The show must always go on. And despite the TGM controversy, the Highlight Tour was still anticipated by fans in the only Canadian stop – Toronto. Empty pizza boxes lining the sidewalk indicated that some A.R.M.Ys had camped out overnight. And though check-in was supposed to be at 10AM, fans grew restless as several hours passed before anybody showed up. Some reports even claimed that TGM did not attend the location, thus leaving the organization in the hands of the wonderful local production team. Finally about an hour or so before the show, the huge line was finally ushered into the Phoenix Concert Theatre.
As it was a standing venue, I felt very sorry for the shorter people who were blocked by giant, sparkly fansigns. Unfortunately, all forms of photography were restricted including those for media. But that didn’t stop the heated anticipation as fans eagerly chanted out for BTS! Shortly after 7PM, the lights dimmed and an American hip-hop group “ConSio” opened up for the show. The artists performed 4 songs in English, to a cool blend of hip-hop and electro-pop sounding backtracks. A girl to my right exclaimed, “It sounds like a K-pop song!” I really hoped this group would get more recognition by being part of the Highlight Tour.
However, the real ear-piercing screams began as BTS took to the stage during the halfway point. There were screams and definitely tears amongst all the fangirls and fanboys in the audience! Unfortunately, the stage screen was broken (literally half of it was black and flickered throughout the night), so fans did not get to enjoy the intro video. Luckily, nobody really seemed to notice! Who cares about that when your favourite idols are just a few feet in front of you!
BTS opened up with an explosive “N.O”, all with winning smiles and on-point choreography. As this was BTS’s first time performing in Canada, it was a meaningful show for many ARMYs in Toronto. J-Hope and Jimin were practically grinning from ear to ear. I was surprised to see how tall they were in person. Bangtan Boys was very generous with their crowd interaction, with Suga often pointing the mic to the fans and getting everybody pumped up.
Probably the best part of the show was Bangtan’s shout-out and fanservice to Toronto. Rap Monster made the crowd laugh with a joke about maple syrup, and J-Hope did a silly and cute dance while asking if A.R.M.Y’s would sight-see with them! It was pretty clear that they had brushed up on their English and actually took the time to do some research about Canada. Then once everybody was aching for some music again, the next songs turned out to be an electric “DOPE” and “Boy In Luv”. A security guard looked slightly amused, perhaps at how the audience sang along perfectly in Korean.
There was a short intermission before BTS ended the night with the final song “I Need U”, and the theatre exploded into applause before preparing for hi-touch and engagement.
All in all, BTS was flawless and amazing as expected. In regards to general show organization and the cost involved, BTS ultimately only sang a whopping total of 4 songs, with no encore. In fact, the entire show took place in less than one hour.
While the Toronto fans still lived up to their reputation as being lively and kind fans, there was no denying the sense of disappointment. There was no obvious celebration of fashion whatsoever, despite the headline reading “A Night of Music and Fashion”. The fan engagement portion took almost an hour to organize, and similarly to the US tour stops, fans photos were 25 per picture instead of the promised 8-10. All these factors combined with technical issues, makes one question whether a small packed venue does justice to a group like Bangtan Boys.
However, it’s undeniable that Toronto absolutely loves BTS, and would consider the boys one of the top popular groups currently. We are wishing for their return soon, with the support of a full concert or professionally managed performance.
Did you attend the BTS Highlight tour? What did you think?
Editor’s note: We’re sorry that there are no photos but unlike most concerts, shows and festivals, photography – even by accredited media – wasn’t allowed. Otherwise, we would have lots of great pics of BTS for you. Our apologies.