Shrishti Kalwar (Mumbai, Maharashtra), Smiti Iyer (New Delhi), and Madhavi Sutar (Kolhapur, Maharashtra)
On 13th June 2021, BTS completed 8 years of their journey in the musical industry. In order to celebrate this occasion, the group organised their 6th Muster, an annual fan-meeting event that marks their anniversary; at Jamsil Stadium, also known as the Seoul Olympic Stadium on 13th & 14th June. The word Muster means an assembly of troops, referring to the meeting between the Bulletproof Boys and their A.R.M.Y (fandom of BTS). The event marked the end of their annual two weeks long celebration known as Festa. This year, the fan-meeting event was conducted virtually and was streamed on the online platform due to the pandemic and included diverse elements such as ARMY Signal, ARMY in Echo, and ARMY on Air to connect with the fans. Nearly, 1.33 million fans, from 195 regions attended this two-days paid-event all over the world.
The previous Muster was held in 2019 and took place in Busan, with the theme of Magic Shop, and in 2020, the fan-meeting was not conducted due to the pandemic, and hence the fans were gifted with Bang-Bang Con instead, a free virual marathon of their previous concerts for two days. This year’s theme of Muster was “Sowoozoo,” derived from a term that denotes their song “Mikrokosmos” which means small universe.
The design of the stage resembled the sign of the infinity symbol, which when rotated forms the number 8, representing their 8th anniversary. The entire stage was coloured in purple, as the fandom fondly resonates the colour, with “Borahae” which is interpreted as “I Purple You.” In the voids of the infinity, there were hundreds of screens set up making use of technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Xtended Reality (XR), to make up for the lack of physical presence of the audience. There were few hundred lucky ARMYs selected to attend the event virtually in the real-time as a part of “Army on Air” and sing along through “Army in Echo.” The stage was also decorated and adorned with different planets, lifting the spirit and theme of mikrokosmos, which made it look like their own universe.
The day 1 of the event kicked off with a VCR clip which was further played and continued in between their performances. The storyline of the VCR was set on the theme of an adventure embarked by the members that describes their experiences in a simple yet amusing way. The video showed the members setting off on a voyage, facing challenges along the way but not losing hope. Their destination brings them to the concert venue, where they made an entry while performing the song, Life Goes On. At times, when the whole world is battling from the pandemic, this song feels like solace. The performance continued with their two smashing English singles, Butter and Dynamite (Tropical Remix).
Upon arriving on the stage, the members introduced themselves and connected with their fans through Signal from ARMYS, that showcased some of the memorable moments shared by the fans using specific hashtags for the members, such as #SkyforNamjoon. Their journey over the years was also shown through their ever-changing practice rooms that went from being smaller to bigger as the time passed. There were pictures of different avatars of Suga, group photographs, and much more, allowing a comfortable space for BTS to engage with ARMYs.
The performance continued with the song, Moving On, that talks about moving on from the place where they used to be as they learnt to overcome their struggles together followed by the sub-units performances such as, Stay by Jin, RM, and Jungkook; Fly to My Room by Suga, J-Hope, V, and Jimin. This song also brought to life the set-up of a room curated by BTS themselves as a part of the Draw for ARMY concept during the BE album era, which made this performance even more special.
Day 1 marked a surprise performance where the song, Daechwita, originally a solo song from the mixtape of Suga, transformed into an OT7 performance, where every member of the group took part in. This performance was clearly the highlight of the first day of Muster, as both the rap-line and vocal-line of the group nailed all the verses, and left spectators surprised with some jaw dropping and some hillarious moments which is still a buzzing topic of discussion among the fans as they still reminisce about this performance.
The audience could barely catch their breath, when the septet returned with another power-packed performance on Idol, which fuelled ARMYs with energy, as they sang, “You can’t stop me loving myself!” Stepping down from stage and moving towards the screens, the first live-performance of Dis-ease took place with its iconic bridge part, that fans were waiting to listen since a very long time. The setlist of the Day 1 concert also included three more energetic performances namely, Fire, So What, and Not Today.
After a few peaceful moments with the ARMYs chanting the fanchant from their screens that increased the anticipation and curiosity among the viewers, the Day 1 was concluded with the special encore performance on Wishing on a Star, You Never Walk Alone, and Mikrokosmos.
Day 2 of Muster was the World Tour version for the ARMYs around the world. The members made a similar entry as Day 1 with the song Life Goes On, Butter, and Dynamite; and upon arriving the stage, this time they introduced themselves in different languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, English, Korean, and Thai. Taking their position on the stage, the members gave a small glimpse of their never performed live before solo songs, starting with J-Hope singing Blue Side, Jimin singing Promise, Jungkook singing Still With You, Jin singing Abyss, Suga singing People, RM singing Everything Goes, and V singing few lines of Winter Bear.
The tracklist of the Day 2 was although similar to Day 1, had a few new additions to the performances such as Film Out, the Japanese single, which left the viewers mesmerised with the powerful and melodious vocals of Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook; along with soft and soulful raps by the Suga, J-Hope, and RM. The main attraction of Day 2 was the Chicken Noodle Soup performance, which again surprised the audience, because just like Daechwita, it was also an OT7 version of the solo song of J-Hope from his mixtape. This performance swept the audience in complete awe, when Jimin and RM sang their verses in Spanish that was originally sung by Becky G. The audience felt ecstatic to witness the grand entry of all members coming on stage in different cars, as the performance ended with a dance-battle showing each member’s unique charm. This song itself felt like a huge celebration, since the whole crew joined for this performance.
Jimin and Jungkook started the next performance by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors when Suga and J-Hope joined them to perform Telepathy. Right before the encore performance of Day 2, all the members gave heart-warming speeches. RM spoke in English and asked everyone to root for each other so that they can fight together and thanked everyone for being there with them in their 8 years journey. Jin continued with his speech, showcasing an adorable apple hairstyle which was styled on an ARMY’s request and gave assurance that BTS is always, and will be there with them, for them. He said, “We are always with you, what you say we listen, and try to follow and do it for you. We are always here right next to you.”
Suga expressed his wish for doing outdoors performances along with J-Hope who was also hopeful to meet ARMYs once again and expressed his wish to do a face-to-face meeting with them on their next Muster. Jimin mentioned that for this muster they were preparing since May, and how the last couple of days passed by so quickly. He said that seeing ARMYs who were watching the performances from the screen turned out to be better than his imagination and since things are slightly getting better now, let’s stay positive.
V shared how he didn’t want to make mistakes, and because of that concern, he was worried a lot on Day 1, but eased and enjoyed more on Day 2. Jungkook with his tear-filled eyes flustered everyone by saying that he wishes to sing until his last breath. He said, “I performed while watching you, I still miss you. Please stay healthy, we will do our best. For us, we still have a lot of time left, I will sing until I die, we will run until the end.”
Their words reflected on how much all of them are missing seeing ARMYs and performing in front of them. At the end, they felt grateful and wished for the best for ARMYs. The encore of Day 2 was same for both days. During Mikrokosmos, V asked ARMYs to switch on their flashlights and wave it outside their window; a gesture to refer to the song lyrics that goes,
Twinkling starlight, building with blinking light,
we’re shining brightly, in our own rooms
With this, as they bid their goodbyes, the sky was lit with colourful firecrackers, so that the fans do not feel disheartened, as the celebration of the Muster for their 8th year anniversary came to an end with this.
How was your experience of enjoying the BTS 2021 Muster Sowoozoo? What were your most memorable moments from this event? Tell us in the comments.