I have covered K-pop concerts for 7 years, and have reviewed shows from Jang Kiha and The Faces to Jay Park. I’ve seen the growth and change of K-pop in front of my very own eyes and as I have gotten older; the audience around me looks younger and younger. What I’m saying is, I know K-pop, I know K-pop concerts in the UK - and yet my BTS experience was something entirely unique. I was speaking to parents and fellow press who had never heard a BTS song in their lives. They just knew that this Korean boyband was the hottest thing in town and they were here to see what the fuss was all about for themselves.

The 150-minute long show may seem surprising for sceptics, but for a four-year-old group, BTS easily cut through a 30-song set list that comprised of fan favourites from their most recent Love Yourself albums. As a result of main vocal Jungkook’s minor heel injury, the world’s biggest boyband had to soldier on as six with Jin, RM, Suga, J-Hope, V, and Jimin showing the stadium full of ARMY that the show was unstoppable. The night opened with ‘Idol’, and after taking a quick breather, moved into a mashup of ‘Save Me’ and ‘I’m Fine’. The screams from a sold-out BTS stadium show is no joke. An early warning to grab some earplugs was common advice from those who had been to the first night of performances, but there was no dimming out the energy from fans as they flew through ‘Go Go’, ‘Dope’, ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’, ‘Boy In Luv’ and ‘Fire’ in blended succession.

In between the solo stages from each member that showed off their rap prowess to their airy vocals, I realised that BTS had in fact an 8th member. All K-pop fans sing along to the songs and join in the fanchants, but ARMY were almost harmonising with the members. In particular, the solo ballad ‘Epiphany’ from “Worldwide Handsome” Jin and ‘The Truth Untold’ performances were particularly moving as fans sang along. Seeing the official light stick, the £45 “ARMY Bomb,” flashing in sync thanks to bluetooth technology amongst the crowd added an extra element to the evening. Teenagers in the entire arena were together in making sure that BTS felt welcomed. It wasn’t BTS serenading and partying with the crowd. It was ARMY who were telling BTS that they are loved.

Language proved to be no barrier; Korean lyrics were seemingly no challenge, as I saw young girls sing along to every word. What pushed BTS to a higher quality were the details to the performance. It’s one thing to see their fantasy-filled and dreamlike visuals on YouTube - it’s another to see it live. The lights, the stage effects, the VCRs, and their comforting smiles and touches to each other is why many fans told me they favour BTS over other K-pop groups. A young girl patiently waiting in the merch queue told me “It doesn’t feel manufactured. They clearly have money but they still feel like, down to earth.”

So what made my night with BTS so strange? For the first time, I was meeting people who knew BTS but not K-pop. Their success in cracking the US charts should not be ignored and just goes to show that they’re a powerhouse to work with, not against. I was meeting fellow press who knew nothing about official colours, slogan banners at the perfect moment, and why every member had a solo stage. BTS is making waves by breaking out of what traditional marketing tells us will be successful. I’ve asked before in my Love Yourself: Tear review, “how much higher can you go when you’re already at the top?” While my night was enjoyable and unforgettable, I have no idea how BTS will grow. This is new territory for all of us, and I’m sure as hell going to be there for the ride.