BY Katie Vicary

BLACKPINK completely took over the Qudos Bank Arena last Saturday, finally bringing their ‘In Your Area’ tour to Australia.

Korean pop group BLACKPINK has four members: Lisa, Jennie, Rosé and Jisoo. Handpicked talents who are rigorously trained and unfairly skilled, they sung, rapped and danced through a series of synchronised choreographies and more casual pieces. Each song was accompanied by a tight backing band and dancers, along with a dazzling light show that would put the X Factor to shame. These girls brought an action-packed show to Sydney’s doors and left audiences in awe of their star quality.

With no opening act, the audience was thrust straight into the action. As the lights dimmed to black, the stage filled with smoke, pink lights started to flash and an intense instrumental blasted through the arena. To say it was an epic introduction is an understatement. The girls emerged from below the stage, going straight into the first song of the night Ddu-du Ddu-du, a hard-hitting popular single. The energy in the arena was crazy. The performance had a trifecta of powerful singing, rapping and dance moves which set the bar high for the rest of the night. Fans were singing both the English and Korean lyrics, and I was trying to copy the dance in my seat. This energy continued through Forever Young with accompaniment from their backup dancers.

If you were unfamiliar with K-Pop, the choreographed routines and extravagant outfits might have felt a little new but the girls made sure the show was an impressive mix of synchronised dance routines and more casual performances, so there was a little something for everyone. Stay showed off their vocals with a non-choreographed performance. The first section of the concert ended with Whistle, a light textured pop song.

With only three EPs to their name, BLACKPINK chose to split their 2-hour concert into sections with an added encore. Between these sections was an instrumental break showcasing their band, an adorable fan mashup video and a Kia car ad, which was unexpected but nonetheless showed off the girls’ acting talents. The second section was dedicated to solo stages, which was a great way to show each member’s individual personality and talents. Rosé was first, appearing in a fresh costume singing a beautiful medley backed mostly by piano. The medley included Coming Home, honouring her Australian roots.

Following this was Lisa, who strutted down stage with a dance number alongside backup dancers. I’m not a dance expert but her stage presence was strong and powerful. Each solo stage was unique, with Jisoo’s being no exception, bursting into a high energy, electronic cover of Zedd’s Clarity showing off her vocal skills and adorable personality. She was laughing in disbelief of the lights show made for her song. Jennie, the last member to perform was highly anticipated as she is currently the only member with an official solo song, Solo. As the first note played the crowd erupted, and Jennie and the dancers performed well, with Jennie’s sassy attitude a highlight of the whole performance.

The third section kicked off strong with Kill This Love, an anthem-like song filled with brass, strong rap lines and vocals with the girls in their second last costume change of the night. Throughout the show, BLACKPINK did a good job of bringing the energy up after breaks or slower songs. They did this with Kill This Love and Don’t Know What to Do, the up-tempo song which followed. The girl’s collab song with Dua Lipa, Kiss and Make up was played minus Dua Lipa, with Really and See u Later following. There was an amazing atmosphere in the arena as the girls goofed around stage. You couldn’t deny their bond with the members cheering on Lisa as she rapped, kicking her way down stage and laughing at Jisoo as she pouted at the camera.

The only slight issue I had with an otherwise incredible show was the sponsored Kia car advertisement that played after the third section of their set. It felt slightly out of place but nonetheless earned cheers from the crowd. In the aftermath of the car ad, the girls showed off their never-ending energy with groovy pop song Playing with Fire and bass heavy Kick It which, like all their songs, was both in Korean and English. Kick It in particular includes an entire English rap, which you can bet I attempted. Rosé remarked about growing up in Australia and how lucky she was to be back here performing, adorable Lisa requested a Mexican wave and Jisoo jokingly told off fans for waving their light sticks at the wrong time. 

We had reached the “last two songs” and the entire arena was encouraged to stand up and dance. The energy was electric as everyone danced along to Boombayah with its addictive rhythms and As If It’s Your Last. The lights cut to black and the crowd screamed, the arena awash with a sea of pink light sticks. The girls dramatically reappeared, showing off their final costume change for their encore with the Ddu-du Ddu-du Remix, followed by Hope Not. For their final song, the girls brought back emotional Stay as a way to end the night on a beautiful note.

Overall BLACKPINK’s energy is infectious, and their stage presence and talent is beyond question. Lisa, Jennie, Rosé and Jisoo are four incredible performers who put on one hell of a show for Australian fans, and would be more than welcome to return.

Header image: YG Entertainment/YouTube


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