For BTS’ SUGA, concluding the journey of Agust D, for now, has been an intriguing experience and the trilogy of this music series titled D-DAY was released earlier this year. Ahead of his first solo tour, SUGA said, "I’ve been preparing for my first solo tour for months. As much as I worked hard on it, I feel confident and am excited to meet our ARMY. I hope everyone enjoys the show.” While India still awaits the first-ever concert of BTS (which could have happened a few years ago but their tour was cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic), Bollywood Hungama journalist flew to Bangkok to attend the SUGA | Agust D TOUR ‘D-DAY’ show. The high in-demand three-day sold-out shows were everything and beyond everyone hoped for.
Agust D in Bangkok: BTS’ SUGA holds his own on his explosive debut solo tour as he makes a glorious artistic statement
Just like the powerhouse performer that SUGA is, the second-day concert (June 10, 2023) kicked off with thunderstorms, and rains amid the throbbing lights and purple haze as the VCR played in the background in which he met with an accident, which was derived from his real-life experience when he worked as a deliveryman. As a bunch of dancers carried SUGA on stage in their arms, he kicked off the first track ‘Haegeum’ which led to the loudest of cheers, chants, and a huge roar at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. The track name, which is a reference to a traditional Korean instrument, also refers to the self-liberation which SUGA feels on stage. One could feel the pulsating energy in the audience as he devours the performance and commands the stage. The opening act setlist includes ‘Daechwita’, ‘Agust D’, and ‘Give It To Me’ before SUGA takes his first break to introduce himself to the crowd. Just as SUGA’s first “gummy” smile appears on the big screen, BTS’ fans (ARMY) cheer for him with the lightsticks lighting up the entire arena celebrating the glorious arrival of the musician ahead of his group’s 10th anniversary.
As the introduction comes to an end, stripped down version of ‘Trivia 轉: Seesaw’ which playing the guitar, ‘SDL’, ‘People’, ‘People Pt. 2 feat IU’ enchant the crowd as SUGA showcases his vocal prowess, something he worked on for years after being the resident rapper of BTS. He concludes the first set with ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Burn It’ feat MAX. His strength is his power-packed stage presence and his rap abilities, as always, left the audience amazed with a ferocious medley of fiery tracks like ‘Interlude: Shadow’, ‘Cypher pt.3: Killer’, ‘Cypher pt.4’, ‘UGH!’, absolute fan-favorite ‘Ddaeng’, and ‘HUH?!’ This particular part of the concert goes so hard, one could actually combust into flames – WELL, I DID!
For the 30-year-old songwriter-rapper-producer, this third part journey of Agust D has been a journey itself, and he takes the fans on the same expedition with his multiple segments titled as Yunki who “exists in memory,” while SUGA is “lost in memory,” and Agust D is “the Chaser”. Blending the songs from the first two mixtapes Agust D, D-2, and album D-DAY, SUGA once again solidified his identity as a multi-faceted artist. Be it the emotional tracks like ‘AMYGDALA’ ‘Snooze’ or ‘Polar Night’, the audience was left mesmerized as he narrated the complexity of life. The unique stage set-up with throbbing lights, riveting VCRs and multiple segments portrays SUGA’s own narrative as an artist by revealing his most candid self but also gave the audience a never-before-seen live performance experience. SUGA also paid tribute to the veteran legend Ryuichi Sakamoto with whom he collaborated on one of the finest written and produced tracks on D-DAY called ‘Snooze’ which features The Rose’s Woosung.
The concert concludes with a three-track encore that includes ‘D-Day’ from his latest album D-DAY promising the audience that ‘future is gonna be ok” followed by the 2015 track ‘Intro: Never Mind’ and closes with ‘The Last’ from self-titled Agust D mixtape where he croons “My pride that I thought I had sold now becomes my self-respect / My fans, keep your head up proudly / Who else would do as much as I do? Uh.” The concluding theme of all three letting go of pain, sorrow and anger and embracing the new era with a promise to the fans that just like his experience, the future is indeed going to be okay in the face of adversity. SUGA comforts the fans through this track and leaves the audience on a high, which indeed feels like “he doesn’t like to say goodbyes but wants to always meet the fans with new music and only good vibes.”
On his debut solo world tour, which kicked off in the US and will conclude in Seoul later this month marking the Korean pop titans BTS’ 10th anniversary, SUGA has cemented his space as a performer who is enigmatic, compelling, and endearing. He has pushed boundaries as a storyteller and has, in turn, proven once again that he is one of the glorious entertainers of this generation.
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