"Did we get it?!" A fan takes us through her Hunger Games-esque experience buying BTS concert tickets

"Did we get it?!" A fan takes us through her Hunger Games-esque experience buying BTS concert tickets

BTS are heading back on the road for the first time in two years.

After having to officially cancel their postponed 2020 world tour, Map of the Soul (MOTS), the global superstars surprised fans by announcing a 4-night residency later this year at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Titled Permission to Dance On Stage, after their Billboard Hot 100 hit, the concert series will be the GRAMMY-nominated group's first performances with a live audience since 2019's Love Yourself, Speak Yourself: The Final held in Seoul, Korea.

The news came after BTS addressed the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York as part of their Presidential Envoy duties with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The trip to New York was also the first time the group has flown out of Korea since the pandemic, and many fans took this as a sign of good things to come.

BTS' 'PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE': A spectacular prelude to live concerts – gig report

Since the announcement, fans across the globe have been scrambling for presale ticket codes, plus flight tickets, information on vaccine and quarantine regulations, available accommodations, and making plans to meet up with fellow fans.

With the concerts happening in late November and early December, tickets went on sale last week - numerous presales took place for MOTS ticket holders, BTS ARMY MEMBERSHIP holders, and Verified Fans - selling out hundreds of thousands of tickets for all 4 nights of the limited concert run. A general sale, scheduled on 9 October, was declared cancelled by Ticketmaster, with all shows selling out within a week's notice, citing "overwhelming past purchaser and Verified Fan presale demand".

Obscenely overpriced tickets have since shown up on reselling sites and Twitter, with fans encouraging each other to not empower scalpers and sellers taking advantage of fans who have been patiently waiting for 2 years - watching virtual concerts in the time being -  to see the biggest band in the world live on the concert stage again.

Mabie Alagbate, a Filipino BTS fan based in the US tells us all about her Hunger Games-esque experience buying tickets for her very first BTS concert. 


My road to BTS' Permission to Dance On Stage - LA started in Santee Alley. 

I was with my friends, making the most of my remaining time in LA before I caught my bus back to San Francisco, when I received the email notification from LiveNation. The subject read “BTS Permission to Dance Live Concert.”

“This is LIVE??? As in, in person? In LA? What. Why?” 

I was confused and in a state of disbelief. And then came the instructions on how to get tickets. 

This is it. The Hunger Games is coming.

Beginner’s Luck

I am a Baby Army, born of the BE era, led to the rabbit hole by V (and ironically, his Hwarang hyungs), lurking since the 'Boy with Luv' performance at the Stephen Colbert show, curiosity intensified with the carpool karaoke, and finally pushed to the edge to freefall by Map of the Soul: 7—'Black Swan,' most specifically. It’s only been less than a year since my “coming out” as a full-fledged ARMY. Surely, I couldn’t be *this* lucky to have the chance to already see them perform live. 

And yet there it was. Four dates in total. Right then and there, I signed up for ARMY membership on Weverse, and then proceeded to follow the steps to register as a Verified Fan for Ticketmaster’s presale. 

The Only Freebie You Get from the PreSale is Stress

The instructions were supposed to be simple enough. VIP ticket holders for the cancelled Maps of the Soul (MOTS) Tour were going to have first dibs upon the opening of the presale. Then, it will be followed by the general ticket holders for MOTS on Day 2, Verified ARMYs on Day 3, and then unverified ARMY, and the general public on Day 4.

A friend’s mom, Tita Susan, our OG lola (grandma) ARMY, was a ticket holder for MOTS, and so was eligible for the second day of the presale. She was gracious enough to let me and another SF ARMY friend, Carmina, go along for the ride. 

We made arrangements to hop on Zoom at 2:30 PM so we can walk through the ticketing process together. Just before the set time, however, we decided to settle for a chat instead so that Tita Susan can focus on the ticketing system. A few minutes before the queue opened, her laptop showed a system error. 

Crap, we’re still in Mercury retrograde, I remembered. But never mind; she simply logged into her Ticketmaster account using her phone, and we were back in business. When the queue opened at 3 PM, there were over 2,000 people ahead of her, said Ticketmaster. It was moving, but moving slow. But patience comes to those who wait, so we waited. With bated breaths, with the occasional screams, and absolutely without refreshing the page. 

All of a sudden, at around 5 PM, the numbers started dropping—fast. Very fast. 1740. 977. 814. 651. 488. 225. 75.

... 1. All in a span of three minutes. I stopped chatting. I didn’t want to cause any distractions. I was holding my breath, wishing that she got the tickets we needed for Day 1, just as we wanted. She came back to the chat frustrated.

All the seats were taken for the concert’s first day, and she was pushed back to the queue for the second date instead. By this time, we had already been on Ticketmaster for almost three hours. She kept trying but the system kept kicking her out. And then her phone froze. 

It was time to throw in the towel. I checked my email and heaved a sigh of relief to find Ticketmaster’s notification about my eligibility for the presale the next day. I knew that if we didn’t get any tickets then, it was going to be highly unlikely that there would be any more left for the general public sale. I went to Twitter and Reddit, and started reading about other people’s experiences on the sale. Friends rooting for us also sent us helpful resources so we could optimize our chances. 

And then another conundrum: I had a prior appointment at 4 PM that same day as my presale schedule. I would have to leave at 3:30 PM to make it on time, which means that I only have 30 minutes to line up, grab seats, and complete the payment transaction, give or take maybe once or twice getting kicked out of the system. 

If Day 2 of the presale that I experienced vicariously through Tita Susan was any indication, I was going to need at least a couple of hours just waiting in line. Fortunately, and true to the Bangtan Boys’ mantra of “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work,” Carmina stepped up and offered to hold the line, so to speak.

I made sure my payment details were updated and ready to be fired on Ticketmaster, and then gave her EVERYTHING. Card details, Ticketmaster login details, Paypal details (in case the card doesn’t go through)—she literally could bring financial ruin upon me if she were to be so inclined. But I trust her fully, and I knew our chances for getting tickets were in good hands. 

She wasn’t familiar with the Ticketmaster interface, though, so I had to walk her through it first the night before. We reviewed the tips and pointers shared to us by our other friends as well, and made contingency plans for contingency plans.

Bottom line: Get in line early, DO NOT REFRESH, DO NOT HESITATE.

By 12.30 PM on the day of our presale, she logged in to Ticketmaster, and refused to touch anything else on her keyboard. She was screen sharing via Zoom so we could go through the process together. I made sure that I was logged out from my Ticketmaster account on my own devices, as we’ve been repeatedly warned that having multiple devices logged into one account can be grounds to be kicked out of the system. 

Suddenly, the queue started moving. Again, very fast. Too fast. We had only been in line for 17 minutes. This was not what I experienced yesterday. We were redirected for a solid couple of minutes before finally, we got to pick seats. We knew we only had some three minutes to select and make the purchase before we got kicked out, so we tried to get the most viable seats for us as fast as we could.

We got kicked out. Someone beat us to the punch, but somehow, just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, Ticketmaster froze. 

“DON’T REFRESH!” In my head, I thought I sounded calm but firm when I said that, but for all I know, I could have yelled it right in her ear too. 

“Don’t refresh. Open a new tab and copy the same link.”

We both heaved a sigh of relief. We weren’t pushed to the back of the queue, but instead, we were right back at the selection of seats. 

We were hit with another error. “The number of seats selected are over the allowed maximum tickets per account holder.” She immediately unclicked all selections. “Which one?” “Just get any! Doesn’t matter if we’re not seated together.”

We found a row with three available seats, but not together. That’s okay, we’ll take that. Click. Next. Payment. Next:

“You Got ‘Em! Let the Anticipation Begin!” We froze, silent. 

“Did we get it?” Wary and cautious. We’ve had our hearts broken before. 

“OMIGOOOOD!!! Success!!!” We were squealing and screaming and once again in pure disbelief that we managed to pull it off. 

I left that Ticketmaster tab verifying our ticket purchase open for the next two days. 


BTS' Permission To Dance On Stage in LA is happening on 27, 28 November and 1, 2 December. BTS will livestream the last day of the concert series (3 December at 12:30 PM KST (10:30 AM JKT, 11:30 AM PHT/SGT) via VenewLive.


Watch BTS perform 'Mikrokosmos' here: