BTS‘s special on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon had the world talking as it’s become a legendary feat for both parties. They pulled off a mesmerizing debut performance at the Grand Central Terminal, as they became the second artist in history to perform at the historical station since The Beatle‘s Paul McCartney.
But everything had to be done in utmost secrecy as it was filmed weeks before the official release. And here is how BTS and Jimmy Fallon pulled off the unthinkable:
1. It all started 2 months ago
BTS’s team had their promotions in the US all planned out since December. Their top priority was NBC’s The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. They decided to debut their new title track “ON” performance through the show.
So the team went straight into work, planning out the best performance possible, and they chose the most sought out location in NYC – the Grand Central Terminal.
Back in December, the production staff reached out to us about BTS’s filming. We immediately started to coordinate the schedules and ultimately agreed to film on February 8.
— Grand Central Terminal Representative
2. BTS had to hide until 2 AM
As February 8 was weeks before the release of their album, everything about the show filming and performance had to be top secret. The marching band was the first to arrive that night around 10 pm. BTS arrived soon after around midnight.
The Grand Central Terminal serves about 750,000 people per day, so security had to be on high alert so that no one would recognize BTS or know what was about to be filmed at that location. The station closed around 2 am, and BTS had to remain in hiding deep within the station until everyone was cleared out and the location was secured.
BTS had to remain hidden until 2 am when the terminal officially closed. [The filming] was seriously top priority.
— Grand Central Terminal Representative
3. The 2 hour window
The terminal officially closed at 2 am and BTS was finally able to come out of hiding and up onto the first floor. But they had to hurry because the production team was only allowed 2 hours of filming and nothing more as the cleaning team arrived at 4 am to re-open the terminal at 5:15 am.
Despite the high intensity of their performance and the time restrictions, BTS successfully filmed their performance. The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon revealed that they finished the intricate take in just 3~4 shots.
4. The Tonight Show foots the complete bill
Anyone is able to film at the Grand Central Terminal, but the total fees are daunting to many who reach out about the opportunity. A representative revealed that they receive about 2~30 filming inquiries per year.
But to film at the station, the production team has to foot the bill for floor staff, site safety personnels, and field personnels for each floor.
Despite its hefty bill, Jimmy Fallon’s team paid for everything. This most likely came as a surprise to BTS’s staff as the agencies are usually the ones who have to pay for stage production fees in Korea.
5. BTS’s NYCT Subway
After finishing their filming at the Grand Central Terminal, BTS met up with Jimmy Fallon again 2 days later at one of the NYC subway stops. Jimmy’s team had come up with a brand new segment, called “Subway Special”, for BTS.
Many wondered, “How did BTS film secretly on a subway train when the most lines run 24 hours?” The key was that it wasn’t actually a subway car that is used for actual pedestrians. Jimmy Fallon’s team hired the R160, which is often used for TV or movie productions.
Although the car wasn’t a part of the daily routes for the NYCT, it didn’t cause any inconveniences to the actual routes. The filming crew used a line that was closed, but hired two conductors to run the car between Bowery station and Canal Street back and forth.
The subway route was closed for the night but we opened it briefly for BTS’s filming.
— NYCT Representative
The whole filming took 8 hours, but everyone was wrapped up successfully in secret!
We limited the number of staff members who knew about the filming schedule. That way, we were able to successfully finish filming in secret.
— NBC Representative
As soon as BTS’s special on The Tonight Show aired, it broke records on social media and TV. Their legendary performances and exclusive takes had ARMYs and viewers all over the world talk about it.
Jimmy Fallon even took the time to thank the BTS members and NYC for allowing them to create history. And it will forever remain legendary!
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) February 25, 2020
Check out BTS’s legendary work with Jimmy Fallon below!