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BTS gives fans ‘Permission to Shriek’ at first Allegiant Stadium show

Updated April 9, 2022 - 12:32 pm

I had two thoughts coming into Friday night’s BTS show at Allegiant Stadium. One was a review of a Beatles concert at Atlanta Stadium in 1965. The writer misfired on the title of the song “I’m Down,” for “I’m Gone,” saying that when the song was gone, so was the band.

The other was something Carlos Santana said to me a few years ago, as EDC was coming to town. We were talking of new music, different trends. The guitar legend said, “I don’t want to be like my father was, shaking my fist at the new artists. I want to embrace them.”

Of course, both of those thoughts were blown out by so much purple noise. Ever hear phrases like, “The din of a jet engine, right next to your head?” That applies to a BTS show. “Permission To Dance” could easily be called “Permission To Shriek.” It’s a scream-scape for the approximately 40,000 fans at the first of four sold-out shows at Allegiant.

The seven-member troupe of Jin, Suga, JHope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook didn’t wait until the finale to unleash the pyro. That happened at the start, during “On” and “Burning Up (Fire).” The stage ran the width of what we usually know as the stadium’s south end zone (opposite the Al Davis Memorial torch). Giant, ever-present video panels back that stage, with the fireworks, strobes and party cannons blasting from the front.

A lighted runway stretches to a square stage in the center of the venue. BTS is reportedly worth $100 million and spends lavishly on its stage set, which is the scale of The Rolling Stones and shows that have also rumbled through Allegiant Stadium.

The BTS lineup can actually feel lost in all those technical effects, and also its 30-member (by our count) army of dancers. But three songs in, we hear from each, as they wear red-and-white, Formula One-style racing suits. Each starts with some variation of, “Heeey! Las Vegaaaas!” before being drowned out.

The mood quelled for “Black Swan,” which hints at ballet movements and played after a backstage video tour. The guys don chic black suits with silver chains and roam freely around the auxiliary stage.

The show was supposed to be three hours long, if pre-show buzz was to be believed. It ran about 2 1/2, with much of the time filled with videos pinned between songs. The guys also spent several minutes in the latter stages of the performance chatting with each other and the crowd.

They all thanked the Army, the name adopted by their worldwide following, for showing up four the series of sold-out shows at Allegiant Stadium (four viewing-party shows at MGM Grand Garden have also sold out), and said they would love to come back to Vegas again.

Unfortunately, audience members struggled to discern what was being called out by the band, other than such touchstone words as “Love!” and “You!” and “Vegas!” This was a night where the sound at Allegiant echoed through the building. The sound quality at the covered stadium has been characteristically inconsistent, great for the Stones and Metallica, but cavernous during the Garth Brooks and Billy Joel shows (Joel even mentioned the “slap back” during his opening number).

But the band is so visually dynamic, sound is often a secondary concern. The crowd rejoiced through their hits “Dynamite” and “Butter,” songs currently blasting from the Bellagio Fountains shos. The former was set in a nighclub scene, with the guys dealing classic disco moves. scene overlooking the stage. The latter was played to a stage of pulsating, golden checkerboard squares.

The also band trekked around the lower level of the stadium on a pair of camera cranes, slowly rolling just feet from the fans. Led which led to even heightened hysteria.

The heavily hyped show did not start as planned. The opening for the show scheduled to start at 7:30 was instead pushed back to about 8:20 because of operational concerns. In technical terms, the A/V system choked at the home of the Raiders. As we say, fumble.

Brianna Deleon of Phoenix spent two hours waiting in the online queue for presale tickets. She was able to buy her ticket in the lower level for $275. The 26-year-old was asked why she would spend that money to trek to Vegas for this show. She answered as if she’d been asked before. “I want to see my seven husbands!“

She has competition, but somehow every person in this crowd felt the love.

Monday night fever

Anderson .Paak of Silk Sonic and Grammy-winning record producer Rogét Lutfi Chahayed visited “Fantasy” at Luxor on Monday night. .Paak remarked to the cast, “This is the best Monday night I’ve ever had.”

‘Love’ for Harrison

Olivia Harrison, widow of George Harrison, caught Saturday’s “Love” performance at the Mirage a night before accepting the Grammy for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for “All Things Must Pass.” Harrison’s solo masterpiece celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Groovers, everywhere

All five members of the Backstreet Boys made it to “Michael Jackson One” on April 1. Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson attended the production in advance of their run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which started Friday.

That Elvis

Veteran Elvis tribute artist Dean Diamond was the Elvis performer who presided over the “dress rehearsal” wedding ceremony for Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker late Sunday/early Monday at One Love Wedding Chapel.

Diamond almost didn’t answer the call to perform the service.

“It was like at 2 a.m., and I had a big day ahead of weddings planned for Monday,” Diamond said Friday. “But I heard it was a celebrity. Actually, I heard it might be Khloé Kardashian. But I’ll take any of the Kardashians.”

Diamond typically works at the Little Neon Chapel at Neonopolis. “The fact that I took this call was kind of a fluke. But Travis was very pleased.” Diamond, who also pens his own originals, sang “A Mess of Blues,” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” As Elvis said, “I got into it. They really liked the karate kicks.”

Cool Hang Alert

Longtime column fave Frankie Moreno returns to Myron’s at the Smith Smith Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Moreno has just released the “re-mixed, re-mastered, re-imagined” album “Unknown Artist.” The man never stops. Tickets for Tuesday are $37-$49, not including taxes. Hit thesmithcenter.com for details.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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