On Saturday, August 26th, the uber-popular K-pop juggernaut, Blackpink, was indubitably “in your area,” bidding farewell to the states — at least for now — at the historic Dodger Stadium surrounded by approximately 55,000 of their feverish fans, also known affectionately as “Blinks,” as part of their Born Pink World Tour North America Encore.
The one-hour-and-fifty-six-minute, bass-ballasted event poetically bookended a journey for Blackpink members Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo, and Rosé who played their first stadium shows last November in Los Angeles at BMO (formerly Banc of California) Stadium. Notwithstanding the glaring omission of the super-hit “Kill This Love,” the Blinks — joined by celebrities Charlize Theron, Bella Poarch, John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen, among others — joyously screamed, danced without abandon, and lit up Vin Scully Avenue with their sea of light sticks throughout 23 songs as the group graciously acknowledged and appreciated their diverse supporters.
The theme of the evening was, indeed, gratitude, which got off to an exuberant start with “Pink Venom” from the girls’ most recent album Born Pink. Stylishly clad in black, Blackpink arrived in style with their male dancers in white on a multiscreen stage characterized by a recessed middle featuring a slanted triangle with a strip leading out to the fan-embanked floor. Once the acclaimed women made their introductions, Jennie urged the Blinks to holler to their heart’s content; certainly, nothing was to be held back.
And shriek they did for the foursome’s most listened to song on Spotify, “How You Like That” (from The Album), which culminated with radiant pyrotechnics. “Pretty Savage” and “Kick It” followed, which were both notable for sensual choreography using seated chairs situated downstage. Once the roar of the crowd dissipated, the New Zealand-born Rosé, who is seemingly the primary spokeswoman for the group, spoke candidly for the first of several times, engaging the L.A. crowd, which she mistakenly referred to later as “Las Vegas” in a faux pas that was quickly forgiven.
“Whistle,” which closed out the first section of the set list, was remarkable for Lisa’s onstage charisma, an observation not lost on the impassioned Blinks who were, on average, more raucous for her than her three peers. Preceding the next succession of songs was a dance break emphasizing the male ensemble who, with tassels hanging off their alabaster attire, demonstrated their athleticism with otherworldly ease.
While the sum of Blackpink is greater than its parts, the ladies cannot be overlooked as unique individuals, which was underscored by separate entrances and solos doubly serving as a referendum on who is the most favored. Obliging chants of her name, Jennie appropriately began with “Solo,” walking out in a frilly pink dress, rapping skillfully as red lighting beamed over the proceedings. Jisoo came out next in a sparkling silver dress, performing “All Eyes on Me” and “Flower,” the latter exclusively sung in Korean, as triumphant confetti snowed overhead.
Subsequently, Rosé made the most of her time on stage — delivering the two hits from her wildly successful album R — as she laid on a platform that slowly ascended. The emotional “Gone” segued into “On the Ground,” which saw the throngs bathed in pink light and reminded that the camera work at Blackpink concerts is as well-rehearsed as the choregraphed numbers onstage, ultimately conveying the frenetic music video-esque pacing that has endeared Korean pop’s beloved girls to millions.
Rounding out the solo tunes was Lisa’s “Money” (from Lalisa). Dazzling in a luminescent lilac chest plate of sorts and thigh-high boots, Lisa flexed her torso and commanded the stage like she was its proprietor, decisively winning the solo popularity survey.
After the female company took their turn to soak in the cheers, the YG Entertainment-presented tetrad returned with “Boombayah,” giving each girl an equal share in the spotlight as pink and gold fireworks decorated Los Angeles. Then, the Blinks, in ardent unison, inspired their admirers to bop and clap to “Lovesick Girls,” before blowing them away with heat-emitting, face-warming fireballs during the poppy and hip hop-stylized “Playing with Fire.”
Similar to the dancers who were afforded the foreground so they could receive their metaphorical flowers, longtime instrumentalists Bennie Rodgers, Omar Dominick, Yung Wurly, and Justin Lyons had their moment in the sun, splendidly soloing on the drums, bass, keys, and electric guitar, respectively.
Thereafter, in the spirit of Sin City showgirls, the male dancers fanned feathery plumes, revealing the renowned quartet who shimmered with “Typa Girl.” Fan-favorite “Shut Down” trailed, striking awe with its sharp movements and rapid singing. Geysers of smoke rushed through the air during “Don’t Know What to Do,” a pulse-pounding rhythmic wonderland, prior to the more ballad-like “Tally.” Reflections shared by the group with the audience continued, including Rosé’s realization that they’re still not quite used to performing in sizable stadiums; nevertheless, the legions of Blinks did their best to assuage any insecurities.
As anticipation met expectation, “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” the music video for which is the group’s most watched on YouTube (with 2.1 billion views), galvanized the devotees who exclaimed in approval, singing along to the simple yet brilliant chorus as impressive gushes of fire and fireworks enveloped the stage. This transitioned into the girls standing in a rising cart, as the tempo of “Forever Young” exponentially accelerated, resoundingly ending the main set. Even as the ditty faded out, the self-aware lyric of “I could die in this moment” lingeringly echoed through the 61-year-old venue.
For those who have kept track of Blackpink’s previous concerts on the web, the odds of “Forever Young” being the finale were slim to none. As the idols readied themselves for a three-song encore, Blinks were given the opportunity to evince their prowess in a dance challenge — earning the attention of the cameras — as recorded tracks blared over the speakers.
Once the frolicsome showdown finished, Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa, and Rosé, now sporting their own Blackpink-branded casual wear, indulged their fans a little while longer with “Stay,” “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” and finally “As If It’s Your Last.” These numbers weren’t emoted with the same zeal as the ones before, but that was by sheer design. As they made eye contact with their Blinks, waving appreciatively, thanking their whole crew, and taking a grand selfie with a packed Dodger Stadium, the encore served its purpose as a more relaxed, get-to-know-you exchange with the audience who could take an unimpeded look at their “biases” illumined by abundant lighting.
As more confetti blasted over the outstretched arms of Blinks, and an extended fireworks display colored the night sky one last time, it was clear that “The Girls” (also the title of the gang’s latest song) weren’t bidding adieu to L.A. and North America forever, but only saying “See U Later” for now, all the while celebrating what they have accomplished overseas and domestically. The celebration, too, was humble and wholly inclusive of those who have helped make Blackpink an international sensation. It’s difficult to not like South Korea’s most prosperous female act when they’re as grateful as they are.
For more information on Blackpink, visit blackpinkmusic.com