Having my concert experience tainted by Blinks’ behaviour, I had heightened hopes that Blackpink’s stage presence would make up for it.
Maybe it was the sweltering heat, marked by streaks of perspiration running down their faces and the members’ casual banter (“My face is melting,” quipped Jennie). Or maybe there were hints of exhaustion from what has been a highly successful but very rigorous world tour. It was a tough order for the group.
Performing to a packed stadium of some 50,000 adoring fans for close to two hours in sweltering weather – to a sea of blinking camera lights at that – surely has an effect?
In one telling moment that night, Jennie told the audience towards the end of the show: “I see more phones than faces.” She requested fans to sing and dance along for the remaining songs.
Once she fell in line for the next song, Blinks lifted their phones again.
By this time, I had decided I would let loose and enjoy the music regardless of what anyone else did. I couldn’t stop the excessive video- and photo-taking for social media, which seems to be just par for the course these days, but I could still control my experience.
Thankfully, the night’s stage production somewhat made up for the distractions. After all, more is more in K-pop; confetti rained from the ceiling more than once, dramatic pyrotechnics framed the stage, sleek aesthetic videos entertained fans before and between sets, multiple outfit changes reflected varied artistic concepts, and the explosive yet exacting choreography stole the show.
And to Blackpink’s credit, they peppered the night with quirky banter that their fans have come to know and love. For one, the sea of pink lights led Rose to joke that fans were witnessing the “debut” of a new girl band that night, the “Pink Puff Girls”. At some point, Lisa also revealed how impressed she was by the audience’s reaction to Jisoo’s new single Flower, which has become a popular TikTok meme – and the latter gamely doing her own dance challenge.
These moments, along with the times they would try to connect with the fans at the front of the stage, made it seem we were seeing a bunch of talented girlfriends having fun rather than just mega celebrities.
My expectations had been right about my first time K-pop concert experience. It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly unforgettable.
After all, I knew I would remember the phone screens that blocked my view – but also the joy I felt dancing my little Blink heart out, phone firmly in bag.