BTS made a triumphant return to the stage in Seoul, playing their first of three shows at the Olympic Stadium in the South Korean capital Thursday, March 10.
Not only did the show mark the group’s first in several months — following a sold-out four-night run at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium in December — but it was also BTS’ first show for a live audience in South Korea since their Oct. 2019 Love Yourself: Speak Yourself gig (also at the Olympic Stadium). BTS will play two more Permission to Dance on Stage — Seoul shows, March 12 and 13; the March 12 gig will be broadcast in select movie theaters around the world, while the March 13 show will stream online via Weverse.
While BTS’ return to the stage in Seoul was, of course, a major occasion, ongoing Covid concerns kept it from becoming the all-out celebration it surely would’ve been under normal circumstances. As The New York Times noted, the Seoul Olympic Stadium can seat about 70,000 people, but attendance was limited to just 15,000. Fans were not only required to stay masked during the show, but were prohibited from cheering, screaming, or singing along.
Despite the constraints, BTS still filled the Olympic Stadium with a career-spanning selection of hits. The group’s first-night setlist included performances of “On,” “Burning Up (Fire),” “DNA,” “Dynamite,” Butter,” and, of course, “Permission to Dance.” (Check out a few more photographs from the concert below.)
Following their run in South Korea, BTS will return to the United States for a four-night stand at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, on April 8, 9, 15, and 16. At the end of 2021, BTS’ label Big Hit released a letter that noted the group was also prepping a new album to mark the start of a new chapter.