BLACKPINK's massive global success is something akin to a miracle when you consider how little music they've actually released since their debut in 2016. It's a real testament to Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa's boundless swagger and charisma — the way they can conjure up such electric fanfare with a simple yet assertive "BLACKPINK in your area." Onstage, that power is magnified. On Monday, Nov. 14 inside of Newark's Prudential Center, thousands of fans, called Blinks, experienced first-hand what it means to be “Born Pink” under the soft, rosy glow of their heart-shaped lightsticks. 

See, the thing is, BLACKPINK may not have a robust discography under their designer belts, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in bangers. The “Born Pink” setlist is a mix of greatest hits and new favorites. The Pinks, as they're affectionately called by fans, open the show with "How You Like That," a bombastic 2020 single that features a nasty instrumental trap chorus — made all the more kinetic by the group's excellent touring band, The Band Six

Read more: Why pop music’s girl group resurgence isn’t afraid to take up space

"Look at you, now look at me," Lisa and Jennie demand, their attitude and feisty delivery (mics on) transcending the track's hard-hitting, bass-heavy formula (it's what we call "Teddy-sound"). Shimmering under the stage lights in embellished white ensembles, they make it hard to look away. The opener sets the tone for the rest of the night. Fan favorites "Pretty Savage" and "Whistle" — one of their two debut songs — follow before Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa take a moment to address the screaming crowd, all shy smiles and breathless anticipation. Later in the night, rapper Jennie will quietly remind the fans, "If we seem quiet on stage it's because for some reason we're quite nervous and shy."

Much is often said about pop star duality, but with BLACKPINK, it's right there in the name. Through their music, they project a careless kind of bravado, delivering an acidic shot of confidence when you need it most. But there's an undeniable sweetness to their dynamic, captured through shared glances, soft smiles, and clingy interactions caught in 4K on fans' phone cameras. 

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

After "Don't Know What To Do" and the poppy, cathartic "Lovesick Girls," the group left the stage for a costume change, giving The Band Six a few minutes to rock out unperturbed. A black-and-white vignette then played on the venue's LED screens, featuring several minutes of BLACKPINK striking glamorous model poses in gorgeous dresses accompanied by an absolutely filthy remix of "Kill This Love." By the time the Pinks reemerge to perform "Kill This Love," the fans were still riding the high of the boosted bass. A dozen or so dancers dressed in flowy, modern hanboks — traditional Korean garb — join them onstage for "Crazy Over You." 

Following a boisterous rendition of "Playing With Fire," they focus on newer material, starting with "Tally," a vibey track off 2022's Born Pink that opens with Rosé singing, "I say fuck it when I feel it." (A refrain that hits every time they say it but especially when Jisoo, with bows in her hair, sings it politely with a smile.) "Tally" gives the group the opportunity to slow down the tempo and flaunt their natural charms, as they make their way around the extended stage, up the catwalk, and back to the mainstage, stopping to interact with fans along the way.

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

Born Pink, released in September, marked the group's long-awaited return after more than two years, and with it came eight newish tracks that doubled down on what the Pinks do best with braggadocio while never really pushing them into innovative sonic territory. Critics call them static — recycling the same sounds and ideas when they're seemingly capable of so much more. Here on stage, however, Born Pink fully comes to life. They attack "Pink Venom" with verve. Maybe it's the presence of a live band — you feel those drum beats in your chest — or the way the dancers stage an electrifying dance battle to a remix of "Pink Venom" during the group's second costume change, but these songs become more than the noisy sum of their repetitive parts; they transform into something malleable and multifaceted, capable of changing on a whim to match the energy in the room.

Take, for example, the members' solo stages. Jisoo covers Camila Cabello's "Liar." Dressed in all black with red flowers on her shoulder, it's clear the vocalist was going for sinful and sultry. In execution, it's more ebullient than fiery — a testament to the eldest member's witty aura. Jennie channels a bit of Flashdance for a performance of an unreleased pop-synth song that shimmers as bright as her sparkly Mary Janes. It's both sexy and suave, an enticing possible direction for Jennie's future solo material. Rosé performs her solo tracks "Hard To Love" and "On The Ground," opening with an a cappella moment that conveys the depth of her voice. Lisa takes the stage — and to the pole — with her own numbers "Lalisa" and "Money," the latter of the two showcasing the main dancer's potent, intoxicating moves. 

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

They wanted to show their fans the spectrum of their colors and talents, Rosé says. And for that, it's nice to see the members of BLACKPINK break out of the confines of their clamorous box and get a glimpse at what (possibly) lies ahead. At this stage of their careers, they're more like part-time pop stars. Their celebrity is arguably more influential than their music, and the Born Pink tour doesn't necessarily deny that. It feels like a party. The stakes are low, the vibes are at an all-time high, and the energy is all over the place. It's not about being perfectly synchronized; it's about having a good time. Jennie says as much when she tells the crowd to "scream, dance, vibe, whatever you want." 

The closing set includes recent single "Shut Down" and "Typa Girl," a fierce song done dirty by poor staging (there are several moments throughout the show where the girls are swallowed up by the cavernous stage). They perform their smash hit "DDU-DU DDU-DU" on the extended stage, and in-between pantomimes of attitude, the members sport wide smiles and playful glances. The night "ends" on an emotional high with "Forever Young," which concludes with shouts of "girls wanna have some fun." 

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

By the time BLACKPINK returns for a short but sweet three-song encore that includes the synthy "Yeah Yeah Yeah" and the sentimental "Stay," the audience is fully enraptured in the moment. "Just let go of everything. Let go of your phone, and dance as if it's your last," Rosé says, alluding to the final song. "You've done enough filming." Though, for fans, it will likely never be enough. 

That, in essence, is BLACKPINK's charm: They're always there to hype you up, and leave you wanting more.

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]

loading...

[Photo via YG Entertainment]