BTS: Yet to Come (Prime Video) features the seven-member South Korean boy band in concert at Busan’s Asiad Main Stadium in October 2022. All of the hits are here, from the Proof single “Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)” to international smashes like “Dynamite” and “Butter” and earlier faves “Dope” and “Fire.” But really, this concert is all about farewells, as it marked the final time BTS would perform together before the inevitable transition every boy band makes into solo jawns and other projects. (Including the members’ government-mandated military service.) So feel that superstar glow one more time, and side step right-left to their beat, because you know the Bangtan Boys still got that heat.
BTS: YET TO COME: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: “Make some noise!” “Are you ready to JUMP?” And if your response to either of those prompts is “er, no thanks,” then you weren’t among the 50,000 strong in Busan for this triumphant hour-and-twenty-minute-ish set from BTS. The audience holds their phones aloft, of course, but also thousands of distributed baubles that change color in sync with the light show, and all seven members of the band put a serious sweat into their black club wear accented with silver rope jewelry for an upbeat opening set that includes “MIC Drop” and “Run.” Performing on a main stage area under an beveled pavilion, RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook are also periodically joined by a phalanx of backup dancers at least thirty dudes strong, and sidelong stage alcoves are accented with a full-size school bus, playground rides, patches of landscaping, and an upright red piano. “I’ve been wanting to blow this kiss to you,” Jin calls to the crowd after the frenetic open. “It’s so nice to see you again at a concert.” Awww.
This concert was BTS’ first appearance in Busan in three years, which is made extra special because the port city is also Jimin and Jung Kook’s hometown. But there is also the steady wisp of good memories and maybe even a touch of melancholy in this set, as the members will often reference how they haven’t performed certain songs for quite awhile. “Save Me” gets a huge hand as the group sings directly into a Steadicam rig that appears on stage. Things slow down a bit for “00:00 (Zero O’Clock)” and the tender ballad “Butterfly” – “Will you stay by my side? Will you promise me? What if you fly away or break when I touch?” – and then it’s time to crank it back up with spirited raps from SUGA and RM on the hater rejecting “UGH!” and “BTS Cypher, Pt. 3: Killer.”
The apex of BTS’s set arrives with a denim and preppy pastels costume change and the light, catchy one-two-three punch of “Butter,” “Boy With Luv,” and “Dynamite.” (“Disco overload! I’m into that! I’m good to go!” – Bruno Mars would be proud of the boys’ effortless funk-pop moment.) But with so many hits rattled off in a row, the show was bound to wind down at some point, even if neither their fans nor BTS want it to. As they sit or stand on stage, grabbing at water bottles and towels, the band remarks that the set seemed so long on the call sheet during rehearsals, but here they are at the end. And yet, never fear – the farewells are like a mini-show in themselves, and even include a third costume change into comfy lavender hoodies emblazoned with the “Yet to Come” logo.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of? While Yet to Come is BTS’s first streaming appearance on Prime Video, the group has plenty of representation over at Disney+, which streams Permission to Dance, a concert filmed in 2022 at SoFi Stadium in LA, the member-focused documentaries j-hope IN THE BOX and SUGA: Road to D-Day, and the four-episode limited series Friendication: In the Soop, which features V.
Performance Worth Watching: The question is, who garners the screamiest joyful screams during band introductions? Of course each BTS member is met with cheers as they hit their marks for the individual close-ups. But it might be a toss-up between SUGA and Jimin for the most ecstatic response.
Memorable Dialogue: After that final costume change, BTS transitions into farewell mode, and j-hope takes the mic. “ARMY?” [the faithful roar “YESSS?!”] “We’re on stage, and we see you guys enjoying this as much as we do. And I can’t be more grateful for how we can dance and sing together.” The applause reaches another level, and then SUGA takes over steering the thank you train. “That’s right,” he says. “We didn’t get to perform like this in a long time. So we tried to plan every detail. But as always, we didn’t even have to worry, thanks to you. We’re so happy because of you.”
Sex and Skin: Nothing here at all. Or is it seductive when V wears his leather jacket half on and half off during the climax of “Butterfly?”
Our Take: With Jin, j-hope, and SUGA already having completed or currently serving their required stint in the military, and j-hope having performed solo to over 100,000 people at Lollapalooza in 2022, it’s no secret that there are now bookends to BTS’s heyday. It’s the baked in fact of boy band fame, as anyone from NKOTB to One Direction can attest – the ending is guaranteed. Members age, their fans age, and the next chapter is invariably written. So in that sense, Yet to Come has an air of finality, one even the members of BTS acknowledge on stage. (SUGA takes a moment to fondly recall their ten years together, going all the way back to when they were trainees in the K-pop system.) But at the same time, neither the band nor their management has officially attached BTS to the word “hiatus,” so who knows? In the meantime, all seven guys leave every ounce of their Bangtan Boys verve on the stage at Asiad Stadium, from furious synchronized dance moves to delicately layered harmonies, bold raps in multiple languages, and the messages of positivity and self-worth that radiate through their material. “I do what I do! You can’t stop me from lovin’ myself!” go the English portions of the chorus to “IDOL,” and the fans that fill the GA floor section and upper bowl respond with colorful baubles in hand and mirthful shouts in their throats.
Our Call: STREAM IT. The next act for BTS is currently being written. But with their performance in Yet to Come, all of the sweetness, singalong hooks, and slick dance moves that made them an international sensation are well-represented. Na-na-na, na-na-na, life is dynamite.
Johnny Loftus (@glennganges) is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift.