BLACKPINK take over the O2

Image: Mathumithah Kandiah

The biggest girl group in the world shut down the O2 arena in December. The group’s first Europe stop, for their Born Pink World Tour. Selling over 30,000 seats at the O2 Arena. The arena lit up in pink in honour of the Korean girl group’s two-day show. 

Image: The O2

As fans entered the fore of the venue, they were met with large crowds waving their lightsticks chanting the Blackpink’s members’ names. At the same time, many sprinted desperately to find a place in the queue to purchase merchandise—a K-pop tradition to bring lightsticks and banners to support the group’s performances. Thousands of fans queue day and night to buy their idol’s treasures. 

Once entering the arena, an ocean of pink light erupted on every level of the room. Pink lightsticks flash repetitively, tuning with the loud bass-boosted music playing in the background. An array of BLACKPINK’s title tracks played during the waiting. They were taking fans down a memory lane of their music, preparing Blinks for an unforgettable evening.  

Sammy Rays, 22, states, “The montage of their previous songs playing at the concert reminded me of my early days as a Blink, now seeing them in London is a dream come true.” 

After a long wait, a loud instrumental track opened the show, lights flashing rapidly from every corner of the arena, pointing to centre stage, where a cage slowly opened. Four women sashayed to the front, getting in position for their night’s first performance. How you like that. The crowd cheered relentlessly, proving their undying love for the group. The group’s symphony of vocals echoed through the ceiling, clouding the minds of blinks, reminding everyone of this rare moment. 

Image: Mathumithah Kandiah

Each member’s solo took the concert by a storm, from intense dance covers to pole dancing. The girls showcased their personalities and style through these solos. Jisoo covered Liar by Camila Cabello, followed by Jennie performing Moonlight, an unreleased song, Rosé with on the ground and hard to love, and Lisa performed Money and Lalisa. They also acknowledged their backup dancers and band’s performance and hard work during the tour, giving them time to shine by having a “dance off” and performing a group number. While the band members were able to showcase their instrumental skills. The audience cheered in appreciation. 

Video: Mathumithah Kandiah

Throughout the show, the stage underwent various visual changes, from a dark cage to floral moving set pieces. The set design for How you like that to As if it’s your last and the girls’ performances were eye-catching. The visuals of the stage left the audience starstruck. The intricacies of detail in colour and patterns matched every song and the members’ outfits. Every moment seemed like a fantasy as if online music videos came to life. K-pop music videos are renowned for their high quality and attention to detail. Such production level was applied to the set designs during the concert, which set the bar high for music shows. 

The girl’s outfits were one of the night’s highlights, with various outfit changes and hairstyles. The four superstars showed their aura and colour through their apparel, adding flare to their carefully curated performances. From black mini skirts to red side slit dresses, these fashionistas were able to represent and live up to their fashion brand ambassador roles. 

Though the performances were phenomenal and engaging, many fans lacked energy and were fixated on filming the concert. It was more of an event for influencers to attend and take photographs rather than enjoy the show. Fansite culture is a vast aspect of K-pop; however, professional cameras filming the entire show and photographing every moment were distracting. At some point during the concert, Jennie had asked everyone seated to stand up and enjoy the concert instead of filming. 

Shreya Gurung, 20, “I was quite disappointed to see the majority of the fans just filming without singing or enjoying the performances. I was hoping to be a part of the fandom singing to my heart’s content.” 

Venosiny Wignes, 18, “I felt the concert was underwhelming. I was very excited to attend; however, I was left disappointed. Fans were sitting and filming, and I expected everyone to sing and dance with the group. This wasn’t the best K-pop concert in London. 

Layla Rays, 20, “Every fan paid for their own ticket, therefore should be able to do whatever they want, even if it is to sit and film. They shouldn’t be forced to stand up and sing along if they’re not comfortable.”

Fortunately, closer to the show’s end, everyone sat down, stood up and sang along to the last few songs with more enthusiasm. 

The last few songs left an impressionable memory. The scene was filled with pouring confetti, colourful strobe lights hitting every corner of the room, nostalgic bgm of Lovesick girls in the background whilst the audience were waving their light sick and screaming. A scene so picturesque.

Image: Mathumithah Kandiah

The show was incredible; the four women conveyed their love for performing and their fans through their extravagant performances and interactions. Despite the slight letdown from fans, the women gave London an unforgettable performance, representing K-pop and living up to the title of the biggest girl group in the world.

Words: Mathumithah Kandiah| Subbing: Bethany Lander

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