|BTS members perform at Citi Field in New York, Saturday. Yonhap|
By Kang Aa-young
K-pop superstar BTS's concert in New York mesmerized some 40,000 U.S. fans at Citi Field, the baseball stadium of the New York Mets, Saturday (local time).
Culture critic Kim Young-dae, who attended the concert, said the entire atmosphere of the stadium was "frenetic."
"I've never seen anything like this," he said.
"This is something you could see only in venues where popular rock band performances are held. Some fans follow their nationwide tour. In my experience, there have been no Asian singers who have had such enthusiastic fans."
Tickets for the much-anticipated concert sold out in less than 20 minutes.
New York was the last stop on BTS's North America tour, which is part of their world tour. The North American tour began on Sept. 5 at their concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Some 20,000 fans flocked there for the K-pop superstars.
On Saturday, the idol group wrote new history by performing at Citi Field in the U.S. for the first time.
After tickets were sold out, a number of fans camped out, trying to be the first ticket holders to get into the general admission "pit" area. BTS fans called the "makeshift camping site" BTS Village.
"The venue has a symbolic meaning," Kim said, noting that holding a concert at the stadium means much more than just a performance. "It is the most frenetic concert I've ever seen."
BTS is the first K-pop act to perform in the U.S. stadium.
According to Kim, Citi Field as a concert venue has a symbolic meaning for pop artists. World-famous artists, such as Paul McCartney and Beyonce, have performed there.
Kim shared a sense of enthusiastic responses from the fans at Citi Field during the concert.
According to him, fans crowded in the stadium sang along with the superstar K-pop band all during the concert. They sang entire parts of all songs together, not just parts of certain songs, which he said wowed him.
"I've attended many concerts, both K-pop and American music concerts. In terms of fan enthusiasm and fever, this one is unrivaled," said Kim.
Fans, including a variety of age groups, from teens to parents and adult K-pop enthusiasts, flew in from all across America and those who were from distant cities camped outside near the concert venues.
In a media interview, pop culture critic Kang Moon said the BTS North America tour concert means a lot. "There have been other K-pop groups who had concert tours in the region. However, BTS is completely different from them," he said.
Kang said BTS is literally a game changer.
"Before BTS, K-pop has never been mainstream. But BTS broke through into the mainstream. When you look at the venues of their concerts, they were where major mass culture events had taken place. This means BTS entered the mainstream and became part of it."
Kim said BTS was able to achieve much more than what other K-pop acts did, thanks to their strategy.
"Unlike other K-pop acts, BTS tried to present themselves as they are and their genuine side, without trying to make up or overstating themselves, which I think appeals to U.S. fans," Kim said, when asked about the group's key to success in going global. "The fact that they are strong at Hip Hop and R&B would have appealed to the U.S. fans."
The seven-member K-pop band, which is regarded as a record-breaking group, will head to Europe to continue their world tour and will hold a dome tour of Japan in November.
The New York City Transit Authority assigned more metro trains to the route connecting to Citi Field and informed fans of this through their official account on twitter, ahead of the event.
With much enthusiasm, the group kicked off the Citi Field concert with their latest song "Idol," followed by previous hits including "DNA," "Fake Love" and "MIC Drop."
"We couldn't believe we finally came here to Citi Field. One of our dreams has come true," BTS said during the concert.