Passions and Obsessions

Until then, borahae!

Last night in LA: They remain relatable, real despite success. That’s the BTS magic

Being in the stadium earlier allowed us to enjoy the ARMY party even more.

December 2, 2021 is a day I will never forget. On this day, I got the chance to relive a dream that to this day I can’t believe has come true. I got the chance to watch the Permission to Dance On Stage concert LIVE, not once but twice!!

I am what you call a “Baby ARMY.” I haven’t been a die-hard fan for too long. I only discovered BTS in 2019, and became an ARMY in 2020. The pandemic, though tragic and isolating to say the least, gave me the time to slow down and get to know seven boys from Korea who eventually changed me.

When my friends heard that I was watching the same concert twice, they thought it was ridiculous, but they were not really surprised as they know how intense I can get with my passions. As my BTS mentor and partner in the law firm, May-ann Lozada-Marquez, told me, I should watch the concert as many times as I can because I need to take advantage of every chance to see the boys live. And boy, was she right! Luckily, with the excellent ticket purchasing skills of Diane Garcia (who also got me the tickets for opening night), and the prompting of Grace Custodio for me to YOLO, I got the chance to watch again on the last night.

Seeing BTS, perfect as the opportunity already is, was made even more special by the fact that I was watching the show with my one and only brother, Lit Onrubia, who flew to LA on December 1 to share the joy with me. I haven’t seen my brother in two years (the longest we haven’t seen each other since the day I was born), so you can imagine the overflowing joy I felt during these last few days.

I was relieved to see that the SoFi Stadium got its act together. Entry on the succeeding nights was organized and pain-free, a huge difference from our experience on opening night.

The Pinoys behind us were kind enough to take our picture. It was a very diverse audience, composed mostly of girls and Asians. I would say it was about 50 percent Asian. It was so heartwarming to see a mixture of cultures coming together with a common bond. On this night, we were in Section 231—a section lower than the opening night, but still in the center.

The party started even before BTS came on stage

BTS always has ARMY in mind!

Seeing it a second time allowed me to focus on the highlights of the night. Immediately after a strong opening with the song ON, this second song, Fire, was just as powerful and kept the momentum of the show.

There is Kim Taehyung (who goes by the the stage name V) saying hello.

Also saying hello is Jeon Jungkook, the youngest and most talented of the group. They call him the Golden Maknae because there is nothing he can’t do well.

He was followed by Park Jimin, one of the best dancers I have ever seen in my life. Jimin’s unique voice and undeniable stage presence make him stand out in every performance.

DNA is my Kuya’s favorite BTS song.

The performance and choreography of Black Swan were amazing. The creativity and artistry that went into it shows the immense talent of the performance team behind BTS, led by their performance director, Son Sungdeuk.

Jungkook showing off some abs had the fans going wild! The choreography of Fake Love is so, so good. I love how they drop to the floor and then rise in one swoop as if they were being controlled like marionettes. Ah-ma-zing!!!

Boy with Luv is the song that first made me notice BTS. That catchy tune and super cute choreography were just impossible to ignore.

They started the encore of the last night with Home. I love this song. It has a chill vibe that always puts me in a good mood!

So What is a song I listen to whenever I need some motivation. I love how it empowers me! The perfect workout song for a hard set, too!!

Then it was followed by Mikrokosmos.

Kim Seokjin came out with RJ, his BT21 character, attached to his head. Jin always has some cute surprise for the encore. Despite being the oldest in the group, he remains one of the most playful.

One of the best parts of the night was ARMY surprising Jin before his birthday (December 4). Like always, ARMY came very prepared. It started with the raising of white fans with a printed heart bearing Jin’s name. Then, they all made a black casing that they put on top of the ARMY Bombs with a moon cut-out, and it was so so cute. Moon is one of Jin’s solo songs. I found it so so impressive that ARMYs all over the world were able to plan and prepared a common surprise to make Jin feel special.

This is really something that makes ARMY feel like a family. Every occasion is marked with a celebration, be it the anniversary of BTS’ debut, or when ARMY started. But the most touching tributes are done during the birthdays of the BTS members. ARMY always goes all out to greet whoever is celebrating his birthday with a billboard or an installation or an activity.

It was so cool to witness this moment.

Just when we all thought the concert was over, Chris Martin popped up on stage, and they sang My Universe. This moment was epic. How often do you see such huge stars together? My Universe is the recent collaboration between Coldplay and BTS. BTS says this song, for them, is dedicated to ARMY.

The final message of each one was bittersweet. Jung Hoseok (j-hope), Kim Namjoon (RM), and Kim Taehyung (V) all expressed that they initially feared not having an audience after the pandemic. They were afraid that they  had lost their touch and ARMY would no longer be around—to which the crowd fiercely answered, “NO!” It is unbelievable for me that these boys, who happen to be the biggest boy band in the world, could remain so humble. Despite their success, the have remained so sincere, so relatable, and so real. For me, this is the BTS Magic.

Goodbye for now, boys. Just as I was about to feel sad about the end, you give me hope by announcing your concert on March 2022 in Seoul. I pray that the stars align again for me to be able to see you live. Until then, I have enough memories from this concert to keep me happy and hopeful. Borahae 💜

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The author: 'I would describe myself as a mother and wife, a lawyer (partner at LGTON Law) by profession whose blood type is B...TS'

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