When Blackpink announced that they were bringing their “In Your Area” tour to the humble city of Kuala Lumpur, it would be an understatement to say that minds were lost. YG Entertainment’s only girl group were finally going to pay us a visit and fans were dying to get a glimpse of Jennie, Rosé, Lisa and Jisoo up close.
Considering that Blinks are probably the second biggest fandom next to ARMYs, the excitement was especially evident in the air. In fact, they even had to add another date for the girls as the first concert sold out before most fans could even get their hands on any tickets. So come the 23rd of February 2019, the town was painted black and pink to celebrate the arrival of K-pop’s biggest girl group.
Being the first date of the two-day concert, we were intrigued to see what Blackpink had in store for us. From the moment of arrival outside of Stadium Malawati, the difference was felt immediately. Packed like never before, fans had come from all corners of the world to see their favourite girl group. As someone who had attended plenty of other concerts at this venue, the sheer amount of attendees were shocking to say the least.
Considering how there was a packed line to enter the stadium alone, one could only imagine how long the line for entrance into the actual arena was. Regardless, Blinks were having the time of their lives. Despite the heat and the crowds of individuals, there were fans excitedly buying merchandise, exchanging freebies and even recording dance covers for a chance at competitions. It felt like an event by itself, even though we were hours away from the actual time of the concert.
Come 6pm, the staff of Macpiepro (who were organisers of the event) started ushering the crowd towards the inside of the stadium. The effect was almost immediate; everyone dropped what they were previously doing— abandoning their places in line to take photos or get food— all to run up to the line for bag checks. With scuffling and dashing into the stadium to secure their positions, eventually everyone got inside and waited for the moment of truth.
It was truly something else to see Stadium Malawati packed to the brim. Usually, it was not uncommon to see spaces with lack of attendees— darkness where there was supposed to be light sticks and what not— but it certainly was not the case for Blackpink’s concert. The entire stadium was littered with flashing pink lights being emitted from the “hammer-bong”, the official lightstick for Blinks. There was a slight delay from the usual timeliness of the event, however it was understandable considering the amount of fans that attended. As soon as everyone had safely been ushered to their seats and into the pits of the Blink Zone, it was time.
The moment the lights went off, the screams that were uttered were nothing short of deafening (even more so, considering the turn out of male fans). A bombastic intro began with a shower of pink and white lights, as smoke filled the stage; preparing us for the entrance of the ladies of the night. The screams got even higher in pitch when the stage slowly revealed four panels opening, as the girls of Blackpink were elevated onto the stage. And with that, the first song of the night began; “Ddu Ddu Ddu”.
The reaction was immediate; everyone rabidly chanting along “Ah yeah, ah yeah!” in sync with the girls as they waved their light sticks enthusiastically. All Blackpink members were in white ensembles, holding adorable pink microphones as they sang along to the tough anthem that easily defined most of 2018 for us. After hitting us with their “Ddu, ddu, ddu!”, they performed an extended version of “Forever Young”; another EDM heavy track from their latest release, “Square Up”. Complete with streamers, flares, intense light work and fireworks worthy of a Chinese New Year celebration; it was evident that YG Entertainment went all the way for Blackpink. From their introductory songs alone, there was a display of glitz and glam that could not have been missed.
The lights came back on after the two songs, as the girls took the stage to introduce themselves. It was especially nice to hear the girls speak so comfortably on, greeting the fans who responded with enthusiasm. Jennie’s sharp Kiwi accent cut through the night as she playfully noted, “Let’s have some fun!” with her signature smile before handing the mic over to Rosé. It was impossible not to gush over her gorgeous Australian accent as she noted how thankful she was for Malaysian Blinks for having them tonight. Lisa was all smiles in her usual cheerful self, brightly waving to fans who greeted her in a similar manner.
However no one could have expected the cuteness from Jisoo when she adorably said, “Blink-ya! Kami rindu padamu!” in her heavy Korean accent. Despite not communicating as much in English as the other members, she made up for it with her impressive Malay skills which easily won the hearts of fans. With a quick word of warning from Jennie who considerately asked fans to stay safe, they took a seat for their slower number; “Stay”.
The acoustic and almost country-esque song had the entire stadium singing along, especially during the “la la la” part. Being Blackpink’s only slow song in their discography, it seems as though it has transformed into a fan song almost from the effect it gave the crowd. With everyone swaying from left to right as they sang along with the girls, it was a truly touching moment between the artists and fans. With that, they segued into Blackpink’s second slowest song; “Whistle”. The moment we heard the iconic “Hey, boy” and the bass dropping, all traces of melancholy disappeared to make way for the bop of 2016.
The girls were whisked away into the darkness after to prepare for their next stage, whilst the crowd was treated to a video. Instead of the usual VCRs, Blackpink had prepared a video of fans from all around the world showing their love for the girl group. From dance covers, to vocal covers and even some crack videos of YouTuber JRE comically twerking alongside to the members; it was evident that Blackpink was loved far and wide. With video entries from all of Europe, Asia and so many more, it was clear that music had no cultural boundaries. Despite the language barrier, fans from literally all across the globe appreciated and loved them deeply. It was especially great to see a couple of videos from Malaysian Blinks as well!
After that, it was time for the solo stages of each member. The first was Jisoo, the eldest of the girls. She sat on a throne made out of disco balls, dressed glamorously as the familiar beginning of “Clarity” by Zedd filled the stadium. As the track progressed, we were treated to the rarity of hearing Jisoo sing an entire song by herself. Often taking the backseat in the group, it was refreshing to say the least when we saw her shining by herself.
All rumours of her not being able to sing were put to rest the moment she hit the high notes on the song, proving herself to be a capable vocalist. It was adorable seeing her smile so brightly when she realised how well her performance was being received as well. As the EDM beat slowly died down, Jisoo waved a hand and descended below the stage. Though fans were upset to see her go, it would be a lie to say that they weren’t excited for what came next.
The firecracker of the night, Lisa, finally took the stage. Beginning with a contemporary dance stage, she performed an emotionally honest number to “Take Me”; dazzling the crowd with her lithe movements. The coloured lights that were chosen for the stage were especially fitting as well, lending it the emotion it deserved to enhance the experience. However all of that was quickly removed the moment Jason Derulo’s “Swalla” started playing, and so was Lisa’s expression. From her previously serious and somewhat stoic face, she now wore one of pure seduction.
Accompanied by backup dancers, she broke out her legendary dance routine that garnered several million views on Twitter for all of Kuala Lumpur to feast their eyes on. With an unmatched charisma, she effortlessly charmed the crowd to eat out of her palm before kissing them an air kiss goodbye to make way for the next solo.
When Rosé appeared with a lovely dress to match, she sat on top of a transparent grand piano to sing not one, not two, but three different songs. Beginning with the soulful ballad of “Let It Be”, her raspy voice carried the song with such volume. She picked it up towards the end, changing up the somber mood to a more energetic one— smiling brightly through it all. Choosing songs from her senior, Rosé also covered Park Bom’s “You and I” and Taeyang’s “Only Look At Me”. It was great seeing a modern take on songs that were made before Blackpink’s debut, and even more so seeing artists under the same company take a chance at covering their sunbaes’ songs. After a great performance, she too bid fans goodbye.
There is undoubtedly a certain aura towards Jennie. Not only is she the only member with an official solo track, but she was also the only member who had their band play an entire rock solo before her stage. Definitely with a flair for the dramatic, the rock solos added to the exhilaration felt to prep us for her stage. When she finally appeared, the crowd lost it as they screamed along word by word to “Solo”.
There was yet another intermission, which featured their band playing even more sick solos for us. Ranging from a bass, drum, electric guitar and even synthesizer solo; the band was phenomenal. It worked brilliantly to keep the crowd hyped up as well, which worked well when the girls appeared to sing “Kiss and Make Up”, a song by Dua Lipa that they were featured on. Despite a stage error of Jennie not making it on time until the second half of the song, the three girls managed to pull off the performance perfectly fine. Throwing it back to 2007, they then continued with a remix of “So Hot” – originally by the Wonder Girls. Keeping in the theme of heat related things, “Playing With Fire” was up next. With real flame flares complementing the song, the performance was indeed on fire.
Taking a break to catch their breaths, Rosé gushed at how amazed she was with the turn out. It was obvious that she was genuinely touched, which resulted in the crowd giving her many ‘awww’s. Jisoo adorably winked and said, “Blink, kamu bagus!” which pretty much sent a good half of the crowd into a cardiac arrest. As Lisa gave fan services of finger hearts to the crowd, Jennie mentioned how welcomed they felt considering it was their first visit to Malaysia and thanked everyone once again.
They slowed things down with a reggae version of “Really” and then brought the energy back with “See You Later” before plunging the stadium into darkness once again. A VCR in the form of an advert for KIA, one of the main sponsors of the event, played as fans watched in mixed awe and confusion. The advert took place in a garage, with the girls fixing up some extremely shiny new cars before racing each other in a bad ass fashion.
It was interesting to note that the girls were dressed up as actual garage workers instead of the skimpy outfits typically associated with a female and a car. This perhaps was one of the most satisfying part of the advert, though it was obvious that no one could change a car tire while having their hair stay as perfect as Lisa’s. Regardless, it was entertaining to watch the girls do doughnuts in the basement carpark— only to write their group’s initials with skid marks.
The lights came back on and Blackpink served us a dance solo to “16 Shots”, complete with back up dancers and all the energy they had to offer. With a quick mention that they only had two songs left (and the woes that followed) the girls bid their goodbyes before taking their positions on stage. Then came the banger of the night; “Boombayah”. Being their debut song that rose them to fame — and the song responsible for the catchy title of their tour— Malaysian Blinks could finally scream, “BLACKPINK in your area!” and actually mean it! With one dance song came another, so it wasn’t long until the summer anthem of “As If It’s Your Last” began playing on the stadium’s speakers.
The girls then disappeared, resulting in what may have been the loudest chants of “Encore!” we had ever heard before. To combat the darkness of the stadium, fans had turned on their flashlights on their phones as they chanted “Blackpink!” over and over again until the lights had come back on.
Treating fans to a rock version of “Ddu Ddu Ddu”, complete with back up dancers going wild; it was the final send off of the night. After all the energy and adrenaline, they took a seat to sway with BLINKs for the last time as everyone collectively sang “Stay” together. The members took this time to walk towards the further ends of the stage, saying their goodbyes and even taking a plush that was held out to Rosé. With heavy hearts, the crowd had to say goodbye to the girls as they eventually descended below the stage — and out of sight.
BLACKPINK may be limited in terms of their discography, but they are nothing short of impressive. If anything, it makes one think of how far a group as new as them have reached such heights. Big privilege or not, it does not take away how admirable a girl group like Blackpink are— even more so when you factor in their ages. These young girls have achieved so much in such short amount of time, truly making history for themselves and the genre they are in. Being in a completely different league from other groups, it was truly something else seeing the world’s biggest K-pop girl group perform.
With the sheer quality of the performance they gave us, it’s no wonder that they are where they are today. It’s hard to not fall for the girls, especially when they are so effortlessly charismatic, cute and charming all at once. This is only the beginning for the four girls, and with them being a part of Coachella later this year— a world domination is bound to happen. It’s only a matter if you realise it or not, but Blackpink is the revolution.
Article by Leyasheena Panicker. Images credit: YG Entertainment.