SEOUL — Elated followers of BTS gathered on Thursday for the Okay-pop group’s first dwell live performance in South Korea in over two years, an occasion that was anticipated to attract as many as 15,000 individuals — regardless of Covid restrictions that barred cheering, screaming or singing.
“It nonetheless looks like a dream,” stated Park Hyunjun, 40, a contract video producer from town of Incheon, west of Seoul. Outdoors Seoul Olympic Stadium on Thursday, she held a poster bearing the live performance’s slogan: “In fact, nothing has modified between us.”
It was the primary large-scale gathering of BTS followers in South Korea because the band’s final live performance of their residence nation, in October 2019. The multibillion-dollar act carried out dwell in Los Angeles in November, however for a lot of the pandemic it has been livestreaming as an alternative.
In 2020, the group set a Guinness world report for attracting probably the most viewers for a livestreamed music live performance. The pandemic didn’t solely pause the band’s dwell concert events: 5 of BTS’s seven members have been contaminated with the coronavirus. They’ve since recovered from Covid-19.
The live performance Thursday, the biggest permitted by the South Korean authorities because the pandemic started, was happening amid an Omicron wave that has pushed caseloads within the nation to unprecedented highs. On Thursday, the well being authorities reported 327,549 new day by day circumstances. However the authorities, which says the nation should study to dwell with the virus, has been loosening some restrictions.
In and across the stadium on Thursday, 750 security personnel had been imposing virus protocols, muting the festivities considerably.
“Please get transferring when you’re executed taking footage,” followers taking group pictures in entrance of the stadium’s entrance had been instructed. “Please preserve your distance to stop the unfold of Covid.”
Followers’ temperatures had been being taken earlier than they entered the stadium. Speedy antigen kits had been being made out there for individuals with excessive temperatures, stated the band’s company, Hybe. And concertgoers needed to enter by means of designated entrances, and through particular time slots, so they might not move in abruptly.
Followers had been additionally prohibited from cheering, screaming or singing alongside through the live performance, and so they needed to preserve their masks on, besides to drink water. And attendance on the stadium, which may seat about 70,000 individuals, was being restricted to fifteen,000.
“I’m curious what sort of environment there will likely be with everybody masked and nobody screaming,” stated Yu Haram, 17, who has adopted the band for 4 years and was about to see them dwell for the primary time.
All through the pandemic, Ms. Yu stated, she had adopted the band on-line, typically gathering together with her classmates to observe livestreams collectively. “I’m lastly seeing them,” she stated, “and I’m nervous.”
The live performance was the primary of a three-day collection, with extra scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. It was being livestreamed for individuals who couldn’t attend in individual.
Yang Ji-woong, 15, stated he had listened to the BTS tune “Mikrokosmos” all through the pandemic alone in his room and was wanting ahead to seeing it dwell.
“I’m frankly a bit anxious about Covid,” he stated. “However I wish to take pleasure in this second as a lot as I can.”