The rapper-producer, Agust D, is nominated for a Grammy and will appear in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland next. Suga is the first member of BTS to start a solo tour of the United States, one of several firsts the group has achieved.
The 30-year-old rapper performed songs from his two mixtapes and one official album, the recently released D-Day while introducing himself on stage at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York, on Wednesday and Thursday nights as Suga, his other stage name, Agust D, and his birth name, Yoongi.
The Grammy-nominated K-pop star, who is frequently referred to as the most severe or unhappy member of the group, surprised fans who expected him to take a more subdued approach to his performance with a full-force, BTS-level spectacle that included artistic set pieces, cinematic videos, and every special effect that is permitted in an arena.
But there is a certain darkness on Suga’s stage. Suga is taken out by a gang of hooded men, who then drop him on the ground as a prone figure in a simulated rain shower. The song “Amygdala” music video can be heard in the background. It opens with a literal bang: a flash of light and the shrieking sound of a motorcycle crash.
The music thankfully revives the rapper, and he begins to perform “Haegeum,” the intense, pounding hit from D-Day, before performing “Daechwita” from his second mixtape, “Agust D,” and “give it to Me,” both from his first.
Even the most ardent BTS supporters, collectively known as the “Army,” were taken aback by the shape-shifting performance because this was the group’s official debut, as opposed to Permission to Dance On Stage, which was initially performed in (and streamed from) South Korea.
Here is a tweet related to this topic:
Suga Kicks Off Solo U.S. Tour with 3 Sold-Out New York Shows — the First Member of BTS to Do So https://t.co/TmDU6MgV1G
— People (@people) May 2, 2023
Throughout the performance, parts of the stage are raised to reveal brand-new settings, including a living room with an antique TV and another with an upright piano where the performer accompanied himself during Agust D’s rendition of “Life Goes On.”
The mashup of Suga’s legendary verses from some of the fan-favorite BTS rap line songs—”Cypher PT.3: KILLER,” “Cypher 4,” “UGH!,” and “Ddaeng,” as well as his brand-new duet with member J-Hope, “Huh?!”—led to a fierce uproar from the army.
By the end of the performance, the performer was confined to a small area of the stage, its bottom licked by flames as she delivered a scorching rendition of “Amygdala.” Suga previously revealed that the song is meant to be the third and concluding installment of a trilogy of music videos (after “Daechwita” and “Haegeum”) that reveal the cause of Agust D’s infamous eye scar and provide a rare and candid look into some of the rapper’s most intimate struggles.
Suga Army’s significant commitment to him results from his determination to combat the stigma associated with topics like mental health. He demonstrated this love by performing twice to sold-out crowds at UBS and once at the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday.
He discussed the development of his solo music during his performance, from the anger and need to prove himself to BTS’s detractors that he felt in his teens and early 20s to how he overcame his demons to become the confident musician now at age 30.
Suga performs the title tune “D-Day,” “Nevermind,” and “The Last” as his encore while being surrounded by security cameras watching him from every aspect, which appears to be a heavy metaphor for his life in the spotlight. Suga then makes an appearance at ground level, ostensibly in his least idol-like state.
After an Asia’s leg, the tour continues in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland before closing in Seoul in June.
Suga is the fourth member of BTS to release a full solo album since the group announced last year that they would be concentrating on solo projects and continuing some group activities as the members complete South Korea’s mandatory military service. The other members of BTS are RM, 28, Jin, 30, J-Hope, 29; Jimin, 27; V, 27; and Jungkook, 25.
J-Hope released Jack in the Box and gave a historic Lollapalooza headlining performance; RM released Indigo, which featured Erykah Badu and Anderson Cooper collaborations. Jimin recently released Face, which he promoted with his first solo Tonight Show appearance, along with Anderson Paak and Face. Last fall, Jin and Coldplay released their joint single “The Astronaut,” Jungkook performed the World Cup anthem “Dreamers.” The group’s members have stayed busy with new designer collaborations, TV programs (including V’s “Jinny’s Kitchen”), and other projects.
Each night, Suga gave them all an emotional shout-out on stage, expressing how lonely it was without them and promising they would soon return. He came a little closer to realizing that dream in Newark when his “brother” Jimin made an unexpected appearance in the audience, driving fans into a frenzy. Suga had to sarcastically direct fans’ attention back to the stage by grinning and stating, “Focus on me. This is my performance.