K-pop boyband BTS kicked off the much-anticipated Riyadh Season on Friday with a performance that wowed the group’s Saudi Arabian fans.
International pop sensation BTS– short for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts – took the stage at the at the 68,000-seater King Fahd International Stadium in the Kingdom’s capital.
The band, who are the first international artists to hold a solo stadium concert in Saudi Arabia, opened their show with their hit song “Dionysus,” followed by performances of “Boy with Luv,” “Mic Drop,” and “Dope.”
One member, Jeon Jungkook, dazzled fans when he sang “Euphoria” while he hung from a rope that swung him around the stadium.
Fans were also heartwarmed by an “I love Riyadh” message written in band member Kim Nam-joon’s handwriting that was displayed on a big screen as he sprang into one of his hit rap songs.
The boyband’s concert included choreographed dances, light shows, and fireworks that marked the end of the show.
Fans shared their excitement on Twitter and thanked the seven-member group for their performance.
The boyband, along with their fans, serenaded one of the group’s members with the Arabic version of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate his 24th birthday.
Skyscrapers in Riyadh lit up with purple lights – the band’s signature color – ahead of the sold out show.
While the group has attracted rising fame in the Middle East in recent years, the performance was the boyband’s first show in Saudi Arabia.
In 2016, BTS performed a sold out show at Abu Dhabi’s first Korean cultural convention KCon 2016.
The Dubai Stars, Dubai’s Walk of Fame which will include over 10,000 stars paying tribute to celebrities and eminent personalities, announced this month that the K-pop group will be included on the Walk of Fame after fans voted online to have them inducted. Other celebrities that will be given a star include Nancy Ajram, Salman Khan, and Zachary Levi.
BTS’s most recent album, “Love Yourself: Answer,” was the bestselling album on South Korea’s Gaon Chart with over two million copies sold worldwide.
BTS’s total net worth stands between $45 million to $60 million. According to a 2018 report, they are worth more than $3.6 billion to South Korea’s economy every year – equivalent to the contribution of 26 mid-sized companies. The seven-member group was the first boyband from South Korea to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.
The Riyadh Season is one of the Kingdom’s 11 festival seasons that occur throughout the year, and will run from October 11 to December 15.
Other renowned artists expected to perform during Saudi Arabia’s biggest entertainment event are Bruno Mars, Pitbull, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams, and Usher.
The seasons aim to transform Saudi Arabia into a tourist destination, and provide the country’s residents and visitors with year-round entertainment events, in line with the country’s Vision 2030 economic reform plan.
Each season features a different theme to highlight different aspects of Saudi Arabia’s heritage and culture. The most recent festivals were Jeddah Season, a six-week entertainment which ran from June 8 to July 18, and al-Soudah Season, which included the Flowerman Festival.