Blackpink Mixes Exuberance and Intensity to Dazzle Adoring Fans in New Jersey

What do you do when you’re one of the most popular stars on the planet and get nervous during a performance in front of thousands of fans? Laugh it off and let everyone know.

At least, that’s what Blackpink’s members did Monday night at New Jersey’s Prudential Center when their energy was, to them at least, less than typical for a show during their Born Pink world tour.

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Although their last concert tour in the U.S. was in pre-pandemic 2019, it wasn’t actually so long ago since Blackpink last graced the Prudential Center during the VMAs in August. There, they premiered the first live performance of “Pink Venom,” a highlight of Monday night’s concert. But despite the familiar venue, there was an air of nerves throughout that resulted in an odd lull from the foursome, according to the women of the world’s most popular girl group, who are outwardly comfortably dominant on stage.

“If we seem quiet on the stage, it’s because for some reason, we’re very nervous and shy,” said Jennie, laughing off the situation as other members agreed.

Despite this humanizing declaration, Blackpink’s pop goddess demeanor never faltered on stage. Throughout the night, flashes of bright smiles and playful engagements with the crowd, which had a wider age range than most would suspect, were paired with charming professionalism. Each woman, in her own way, vacillated throughout the show between a sense of exuberance and pure intensity. They hit their marks sometimes with intense fierceness and at others grinning while pulling another member towards the camera to do their part when they themselves were busy playing with fans.

For a band of their tenure, Blackpink are infamously known for a relatively small number of songs in comparison to other K-pop peers who release typically at least one, if not multiple, albums a year. But in-concert, it becomes apparent that there is little filler within that discography: every song, every note, that is performed is full of the band’s distinct brand of charismatic bombast and every-girl power, embodied by members Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé.

The show began with the thumping bass of “How You Like That” with the intensity literally vibrating the arena before the quartet appeared on stage, and ran through the act’s dynamic hits and B-sides, bringing sassy fire and endearing sweetness to each performance. New and old songs alike were given more or less the same weight, with this year’s “Born Pink” album highlighted but never the end of the story, as Blackpink’s identity has become so tightly enmeshed in hit after hit since their start in 2016. Things ended, fittingly, with the sheer euphoria of “As If It’s Your Last” with Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé wearing concert tees that fans waited in line to buy after the concert.  

Each woman was given time to highlight her skills, with a set mid-way through the night with a pair of romantic, flirty and slightly sexy takes from Jisoo, whose original solo is long-overdue, covering Camilla Cabello. Jennie performed an unreleased solo (not to be confused with her 2018 “Solo”) titled “You & Me (Moonlight).” Rosé and Lisa each spliced two songs, “Hard to Love” and “On the Ground,” for the former and “Lalisa” and “Money” for the latter. Both used the pair of songs to express their own duality, Rosé’s set full of vocal exceptionalism and Lisa’s full of her dynamic dancing and raps. Four parts of a whole, each shone brightly, light and energy bouncing, reflecting off of one another when they came together again to perform “Shut Down.”

For K-pop artists, the bond between aficionado and artist is immensely important, and the bond between Blackpink and their dedicated fans, known as Blinks, were on full-display, with emphatic yearning filling the stadium as they put forth their 2020 EDM-fueled single “Lovesick Girls” and roaring cheers of approval accompanying the bold “fxxx it” of “Born Pink’s” anthemic “Tally.”

Blackpink are in the area for another show on Tuesday, before going onto additional dates of one of the most sizable tours by a K-pop group ever, carrying them through June 2023. The setlist will likely change a tiny bit, there’ll be adjustments made over the next few months. But the energy and talent will stay and the confidence will grow. Blackpink regularly in their songs declare that they’re in “your area” but at the “Born Pink” tour, it is all undeniably Blackpink’s stage.

(Pictured: Blackpink performing at MTV’s VMAs in August 2022)

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