BTS Burn the Stage: The Movie, Part 1

We open with the guys rehearsing. We can see a lot of people sitting behind computers near the stage which gives some insight as to how much technical stuff goes into making the show work. Yoongi (aka Suga) and the others are discussing the details for the finale. They shouldn’t be so bunched up on stage, he says. Namjoon (aka RM) rehearses what he will say to the audience before the final song.

We cut to seeing the massive crowd outside the Gocheok Sky Dome in South Korea where the concert will be held. Then we cut to back stage and the guys getting prepped. Yoongi tells us that there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done the night before the opening show and get plenty of rest, too. By the time all decisions get made it’s 2am or even later. Then they have to get up at 8am to begin press conferences. Taehyung (aka V) comes up to him and taps him, because they are going to another interview. “We never have enough time,” Yoongi repeats.

L-R: Taehyung (V), Yoongi (Suga), Jin, Jungkook (JK), Namjoon (RM), Jimin, Hoseok (J-Hope)

We cut to the guys in black suits standing on a press conference stage. The back drop says “The Wings Tour 2017.” They sit at a long table and begin answering questions. I think it’s a little weird they are dressed so formally. They talk about their growth and their chemistry as a group etc.

Then we cut to the guys backstage before the show getting their make up done. Jungkook (aka JK) is putting on some gloss. “This gives my lips a luscious glow,” he says somewhat jokingly, but not entirely. Make up for Kpop idols is serious business. The guys hash out a few more performance details before the final huddle. “Bangtan, Bangtan, BangBantan!” It’s time to go.

It’s crazy how electric the crowd looks. The audience has their official BTS light sticks and they light up the crowd as they wave them around. It looks really cool. We see fast cuts of the guys performing and running backstage between numbers. The pace is pretty frantic. Someone is narrating some hokey lines about how it all feels like a dream. I can’t tell who is doing the narration, because the voice doesn’t sound like any of the members. I hope the narration won’t be throughout the movie, because it’s corny.

“Will you stay with us? Will you be there for us?” Namjooon asks the crowd. One of the members shouts “Purple!” and the crowd changes their light sticks to glow purple. Purple is the color of love from BTS to their fans. I am pretty sure that’s what it means? I’m too new to the fandom to know the history of how the color purple became this symbolic thing. I think Taehyung once said “I purple you” to the audience and it caught on.

“We race towards an unknown future…” the cheesy narrator continues in voice over. More clips of the guys performing and then they come to the final bow. The guys wave to the crowd. They look tired, but happy. Backstage they joke about some of the technical glitches that occurred. Jin says he’s beat and ready to go home. Hoseok (J-Hope) says it’s time for the after-party.

At the after-party, Jungkook tells the camera he is planning on drinking plenty of booze. The guys chow down on some food and toast each other. The hokey narrator intones “…we’re back to being just ordinary guys in their 20’s and we thank one another and those around us.” Yeah, we get it, narrator guy. Anyway, the guys look really amped. The post-show endorphins must be so intense. Namjoon graciously thanks and toasts the crew. “All we do is sing and dance,” he says. “It’s actually the crew who made the concert happen.” “We agree!” jokes one of the crew members and everybody laughs. More partying then fade out.

Santiago, Chile. The next shot is a black screen with the word “Desert.” “I wanted the ocean so I drank you in. But I’m thirstier than before,” says the voice over narrator. Omigod. If you think I am going to bitch about the narration throughout the movie in this recap you are correct! It’s just so bad. The next shot is the guys arriving to a stadium in Santiago. It doesn’t say which one.

Hoseok and the others step out onto the stage in the empty stadium and shout “Hola!” The guys say it’s been awhile since they have performed here. They chitchat backstage and then we cut to the evening’s performance. The cheeseball narrator tells us. “We heated up the stage like never before…” Someone from the audience has hung a Chilean flag and a South Korean flag side by side from the balcony. It’s a good reminder of how incredible it is that BTS has been able to reach fans from all over the world who don’t speak Korean. Music is truly universal regardless of language! *sob* But, seriously, it’s amazing.

Jungkook

We cut to the guys under the stage between numbers. They look exhausted. Even Hoseok, who is like the energizer bunny most of the time, looks worn out. They just don’t hold back anything when they perform. It’s full out, always. Hoseok expresses concern for Jungkook. He says that JK looked really beat. Then we cut to Jungkook laying down and dramatically throwing his head back in exhaustion. He looks gorgeous while doing so, of course. Someone brings him an ice pack and places it on his neck to cool him down. He really is worn out though. Show’s not over yet, however.

More performance clips. Here’s the thing about BTS choreography: it’s intense and complex. That’s part of what makes them so dynamic as performers. The excellent dancing all while singing and rapping live. We cut to backstage and someone is saying that Jungkook felt dizzy at one point. Hoseok tells him that he shouldn’t push himself so hard. JK says that he did so because it was their last concert in Chile. Then he smiles. Jungkook gets off on going as hard as possible. That’s kind of his thing. Namjoon has said in the past that JK has a bit of a masochistic streak. The other guys praise him for being so impressive. “How do you keep up like this?” one of them asks.

The next scene is morning and the guys are in their hotel rooms. Namjoon is brushing his teeth, Taehyung is still in his pajamas and Jimin is on his laptop. I’m ignoring the overly dramatic narration, because it’s so stupid. Jin knocks on Jungkook’s hotel room door, but JK doesn’t answer. “Don’t ignore someone who’s five years older than you,” says Jin from outside. This makes me laugh. Jin and Jungkook are close. As the eldest Hyung, many fans say that Jin is the one who has done a lot of the parenting of Maknae JK since BTS became a group. (Not that he’s a strict parent.) We then cut to Yoongi who is working on some music. Then all the guys head off to exercise.

We cut to Jin working with a trainer. He groans in pain as the trainer stretches his hamstrings. “What’s the saddest veggie in the world?,” he suddenly asks the trainer. “What?” “Burdock,” Jin replies. I don’t get the joke. Jin is infamous for his corny dad jokes. The trainer has him do core work next. “You’re counting too slow,” he tells the trainer while doing a plank. He finishes with some dead bugs (I hate those.)

We cut to a crowd outside shouting, “BTS! BTS!” The guys are in Sao Paulo, Brazil now. As a side note, I can’t tell you how many Kpop idols have mentioned Brazil as one of their favorite places to go to while on tour. Hyungwon of Monsta X went dreamy eyed when he was asked which country he enjoyed the most. He was like, Ohhh, Brazzzilllll… Australia is another country that gets mentioned a lot. I can only imagine how Kpop idols feel about America. They are probably just grateful to make it out of there alive. I kid! My humor is as black as my heart. Sorry if I offended, but I am allowed to poke fun at my own country. Anyway, good on you Brazil and Australia! Keep up the good work!

Hoseok

We cut to Hoseok walking around the standing section of the arena they are performing in. He likes seeing the stage from the perspective of the fans. He smiles at the camera as he walks backstage. At this point I am not even listening to the narrator. I’m just tuning him out. We then cut to the pre-show meeting the guys are having in the dressing room. Namjoon tells everyone to do their best with the songs that are really hard to perform. Yoongi looks very bored. Tae is looking at his phone. “…let’s do our best to make it work,” says Namjoon. They do their pre-show huddle and shout, “We’re pros!” They all laugh. More performance footage and backstage cuts of the guys looking sweaty and tired. Fade out.

Newark, New Jersey. We see a distant shot of the Statue of Liberty in New York. I guess it was hard to find any interesting exterior shots of Newark. I went to school there for a couple of years so, to that I say, fair enough. Anyway, the guys are doing press and some lady is telling the translator that “break a leg” means “do well.” The translator explains to the guys about this American tradition. Hoseok says, “Oh!” and wiggles his legs. Oh man, they must hate doing this shit. It must really wear thin quickly having to do these interviews. Because he is fluent in English and the leader of the group, Namjoon is tasked with answering the questions. He is telling the interviewer how unbelievable it is for them to sell out shows in America. That must get tiring, too. Having to express such humble amazement, over and over again, about their success in the USA. We Americans dig that shit though. Namjoon is no fool.

Yoongi is nodding his head at what Namjoon is saying. Yoongi is secretly fluent in English, I swear to God. I think he’s a stealthy genius. I’m kind of going through a period right now where I am in awe of this guy. He’s such an amazing artist. The lyrics to his song “First Love” made me cry. If you know what a tough guy he is and that his childhood wasn’t easy, it makes the lyrics especially poignant.

L-R: Jin and Jungkook

We cut to the guys on stage pre-show at the Prudential Center. They are working through some technical glitches. Yoongi tells the music director to notch up the volume by .5dB. The crowd is gathering outside the building as the guys are in the dressing room for their pre-show meeting. Then we see performance clips. “Are you feeling good tonight?” Namjoon asks the crowd. Then we see a shot of Jimin jumping really high over the rest of the band. He is able to defy gravity. This is an example of how crazy their choreography gets. Streamers! Dancing! The audience singing and cheering! Someone in the crowd made a huge sign for Namjoon that says “RM” in red letters.

Jimin: I believe I can fly.

Then we cut to the guys giving a backstage interview. Namjoon is talking in English and telling the interviewer what they do between shows during their downtime. Working on their music and producing beats, right? says Namjoon. You’re playing video games, right? he says to Jungkook. The interviewer laughs. “Everyone is doing their jobs,” Namjoon tells her. They are asked some inane questions like what American names would they give themselves. “J-Dope,” says Hoseok. Jin laughs. Yoongi looks bored.

Then we cut to a scene of Namjoon working with a physical therapist who is tending to his leg. He’s in pain. Then we cut to the guys getting in a van. We are in New York now as you can see the Russian Tea Room in the background. The guys want to go shopping. They get out of the van and walk down the street. They couldn’t do that today. No way. They would be mobbed in seconds. But it’s 2017 and I guess it was okay back then. “Well, at least we get to step outside,” says Jungkook. Yoongi is in a music store with Jin while the other guys are shopping for clothes. Yoongi is enjoying himself. “I’d come every day if I lived here,” he says.

All the guys are piled back into the van and discussing their purchases. Someone wants hotdogs. Good choice, I say. I love New York hot dogs. Now I want one. Everybody eats their lunch. Yoongi is still looking through the catalog from the music store. Some of the stuff they sell simply isn’t available in Korea, he explains. He’s happy with what he bought.

Post-performance we cut to Yoongi in his hotel room drinking wine and working on his music. He gets frustrated with a piece he is writing and tells the camera that he feels a lot of pressure. Jin, Jimin and Jungkook are eating dinner in one of their rooms. Jin is being silly. Somehow the conversation turns to IQs and he asks what Jimin’s and Jungkook’s are. They both say 128. “Mine’s 107,” says Jin, which makes them all crack up. Then Jimin says that he felt like crying after making a mistake on stage the other night. He’s a perfectionist.

Yoongi.

Los Angeles, California. The guys step out on stage as the crowd cheers. Images of the members are projected onto the audience which is a cool effect, I must say. Performance clips, performance clips. Cheesy narrator guy. At one point Jimin is lifted up by the rest of the group into the air. Dramatic music plays as we see more clips of them performing as well as looking exhausted and sweaty backstage. Fade out.

The word “together” appears on the screen. We are somewhere, but I don’t know where. We see Taehyung playing a piano. I think the guys rented a house to stay in instead of a hotel, because there is a pool in the backyard and an outdoor grill. The guys are setting up to eat while Namjoon is in charge of grilling some meat. Someone is making some pasta as well. They all seem to be in a good mood. The guys eat their dinner as “Look Here” plays. Then they do some dancing. Then they jump (and flip) into the pool. I think I would be too exhausted to move at this point if that were me. Yoongi skips getting wet and sits on a bench drinking some wine.

Taehyung
Flipping into the pool.
Jin

Oooo, now it’s time to pop some champagne. Yoongi shakes the bottle so that it will explode. He shakes it a lot so it sprays everybody when the cork is popped. Corny narrator guy does some narrating as we watch the guys in slo-mo. Fade out.

Bangkok, Thailand. Hoseok and Namjoon are each in their respective hotel rooms working on music. Narrator guy says some shit I ignore. Rehearsal for the show. I don’t know which stadium this is in Bangkok. The guys say they are all screwed up about the time, because they keep switching countries. Then they have a high note battle in the dressing room before the show. Then it’s showtime. Performance clip of 21st Century Girls. It’s a fun song.

Back in their dressing room, Namjoon is bitching that they never lose weight on tour so they ask the staff not to give them snacks, but they do anyway. Then they talk about some mistakes that were made during the performance and by whom. Stupid narrator guy waxes poetic as we see the van pull away from the stadium.

Hong Kong. The guys are on stage performing. There is a pattern to this documentary that is a bit dull to watch. I much prefer the segments where we can see the guys offstage and just relaxing or doing whatever, but those clips tend to be short. It’s getting repetitive to see these very short performance clips country after country.

We see backstage that Namjoon’s leg is getting worse. They are getting time off next week which is a good thing, says Hoseok. Namjoon is upset, because he was really struggling to dance through some of the songs. Jimin fell on stage and Namjoon is worried about his ankle. He tells Jimin to get it taped up. Namjoon is put into a soft cast. Narrator guy tells us that there was a time when such injuries would overwhelm them with worry, but these days they can handle the wear and tear of being on the road much more easily. Fade out.

Airport somewhere. A lot of fans are behind a portioned off section waiting for BTS to arrive. The shouting of “BTS!” begins as the guys approach the entrance. Screaming and flashing light bulbs as the guys make their way through the airport. They stand still for some pictures as the screen tells us they are in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, Nevada. L-R: Jin, Namjoon, Yoongi, Taehyung, Jungkook, Jimin and Hoseok.

This is kind of funny. We see Taehyung hurriedly walk through the airport as we hear a girl wail behind him, “I loooove youuuuuu!!” as if she’s going to die. Oblivious, Taehyung looks in the filmmaker’s camera and says, “We’re in Las Vegas. Gosh, I’m so nervous.” Ah, I see. They are in Vegas to attend the Billboard Music Awards. That explains V’s nerves. BTS won’t be performing though.

The guys arrive at the Billboards looking great. They are all dressed in black suits with either t-shirts underneath their jackets or in Jin’s case, a black shirt with black tie. The crowd outside are screaming “BTS!” which must make them feel pretty good, I would think. They are relieved to have made it through the press line on the red carpet. It’s challenging because Namjoon is the only one who speaks English fluently. He tells the guys they are now free to enjoy the show.

BTS are all seated in the very front row, so, clearly Billboard recognizes what a big deal they are. Yoongi says that many of their fans are in the audience. “I think that’s why we are even more nervous,” Jimin says with a smirk. He’s playing it up for the camera.

And the Billboard Music Award goes to… BTS!!!” I’m unclear if the guys knew in advance that they were winning an award. Many in the crowd stand up to cheer them. They recognize what BTS has accomplished worldwide. Narrator guy drowns out Namjoon so I can’t hear what he says to the audience. Though we do hear him finish his thank you speech by speaking in Korean–“We love you and thank you. We’ll work hard to be your BTS”– which is very cool. The guys look happy.

Billboard Award winners L-R: Taehyung, Namjoon, Jungkook, Jimin, Jin and Hoseok. Yoongi is tucked behind Namjoon.

Australia. Hoseok tells the camera that they are now Billboard Award winners and that their fans are going to be excited. Then it’s backstage shots of the stage crew watching computer screens while the guys rehearse. There is a lot of technical stuff that goes into these performances for sure. More rehearsal footage. More rehearsal footage. They are not being entirely serious while they are practicing. They are joking around a lot. One of the guys trips and falls (I can’t tell who it is) and the others crack up.

We cut to them in their lounge room backstage and Hoseok says this is the first performance they will be giving since they won the BB Award. “…so let’s try and be amazing,” Namjoon says. He goes on to tell them that he has been reading comments on the internet about the award. “Fans say it was our passion and love for music that got through to people.” Part one ends here so I will stop for now. Part two coming very soon!

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