Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

LOS ANGELES — After two years, BTS is finally taking the stage in concert again — and it’s not just their legion of devoted fans, known as the ARMY, who are emotional about it.

Just before soundcheck for the second night of their four-show concert Permission to Dance On Stage – LA, BTS members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook opened up about their complicated feelings on returning to the stage after COVID-19 derailed their 2020 world tour during a press conference conducted with an interpreter.

“Yesterday I asked myself is this reality or is this a dream?” Suga said hours before their Sunday show at Sofi Stadium. “Nothing has really come easy for BTS, and it’s been the same for the past two years.”

But, he added, BTS “has always overcome these barriers and bounds by trying hard.”

“That is a strength that BTS has – our ability to overcome.”

2020 was a bittersweet year for the wildly popular K-Pop group. Their album “Map of the Soul: 7” dropped in February, weeks before the pandemic forced them to postpone their highly anticipated Map of the Soul world tour. They released another album, the intimate and self-directed “BE,” that November.

And this month, BTS has wracked up more milestones to their ever-growing resume, winning every award for which they were nominated at the American Music Awards and clinching a 2022 Grammy nomination for best pop duo/group performance.

“We created, and we released songs that tried to express our frustrations as authentically as possible,” Jungkook said of the group’s recent music. “The fact that we receive so much love for these songs that we created, I think, gave us a lot of strength and a lot of energy.”

Now, BTS is ready to give that energy back to their fans, after what V called a “very sad, difficult time for everybody.”

According to RM, the pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone and the same is true for BTS. One of COVID’s greatest tolls on the group, he said, has been the inability for them to connect with their fans in concert.

He sees the Permission to Dance mini-tour as the group’s chance to show “how much we’ve grown, how much we’ve learned these past 2 years.”

In echoing RM’s sentiment, Jimin said the group “felt powerless” and “depressed.”

“We worked hard at this because we wanted to bring healing and consolation to everyone else who is also going through these hard times.”

But their return to the stage has come with pressure. Jimin confessed he felt “a sense of regret” for not relishing on Saturday’s opening night as much as he could have.

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