BLACKPINK at the O2 Arena Review: Every Minute Was Spectacular
The four-piece made being a global success look like the easiest job in the world.
Blackpink have been breaking records since their formation in 2016 and earlier this year, their chart-topping second album Born Pink confidently underlined their status as the biggest girl group in the world.
Even with nothing to prove, Blackpink still kickstarted the European leg of a world tour at London’s O2 Arena armed with lasers, fireworks and a string of backing dancers. And that was just for the first song. By the end of their two-hour, 23-song set, Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa and Rosé had unleashed waves of streamers onto the capacity crowd, wheeled a four-piece live band onto the stage and danced in front of literal walls of fire. Every minute of the show was spectacular.
Musically as well, Blackpink didn’t bother with subtlety. There were plenty of chirping hooks that have made them such a favourite on TikTok but as well as K-pop polish, Blackpink looked comfortable delivering urgent rap breakdowns, pulsating EDM drops and occasional nods to Nineties alt-rock. There was an industrial edge to the hectic Kill This Love while Tally was pure stadium rock ‘n’ roll. Like their predecessors in Little Mix and Spice Girls, Blackpink cherry-picked from a range of familiar genres to create something fresh and throughout the show, it felt like the four performers continued pop’s long-standing legacy of girl power.
A string of solo performances also gave each member of Blackpink a chance to show off their pop-star prowess, with Jennie even performing her epic, but unreleased track You And Me (Moonlight). Not that you’d know it hadn’t been released from the deafening reaction of the crowd.
While K-pop has a bit of a reputation for being too pristine and too calculated, Blackpink were all about giddy personality. For all the urgent, impressive choreography, the girls spent a lot of the show bounding about the stage, talking about sharing energy with the crowd or making heart gestures to fans – while between-song banter often descended into goofy jokes or questionable British accents. At one point, Jisoo did some beatboxing and Rosé accidently launched her microphone off the stage after getting carried away trying to cover her bandmates in confetti.
Next summer, Blackpink are set to break more records as the first K-pop group to headline a major British festival when they take to BST Hyde Park. But if there are any pressures that come with being the biggest girl group in the world and the breakout band of a whole genre, Blackpink didn’t let them show at London’s O2 Arena. Instead, the four-piece made being the biggest look like the easiest job in the world.
cr. Evening Standard
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