BTS posing in a line on the Grammys red carpet
In this Jan. 26, 2020, file photo, South Korean K-pop band BTS arrives for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
(Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

‘Feeling euphoric’: Fans rejoice ahead of BTS concerts in Los Angeles

Two years since its last concerts in front of a live crowd, BTS is returning to the stage with four shows at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 1-2.

Hundreds of thousands of the K-pop group’s massive fandom, known as ARMY, will flock to the city to see their performances.

What are fans looking forward to at concerts and what does being a part of the ARMY mean to them? More than 130 fans from all over the country (and some around the world) responded to a Times callout last week. Here are some of their responses. (Answers have been edited for length and clarity.)

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Dawn Burney

Garland, Texas
I’m most looking forward to taking in the entire experience. There is nothing more magical than hearing your favorite music, watching your favorite performers right in front of your eyes and gazing at the sea of ARMY. I’m a massive fan, but I believe anyone would feel the rush of joy that echos through every single part of a BTS show.

BTS and ARMY mean doing what you love and having hope toward the future. They’ve been by my side during many challenges and celebrations. The last two years have been especially hard, but BTS and ARMY helped me stay optimistic amid so much darkness. I have so much gratitude for the hard work BTS puts in to bringing their fans meaningful music and experiences.
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Catherine Brenner

Albany, N.Y.
It’s my first chance to see them in person. I can’t wait to be surrounded by other fans and show BTS how much we appreciate their hard work. I haven’t traveled since the pandemic began so this is my first air trip in years. N.Y. to L.A. during a holiday weekend is a bit nerve-wracking, but I’m excited. I’m also traveling with my cousin who I haven’t seen much because of the pandemic. I love that BTS gave us a reason to do this together.

I’m 39 and people tease me about being ARMY sometimes, but I’m a proud fan. When you look at the seven members and how hard they work, how sincere and how much I enjoy their music, I can’t be anything but a proud fan.
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Antonette Barrows

La Grange Park, Ill.
I’m looking forward to being able to see them perform in person and feel the positive vibes around me. To see other ARMY in my age group that understands exactly how I’m feeling.

It means a lot to me. I became ARMY during the pandemic. I am a frontline worker and have been neglecting myself so I can do more for our patients and their families. Going home and being able to grab my iPad and watch BTS Run episodes, “In The Soop” Season 1 and 2 and anything else on social media meant the world to me. To be able to escape into the BTS world has brought me joy in these crazy times.
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Jasmine Chan

Gardena Gardena
Being reunited not only with BTS, but with ARMY! So many of us have had our lives fundamentally changed since the start of the pandemic in so many ways, including only having virtual forums to enjoy BTS’ music and content. I’m expecting the concert to be a really emotional reunion for everyone, and a chance to reconnect and catch up.

I discovered BTS as a relatively “older” ARMY, when in 2017, I was going through a very low point in my personal life. BTS’ message of self-love and knowing your self-worth was instrumental in getting me through that period of depression and uncertainty. Finding other ARMYs with whom this message also resonates has been a transformative experience, and to this day I still love meeting newer ARMYs who are also just finding BTS.
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Tiffany Stanley

Georgetown, Ohio
I met my very best friend because we connected over our love of BTS. We met right before the pandemic started (like the week before) so we grew really close during that time. We watched all the Bang Bang Cons together and kept telling each other, “We gotta see them live.” So being able to go to this concert with her is going to be a TREAT. It’s also my first concert post-quarantine, so it’s a sign of hope for me.

BTS to me means light. I became in fan in late 2019 after my life had been torn to shreds. I discovered them and it felt like there was a reason to continue on my path. While it may get hard sometimes, I know I can always fall back on them to pick me up.
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Jessica Magana

Pomona Pomona
After nearly two years spent in quarantine, lockdowns and restrictions, being able to attend a live event by the biggest music act in the world is something I didn’t think would be possible for a very long time. What excites me most is not only finally being able to see my favorite artists with new music and a new stage, but to reunite with friends as well. Many friends that I have made through BTS live in different parts of the country and are coming solely for this show. Gathering with friends I have not seen in a long time is something I miss very much. Now that we have the opportunity again to create new memories to sing, dance, laugh and cry because we love BTS so much is something that I cannot wait to experience again.

BTS has always been a huge part of my youth and young adulthood. Although they sing a language I cannot fully comprehend, it truly transcends when you translate the lyrics and connect them to your own life. Their music has helped prove to me that I am not alone when I am valid and I am worth something. Another factor that has helped prove that is the ARMY. They truly are a fandom like no other. We take pride in embodying all the qualities that BTS exemplify as artists and as people. ARMY has brought me many friends and precious memories with BTS that I will never forget as I continue to be their fan from then, now and forever.
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Alisha Kram

Oro Valley, Ariz.
I’m looking forward to everything honestly. Visiting L.A. to see the sights, meeting fellow ARMYs, making new friends, being in an environment with people who are just as passionate about BTS as I am. Of course to see BTS perform! This will be my first concert, and from what I have read and seen, it’s an experience.

To me, BTS and ARMY mean love. By learning to love myself as a person, I am able to have love for other people in the world, which makes life a little more bearable for everyone. Being a part of ARMY is just finding other people who feel the same way and want to spread that love into the world
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Jaide Ortega

San Diego
I am most looking forward to the reuniting of the global fandom ARMY with BTS. To be able to finally cheer them on and show my gratitude, appreciation and admiration for the members will be an EPIC moment. To share the same space, hear their music LIVE and the roar of the crowd cheering will be emotional.

BTS became such a bright spot during my 2020. I was undergoing cancer treatment during a global pandemic. It was mentally, physically and emotionally draining. Their music and poetic lyrics brought me out of the darkness. Their laughter lifted my spirits and gave me the endurance to keep taking the steps needed for my healing. They are gifted and humble artists who have such a strong work ethic. There is so much to admire. Although their music and performances are amazing, it’s their brotherhood bond despite their varying personalities that also makes them lovable. As an ARMY, it brings me joy to see them succeed and overcome all their challenges and rise up! ARMY and BTS lift each other up. We are symbiotic. It is a fandom like no other.
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Angelina Hanson

Bremerton, Wash.
I held onto my Map of the Soul Tour tickets for a year and a half. It was one of the toughest times in my life, and being able to go see them after so long brought me to tears. I’ve seen many K-pop groups and have even seen BTS multiple times before. There have been no concerts that have compared to the love, commitment and synergy that ARMY and BTS bring. The ARMY bomb wave, the ARMY fashion and the interaction we get with BTS truly make the travel worthwhile.

My favorite thing about saying I like K-pop or BTS is the immediate click I get with other people who share the same love. There’s a huge fanbase all around the world who all support and protect each other, which can mean so much to people who don’t have support systems of their own.
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Xitlali Dumas

Los Angeles
I’m looking forward to the live performances for their new songs that haven’t been performed in front of the fans yet because of COVID. And of course since this will be their first time meeting ARMY since the pandemic started, I’m looking forward to the emotional reunion between BTS and the crowd.

BTS helped me through a lot of tough times, especially in these past four years while I was away at college. They have always advocated for youth, which helped me gain courage to both love and speak up for myself.
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Kat McDonnell

Tampa, Fla.
I’m looking forward to the energy and the artistry — seeing BTS perform songs I love with passion and sincerity like they always deliver. Being part of the crowd and the lights, our own galaxy, is beautiful. And being able to experience all the emotions with the amazing friends I’ve made.

There’s a lot of comfort, a shoulder to lean on. BTS sends a lot of positivity out into the world through their music, and just who they are as good people, in a really relatable feeling way. Being an ARMY has helped me overcome a lot of internal personal struggles that I didn’t really have the will to do before. I’m a lot happier, I feel like there are people in my corner.
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Cynthia Sunich

Rock Springs, Wyo.
I’m seeing the boys live and in front of me for the first time with my daughter. We’ve been fans since 2018 and just keep loving them more and more. I follow them on social media so I feel like I already know them personally, but to actually be in the same space together in real time will be absolutely insane!

BTS has set the bar pretty high in social standards. Everyone could learn a thing or two from them. They have a warmth and humbleness to them that draws you in, on top of being insanely talented and gorgeous. ARMY... ARMY is magic. Being a part of that magic fandom is something I never thought I’d be a part of at 53 but here I am... and proud of it.

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Justin Carumba

Belford, N.J.
I’m looking forward to being able to see BTS perform in person for the first time after the pandemic began.

I became a fan in the middle of the pandemic so this will be the first time I see them live. The way that they are able to communicate with their fans around the world with just their music and personalities is inspiring to me. I can’t wait to be around like-minded people in the audience supporting the group!

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Carolain Peregrino

Gilroy, Calif.
I’m looking forward to everything! The songs, the purple ocean, the fun, the experience, singing our hearts out after such difficult years and seeing BTS for the first time!

BTS literally saved me during the difficulty of the pandemic. At the time, I was working in a toxic environment and was having a hard time making a decision to leave, since it would also affect my children. But after hearing Jin’s song “Epiphany,” I knew the right decision to make was what would make me happy, and I put in my resignation right after that. BTS makes me laugh, cry, excited and all other good emotions anyone can have . I founded a group of ARMY over the age of 40, and we support each other at all times. I always get messages from members being thankful for having a safe place of support for ARMY within the same age range. We have secured four buses for the concert in L.A. Many of us have also reserved suites. Yes, we are very dedicated ARMY. To say that BTS is our life saver is an understatement.
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Beth Rempe

Champaign, Ill.
I have been working as a COVID nurse during this pandemic, so for me this concert is my Healthcare Hero reward! Every time I had to be charge nurse on my unit, I told myself the extra pay was going toward my BTS concert fund. I never expected it would happen so soon!

BTS and ARMY have kept me sane during this pandemic. Their music speaks to the human condition (please look beyond the English-language songs, and get good translations!) and is a source of comfort, inspiration, challenge and escape. ARMY is a fantastic community (not perfect, but what community is?) and I have found great support and friendship.
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Tanya Williams

Inglewood Inglewood
I’m excited to be a teen again! At 63, I am looking forward to fangirling in a crowded (but vaccinated) concert with young and old ARMY.

I was a baby ARMY when the pandemic hit. I had heard of them a few years before and watched their late-night show performances, but it was working from home that allowed me to go full-blown ARMY with Spotify, YouTube and Amazon Music streams playing all day every day. I finally had time to sit and watch all of the official Big Hit music videos from the beginning days. As a grown woman — as I have to keep telling my daughter — I put my money where my fandom is and joined Weverse, got my official ARMY membership card and purchased and watched the online events (concerts and shows). Whenever I was sad or just feeling downright lousy, I could say, “Alexa play BTS” and the mood changed immediately. BTS just brings me joy.
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Nikkole Cole

Norton Shores, Mich.
I’m so excited to feel the energy of BTS and ARMY, to be a part of the purple ocean and connect through some truly universal music.

This group has helped me heal from a lifetime of different types of heartbreak. My son and I enjoy the music so much. It’s helped my friends new and old connect on a different level, and it’s absolutely breathtaking.
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Taparia Brooks

Grovetown, Ga.
I’m looking forward to going to my first-ever concert with my husband and being surrounded by people who celebrate BTS the same way I do! I just want to see the seven men happy, dancing and taking in what they’ve waited two years for. I also intend to watch my husband try not to cry when we’re all wrapped up in this joy. He’ll cry but try to play it off. I’ll cry and enjoy not being the only one.

Being an adult in ARMY is a responsibility and a privilege. ARMY’s community is why stanning the group is so easy. When BTS hosted the Muster Sowoozoo Festival, I was lost trying to figure out Weverse, but ARMY Twitter helped me figure out where to buy my ticket. They taught me how to work my ARMY Bomb and even where to find my membership number so I could register as a fan on Ticketmaster! I’ve been a part of charities because of ARMY and found peace in being a stan in her late 20s when ARMYs wanted to prove that we’re not all teenage girls. We’re a diverse group of beautiful souls celebrating a group of men who give us more than we deserve. I’m grateful to be here!
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Caroline Gable

Lafayette, Colo.
Honestly, I am feeling a HUGE range of emotions about these concerts. Emotional, excited, nervous, overwhelmed. I know that this concert is going to be absolutely unforgettable — it wouldn’t be a BTS concert if it wasn’t. Finally being able to hear the songs that have been my comfort and drive these past few years LIVE FROM BTS themselves is going to be such an incredible experience!!!

There’s this line that I hear a lot in the ARMY universe, which is, “You find BTS when you need them the most.” These past two years have been the hardest time of my life and BTS and their music were a HUGE solace and salvation for me during that time and now. Everything from their music, press appearances, YouTube videos, Weverse messages have kept me going for a while. I think being able to find your comfort in something or someone that is GOOD and promotes positive messages (like BTS) is always going to be the most healthy way to make it through a hard time. I’m thankful for BTS, thankful for the ARMY who also promote BTS’ positive and kind messages, and excited to finally be all together at these concerts.
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Elaine Luong

San Diego
This will be my first BTS concert and I am feeling EUPHORIC. I am most excited to witness their greatness with my own eyes. Sure, I’ve watch every music video ever created, every live performance captured and even streamed their live concerts during the pandemic... But to be in the same stadium, under the same roof, watching BTS’ inimitable and dynamic talent captivate the stage (and our hearts) in real time is a dream come true. To share this experience with ARMY as everyone (old fans and new) has waited so long for this moment as well, is sure to be special. I’m excited for the emotion, the music, the dancing and the euphoric joy that is guaranteed with every BTS show.

I discovered BTS through my incredible brother, Ron. He was an original ARMY, and always had the best taste in music. Unfortunately, we lost my brother very unexpectedly last year. Losing him changed my world. Navigating the depths of grief as an adult was extremely challenging and at most times paralyzing. It was BTS’ music, passion, personalities, humor, kindness, camaraderie and encouragement that brought me so much hope and pure joy. I smiled, I laughed, I danced and I discovered that light and hope exists after loss. The theme of my 30th birthday was even BTS. BTS changed and saved my life, and I ultimately have my very special brother, Ron to thank for that.
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Chelsea Schwartz

Eden Prairie, Minn.
These past two years have been so challenging, chaotic and isolating. In a time where we could easily feel so alone, BTS brought us so much joy. The concerts are a manifestation of what the music, the members and the fandom brought us during quarantine and uncertainty: hope!

As an ARMY mom, my perspective is a little different. At times our world can feel so divisive and depressing and those feelings are grounded in serious issues; the world our children will inherit is far from perfect. Conversely, there is this group from across the world that calls on us to love yourself, to stand up to hatred and intolerance, to care for the environment and there’s a huge fandom that answers that call. That’s the world I want to leave for my next generation ARMY.

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Peace Takata

Torrance Torrance
It’s been a tough two years for BTS and ARMY. BTS has truly been a light and a source of comfort during these trying times. I’m looking forward to the incredible performances, but I am most looking forward to seeing their faces when they see a live audience of adoring fans for the first time in two years! They need it as much as we do! I also look forward to seeing my ARMY friends that are flying in from across the U.S. and from countries around the world. It will truly be a week we won’t forget.

I am always so proud of BTS and ARMY. BTS are not only incredible songwriters and talented performers, but they are also amazing human beings. No one moves hearts like BTS! They have a work ethic that is unmatched and have handled their fame with grace and humility. I appreciate how genuine and vulnerable they allow themselves to be. Sincerity translates globally, and this is truly their secret sauce! Being an ARMY has been such a joyful experience. ARMYs are kind, intelligent, resourceful and loyal! I am constantly blown away by the creativity and generosity of ARMY. ARMY means family!
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