynamite,” Butter” and “Permission to Dance.”
Several COVID safety measures have been put in place, further limiting the availability of tickets. The stadium, which can fit more than 70,000 people, was only allowed to operate at a maximum capacity of 15,000. Concert attendees were also required to wear their masks at all times and discouraged from screaming, singing or cheering for their idols. Concert organizers also deployed more than 750 safety personnel to ensure health protocols were being observed at the event, checking temperatures and readying rapid antigen kits.
Despite all the rules, the group’s “Permission to Dance on Stage” concert remained the largest gathering of people the South Korean government had allowed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. BTS member V, whose real name is Kim Taehyung, purportedly became the most searched celebrity in the world during their concert on Thursday, beating out Tom Holland, Zendaya and Rihanna.
The septet previously held their very first in-person concert since the beginning of the pandemic at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles in November 2021.
After their South Korea concert, BTS will reportedly return to the United States to perform at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on April 8, 9, 15 and 16.