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“Once you come to a BTS concert, you can’t go anywhere else!” Suga boldly joked in BTS’ 2021 FESTA video. The same statement can be totally true for his own solo concerts. The BTS rapper and producer brought the house down in the first two shows of his D-Day world tour at UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, on April 26th and 27th, 2023. He’s the first member from the wildly successful K-Pop group to embark on a solo tour after the group announced they would be pursuing their own projects before going into the South Korean military. His performances spanned his whole career and were packed with ferocious and emotional moments that are to the fullest degree, unforgettable.
Carried by dancers with the background of harsh thunder and sights of a storm, Suga was laid down peacefully in the middle of the elaborate stage. The traditional strings of “Haegeum” prompted him to jump up into an explosive set and there was no backing down from there. His prolific rap song “Daechwita” echoed with its thumping trap beats and the crowd sang back to him, affirming that he was indeed a king and a boss. The next track, the eponymous “Agust D” confirmed it wholeheartedly. As “give it to me” played over, segments of the stage rose slowly and flames erupted from beneath—starting a remarkable entrance into the tour.
After the roaring first four songs, the star of the night introduced himself. “I’m Suga or Agust D or Yunki,” he said with a grin, referring to his stage name, alter ego and real name. The three names differentiated the unique parts of his musical path, but the concert chronicled them all together under one roof. He stepped back and performed “Trivia 轉 : Seesaw” on an acoustic guitar decorated by the other six members of BTS—a little memento to take on the road from his core group and to perform one of the beloved songs from the Love Yourself era.
As more parts of the stage rose up to the ceiling, Suga took the audience to several cozy nooks that were just unveiled and performed the chill and relaxing track “SDL” on a lounge chair. He harked back to two different eras of Agust D with “People” from D-2 which seamlessly transitioned to “People Pt.2 (feat. IU)” from his latest album D-Day. His debut full-length album was released five days before the tour started. Still, the crowd sang in a unifying chorus for both songs with the former asking “Why so serious?” and the latter decorated by IU’s delicate vocals.
It steadily flowed to “Moonlight,” a song that travels the inner workings of his mind and the pursuits of writing a song. He reflected in the catchy hook, “A lot changed in my life, but / That moonlight is still the same.” The pensive moment is halted by “Burn It (feat. Max)” where inferno was inevitable and his raps and verses were quite literally, fire.
Though the concert was incredibly distinct from a normal BTS concert, Suga devoted a chunk of the concert to his raps within the group’s discography. “Interlude: Shadow” mimicked the music video where he contemplates his life as an idol and the hidden darkness of fame. “The moment I’m flying high as I wished / My shadow grows in that blasting stark light / Please don’t let me shine / Don’t let me down, don’t let me fly,” he sang after stating he wants to be a “rap star,” “rock star” and a “king.” A medley of “BTS Cypher Pt. 3” and “BTS Cypher Pt. 4,” sans his rap-line mates j-hope (who just joined the military) and RM, sparked endless vibrancy. It led to the undercuts of the threatening “UGH!” and the highly coveted unreleased track “Ddaeng.” The momentum heated up for “HuH?! (feat. j-hope)” which the text in the background screen aggressively imitated the vigor of the lyrics “What the shit, do you know about me?”
The energy settled afterward when Suga stood up to the mic stand, but not without loud barking from ARMY. His face was puzzled and simultaneously entertained. (He later asked the crowd, “Did someone train you guys?”) He walked down the stairs to perform a “familiar and not familiar” song on a grand piano garnished with a bottle of whiskey and water. “Life Goes On,” a song originally from BTS’ 2020 album Be, was reworked and revolved around Suga’s verse on 2023’s D-Day. “Life goes on,” he repeated until ending with a beautiful suspended glissando outro.
It’s actually a poignant introduction to a clip of Suga’s documentary Road to D-Day where he meets his musical hero Ryuichi Sakamoto, who passed away weeks before the album’s release. The Japanese musical genius worked on “Snooze” with Suga and also features Woosung of The Rose. The chords Sakamoto plays on the piano reverberates when Yunki performs the song live and his passion for music and storytelling is clearly on display. Yunki honored his legacy with a simple phrase on a black screen, “I wish you peace in your long journey.”
Venturing into the more vulnerable tracks “Polar Night” and “AMYGDALA,” Suga’s stage increasingly unravels as he reveals more of his personal struggles on the path to fame. The ground floor was entirely in flames as he sang, “What didn’t kill me only made me stronger /And I begin to bloom like a lotus flower once again.”
As he walked into the first song of the encore, “D-Day,” his stage was completely gone and only had a few platform props to make him visible beyond the crowd. He climbed up a small elevated stage and waved to every corner of the arena in “Intro: NEVER MIND,” before being surveilled by dozens of cameras surrounding him in the last song, aptly titled “The Last.” He gave his all while shouting the lyrics, “My pride which I thought I had given away / Has turned into self-respect/ My fans, keep your head high with pride / Because who can do it like me” before a spruce of flares shot up into the air and immediately the house lights flashed on, and he was walking confidently away from the mic and the crowd. And with those steps going off stage, he cemented his place as one of the best and most captivating K-Pop producers and performers to date.
Suga / Agust D D-Day Tour Setlist
- “Agust D”
- “give it to me”
- “Trivia 轉 : Seesaw “
- “People” + “People Pt.2 (feat. IU)”
- “Burn It”
- “Interlude : Shadow”
- “BTS Cypher PT.3 : KILLER + BTS Cypher 4 ” Medley
- “UGH!” + “Ddaeng” + “HuH?!”
- “Life Goes On”
- “Polar Night”
- “Intro : NEVER MIND”
- “The Last”
Tickets to the Suga / Agust D D-Day Tour are available now. Here’s where to get them.
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