In the span of five years, K-pop has grown from a niche segment of the diverse U.S. music scene to one the hottest genres in the entire country. The band most responsible for the growth is BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys. In 2014 and 2015, BTS embarked on its Red Bullet Tour, its first international concert tour, where they performed in front of 80,000 total fans. Follow the rise of BTS through their performances in Chicago, from the Rosemont Theatre to Soldier Field. Scroll down to learn more. scroll
BTS' concert at Rosemont Threatre was the group's introduction to the Midwest. The audience was mostly fans from Illinois and Wisconsin. German folk group Milky Chance, playing just a few miles away at the Aragon Ballroom that same night, sold twice as many tickets as BTS did that evening. The average price of a ticket for the BTS Rosemont Theatre show was $241, showing that the group's early fans were small in number but highly passionate.
Just two years later, BTS returned to the Chicago area. 2017's Wings Tour originally did not feature a concert in the Windy City, but a show at the Allstate Arena was added several weeks after the tour was announced. The surge in BTS' popularity had long since begun, with fans lining up six hours before the doors opened. While BTS was not a known commodity outside of the K-pop world yet, it was--by far--the biggest concert in the U.S. that night, outselling Bon Jovi, Panic at the Disco, Stevie Nicks and others. The average ticket price for this show was $229.
Less than a week before BTS made history at Citi Field, becoming the first K-pop act to perform at a U.S. stadium, the group took its Love Yourself Tour to the United Center for what fans described as a carnival-like atmosphere--in the best possible way. At this point there was no question the group was crossing into the mainstream. Ticket prices averaged $409 and fans from around the world traveled to attend the show. BTS would later go on to earn Vivid Seats' 2018 Artist of the Year honors.
The culmination of BTS mania in Chicago is seen in the group's Soldier Field concert in 2019. By this time, BTS had already performed on Saturday Night Live and booked a concert for Good Morning America. A group that played in front of 4,000 fans less than five years earlier took the stage at a venue reserved for the largest music stars on the globe. The BTS Army took over Chicago and packed Soldier Field, paying, on average, $285 a ticket.
Each red square represents 500 seats.