[RECAP] BTS’ SUGA Flaunts His Superstardom at the Kia Forum


Of all the things BTS’ SUGA is good at, performing in the most calculated and precise manner and molding himself into whatever character he wants is his best. Performing at the second to last stop of the SUGA | Agust D ‘D-DAY’ Tour at the Kia Forum for three sold-out nights, he stunned the crowd of tens of thousands through his electrifying and mesmerizing rapping and even invited a few special guests to the stage on two of the dates. 

After nearly ten years of performances with BTS, many would think they knew SUGA well. But this tour revealed more. Everything was perfectly married, a sweet synergy of all three of his personas: BTS’ SUGA, his alter-ego Agust D, and the person Min Yoongi

Even before the show began, the ASMR of the thundering rain echoed loudly in everyone’s eardrums, invoking a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of film noir. While it was initially calming, it grew louder and more unsettling as showtime grew closer. The screen went black, showing the disclaimer. A crash broke the calming rain as sparks flashed across the stage before a VCR started with an aerial shot of Yoongi lying on the floor. This was a nod to his major motorcycle accident when he was a trainee while delivering food as a side job. As he lay on the floor, the screen flashed with the Hong Kong movie-esque title of the tour. 

As the thundering rain continued to fall, punctuated by lightning streaks across the main screen, a thick fog of smoke spilled over the stage. A group of dancers carried SUGA ceremoniously to the middle, laying him down before his newest single, “Haegeum,” began to play. A single “yo” came out of his mouth before he jumped up as the song began. 


SUGA executed calculated moves from the beginning, stealthily inching towards each corner of the stage, then another, while he perfectly and comfortably spat out the radical lyrics, encouraging the audience to break free from the chains of society. He was dressed in all-black Valentino, appropriate for him as he was the brand ambassador for the fashion house. 

Backup dancers wearing hoodies emerged as “Daechwita” began. SUGA donned a coat while the lights began to flash rapidly to the beat. ARMY jumped along, shouting out the lyrics word for word before going completely and respectfully silent during the iconic second half of the second verse as SUGA rapidly fired his way through it. The screams and sing-a-longs were incredibly loud for the rapper, and the venue grew even more boisterous and scorching hot from the intensity through “Agust D” and “Give it to Me” from his first mixtape.

At one point, SUGA rapped faster than a song’s original speed, not even stopping to take a breath, like a dragon breathing fire at his opponents, obliterating everything in sight. SUGA was decimating his enemies with every verse, showing off his prowess as a bonafide rapper rockstar, unrestricted and unwavering in his conviction. He was immersed in the mind space from years ago when the first mixtape was released. The crowd loved every single second of it. This was the Agust D people came to see, Min Yoongi’s cool and slick alter ego. 

All throughout the first part, SUGA took sips of what seemed to be a mix of Hennessy and what looked like light green tea, departing from the wholesome and family-friendly vibe of a full-group BTS concert to a more adult and unfiltered hip-hop one. Everything he did earned barks from the audience, something that SUGA smiled widely over. Over the course of three days, SUGA would ask the audience to yell even louder, loud enough to wake up the usually quaint neighborhood of Inglewood. He was enjoying himself, basking in the glory of the fruits of his labor. All of that hard work peaked during those moments. All of those struggles in his life were worth it.  

As time went on, the stage panels began to slowly lift into the ceiling, creating less space for the rapper to perform.  While normally, the restricted space might stifle movement, SUGA’s movements were not restrained but rather comfortable and energetic. He was pulling his walls down one by one as each song dug deeper into his painful past, accompanied by the pure adrenaline of the gritty action sequences of the VCRs. In them, he was killing his alter ego and burning down a dollhouse, a microcosm of his actual feelings about fame and his flaws. 

He didn’t need the shields of Agust D and BTS’ SUGA anymore. He could be himself. 


The entire show was more than copious amounts of pyrotechnics and a gorgeous display of strobing lights. SUGA flaunted his guitar and piano skills through an acoustic version of “Trivia : Seesaw” and his rendition of “Life Goes On.” The rapper also went through his R&B songs like “SDL” and “People Pt. 2.” In contrast to the hyped-up tracks, SUGA was relaxed, throwing the mic back to the audience to sing along to the chorus, something that the audience was incredibly good at. It was a nice way to fill in the space of the missing featured artist, IU. A few audience members started tearing up during the fan favorite, “People,” a song that SUGA also admitted he grew attached to in recent years during the pandemic.  

Some special guests came through for the L.A. dates, including MAX’s surprise appearance for fiery “Burn It” for the May 11 show and Halsey for a first-time performance of “SUGA’s Interlude” for the May 14 show. Both appearances were met with deafening screams of support, particularly for Halsey, who has been a major supporter of the band as a whole. 

The cursing was also at an all-time high and was incredibly freeing, unrestrained from the confinements of being an idol rapper. Particularly, SUGA elongated the word “fuck” during the intro of “Moonlight” and also flipped off the audience during his verse in “Cypher Pt. 4.” Min Yoongi was in his element, and there was nothing stopping him from being his true self on stage. 

The hip-hop medley was a delight, recreating the energetic buzz from the first half of the show with fervor and pure, ecstatic fun. SUGA sped through his verses from “Cypher Pt. 3: Killer,” “Cypher Pt. 4,” “UGH!,” “Ddaeng,” and “HUH?!” as the audience continued to follow the rapper bar by bar, verse by verse. As the lights strobed along, it was clear that SUGA and ARMY were one, headbanging and hopping against the banging instrumentals. 

A highlight was definitely “Snooze,” a collaborative track between the late Ryuichi Sakamoto and The Rose’s Woosung. As SUGA convinced himself that “everything will be okay,” he lowered his head in defeat by the end, dripped in sweat and exhaustion. Another was “Amygdala,” a deep and painfully personal song for SUGA himself as he detailed his mom’s heart surgery and his father’s cancer diagnosis. As he stood on the last panel, he fell to the floor, going back to being hoisted and taken off stage by the backup dancers as the stage, now deconstructed, burned around him.

Eventually, SUGA became eye level with the audience for the encore stages, creating memories by taking other people’s Samsung phones as he grinned cheekily and mischievously (while specifically only looking at Samsungs, a running gag as they’re the direct sponsor for the tour). The rapper also sang “Happy Birthday” to an international ARMY whose sign read “SUGA, today’s my birthday!” on the first night and pointed out a fan who he remembered from BTS’ reality show, “American Hustle Life.”

“A lot of things have changed in the past ten years. I think we performed at a club to 300 to 400 people. Now, there’s 16,000 of you guys here,” SUGA said for his final ment on the final show. “As a performer, it makes me so happy to see the audience have such a good time.” 


The last song was aptly and appropriately called “The Last.” As the main screen flashed several CCTV video angles of him, SUGA went through the dark lyrics of his visit to the psychologist: “On the first visit to psychiatric ward / My parents came up with me / We listened to the consultation together / My parents said they don’t truly understand me / I don’t understand myself well either.” While the lyrics were depressing, SUGA rapped with conviction and passion, baring his soul confidently to the audience in front of him. At that point, he was Min Yoongi as he burned through other parts of himself in the film noir VCRs. As the stage began to spark up to signify the malfunction of the CCTV cameras, Yoongi walked off stage plainly as the venue lights turned on, showing the true nature underneath everything: his humanity. 

SUGA is a force with the rapping skills of a dragon breathing fire. Agust D is a larger-than-life alter ego who went to great lengths to not kill his idol image. 

Min Yoongi, however, is simply a liberated human being.

All photos courtesy of BIGHIT MUSIC.

  1. アメリカでのツアー大成功おめでとうございます!ツアーでの自信にあふれる姿が凄くカッコいいです!ますます大好きになりました!アジアツアーも楽しんで頑張って下さい!!応援してます!

  2. Best concert ever! From concept to execution of the concept, from setlist to performance, from emotional vocals to rapid fire rapping – everything worked together to create a concert to remember for all time 💜

  3. Great article!
    I was there on Day 3 LA. What a show it was, Halsey appearance was icing on the cake.

  4. Reading this article a year later and reminiscing on that time. I got choked up. It was one of the greatest moments in life.

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