Fans at the first show for K-pop sensation BTS in South Korea since the pandemic began were banned from singing along or cheering due to strict coronavirus rules.
More than 10,000 fans descended on the Olympic Stadium in the capital Seoul for the performance on Thursday but could only show their support for the band with glow sticks and clapping.
The K-pop group’s management company, Big Hit Music, reminded supporters on Instagram that cheering, yelling and standing up was strictly prohibited due to government guidelines.
South Korea is facing a surge in Omicron cases and recorded a new daily high of 342,446 of coronavirus infections on Wednesday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
The band’s last concert for South Korean fans was held in October 2019 before the pandemic began.
During the show, the band’s supporters – known as the ARMY – wore masks and waved glow sticks.
One band member shared how happy he was to see fans again.
“ARMY are here standing in front of us,” he said, “it is so touching and I’m so excited.”
Although the restrictions meant fans could not sing along, it did not stop them enjoying themselves.
One fan, Kim Jeoung-Eun, 42, said: “If I can exaggerate, today is the best and most anticipated day of my life. It’s a day that I can relive for another three years by watching today’s [concert].”
Masks are compulsory in public places and on public transport in South Korea.
BTS is one of the most popular groups in the world and was one of the top three most streamed artists in the world on Spotify in 2021.
Some of the band’s most famous songs include hit tracks Dynamite and Butter.
The show was one of three performances of the band’s ‘Permission to Dance on Stage’ tour.
The group has more than 60.7 million followers on Instagram and 42.7 million followers on TikTok.
The band held their first in-person concert since the pandemic in Los Angeles in November last year.