BLACKPINK Born Pink Tour Review: Put Your Phone Down and Dance Instead

"A reminder to let go of expectations, and allow youthful excitement to shine through us once again."
The members of BLACKPINK together.
Courtesy of YG Entertainment.

On November 15, BLACKPINK took the stage for a second night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Although it was their third to last show of the North American leg of their Born Pink tour, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa proved that BLACKPINK were worth the wait over these last three and a half years during the pandemic.

At 7:50 p.m. EST, fans — nicknamed Blinks — began to get their lightsticks ready for the show, filling the corridors of the Prudential Center with echoing squeaks. By 8:00 p.m., the arena was lit up by the rose-tinted hue radiating from them. Shaped like a black hammer with pink hearts that make a squeaky noise when hit, BLACKPINK’s lightstick is emblematic of their performance. One moment, they’re hitting sharp dance moves and delivering piercing lines with as much power as a hammer; the next, goofing around with each other and sending Blinks hand hearts.

We first saw the former side of the group as they opened with the hard-hitting singles “How You Like That,” “Savage.” and “Whistle,” blessing the crowd with both old and new tracks. While each of these songs has a strong message and powerful choreography, the moments in between showed the other side of BLACKPINK. With the lights down and the first note of the next song just seconds away, the members spared no opportunity to sweetly interact with the crowd before returning to their fierce aura.

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After their triple-threat opening, the members introduced themselves and spoke to the audience. While they were more serious for the most part and eager to reconnect with fans, there were plenty of giggle-inducing moments in the segment — like Jennie teasing Rosé to finish refreshing as the other members waited to start the next song — with many more to come throughout the show.

The next portion of the setlist showcased a softer side of the group with “Don’t Know What To Do” and “Lovesick Girls.” Here, we got to really appreciate their vocals, accentuated by live instrumentals from the band. Jisoo’s vocal color shined through, Jennie’s strong tone left an impression, Rosé’s wispy voice filled the arena, and Lisa’s sultry raps sent the crowd wild.

Allowing for quick-changes and a moment for the crowd to rest, a video segment played. In a dystopian-looking setting, the members posed in shimmery dresses — a nice nod to their impressive fashion background. Then, the group was back on stage for “Kill This Love,” “Crazy Over You,” “Playing With Fire,” “Tally,” and “Pink Venom.” 

During these stages, the freestyle dancing and choreography mesmerized the crowd. From Lisa’s iconic “kick in the door” to the back-up dancers' high-energy dance break, every move felt strong and impactful. This segment also allowed every member of BLACKPINK, the dance ensemble, and the live band to have a shining moment. After performing “Pink Venom” the girls strutted off stage, but the dancers kept the energy high with their dance circle. The band also kept the good vibes going with their captivating guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard solos.

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Building off of the adrenaline of the last portion, the crowd was hyped to see the members’ solo stages. When Jisoo's name appeared on the screens, the crowd erupted with chants of her name. When Jisoo didn’t come out for a moment, fans took a brief pause before persisting and chanting her name again, showing their dedication to the eldest. As it became apparent that the setlist had to be amended and the other members would perform first, the backup dancers and stage production team quickly readjusted, doing whatever was necessary for the show to go on.

Despite the sequence changes, the solo stages carried on and gave each member the opportunity to own the arena. Jennie entered with an unreleased solo song that included a captivating partnered dance routine, complemented by dimmed lighting and the duo’s silhouettes being projected onto a backdrop. 

Rosé followed with “Hard to Love" (tapping into her rock side) and a heartfelt performance of “On The Ground.” Lisa came on next with “Lalisa” and “Money,” radiating a fun, positive energy unique to her personality as a performer. Jisoo finally took the stage with an energizing cover of “Liar” by Camila Cabello and performed like a true professional despite the unexpected changes to the set.

The girls then returned to the stage as a foursome with a powerful performance of “Shutdown.” In stark contrast, they followed with “Typa Girl"; despite the softer sound and slower tempo, the passion they put behind the lyrics as they sang had just as strong of an effect as the bold “Shutdown." 

The girls took a brief pause to talk to fans again (and strike cute poses), expressing their sadness that they only had a few songs left to perform. They then taught the entire crowd the key choreography for “DDU-DU DDU-DU,” although it’s already one of the most iconic moves in K-pop. Encouraging us to dance along with them, the group finished their performance of the hit song with an intense dance break. With the crowd at maximum hype, they began “Forever Young," prompting everyone to bounce around with them, transforming the arena into a party.

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The girls then said their goodbyes as the lights went dim. Many in the crowd began shouting “encore,” though most seasoned K-pop fans and Blinks who memorize the setlist already knew they’d return. It was only a matter of time before they reemerged onstage, wearing t-shirts and sweatshirts from their tour’s merchandise line as they sang “Yeah Yeah Yeah.” 

Going off in pairs, each performer took a side of the stage to dance with the crowd and play with the arena cameras while performing. For the more intimate “Stay,” the group focused on the audience, even getting eye-level with some lucky fans. Before playing their final song, the members made one final request to the crowd — but only after Jennie took a moment to share how much she liked her hairstyle that night (high pigtails with loose money pieces framing her face. The members have been slightly altering their outfits, makeup, and hairstyles each night of the tour, a small way to make each show feel unique and fresh).

As they did a few times throughout the night, the members asked that the crowd put down their phones and just dance. Jennie even cheekily added that it was less fun with phones and that there were plenty of videos already online, evoking agreement from the other girls and giggles from the audience. 

And so, for their final song “As If It’s Your Last,” the audience danced, jumped, and sang along with the members. The special energy was reminiscent of pre-pandemic concerts, and even pre-smartphone concerts. It was a reminder to let go of expectations, allow youthful excitement to shine through us once again, dance freely, and most importantly, have fun. For a group that has so many accolades, to prioritize fun over glitz, glamor, or social media buzz speaks to BLACKPINK's true nature as performers and role models.