Since BLACKPINK last performed in New Jersey nine months ago as part of their initial Born Pink world tour dates, the Billboard 200–topping troupe has headlined massive festivals like Coachella and BST Hyde Park, taken new challenges across music, acting, fashion and social media, and just this week reached their milestone seven-year anniversary as a group. Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa did not let the celebratory moment go unnoticed by bringing an upgraded version of their show to MetLife Stadium and honoring how far they’ve come as a group.
When the stadium’s main lights came down just after 9 p.m. local time, the stage production drenched the audience in the group’s signature magenta hue that was a mainstay through the night thanks to the sea of BLACKPINK hammer lightsticks that glow bright pink. Except for a few setlist edits (read on for more about that), the quartet focused on delivering stadium-sized versions of their hits and some time to get sentimental in the company of thousands of their fans, affectionately known as BLINKs.
“We’re so so proud to have you in this stadium with us,” Rosé told the audience in between songs, later adding, “We’ve learned so much.”
While seven years together is an accomplishment for any group, the number is particularly significant for K-pop groups as it traditionally marks the initial contract period for artists to decide if they’ll continue with their group and/or record label. While there is still no official news regarding BLACKPINK’s future, Jennie shouting “BLACKPINK and BLINKs forever!” to the delight of her members and the crowd, gives the sense that the group hasn’t shared everything with fans just yet and more history is soon to be made.
Read on for the 8 must-know moments from the opening night of the U.S. leg for BLACKPINK’s Born Pink Encore Tour at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
The Explosive Opening
When BLACKPINK first brought the Born Pink tour to the U.S., most shows took place inside indoor arenas like Chicago’s United Center or the Prudential Center in Newark. The group wasted no time flaunting the scale of growth for the encore’s stadium leg with a slew of fireworks, pyrotechnics and laser lights flooding New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium from the opening numbers “Pink Venom” and “How You Like That.” That dedication to spectacles continued throughout the show and culminated in a massive battery of explosions by the finale.
‘All Eyes’ on Jisoo’s Debut Performance
Earlier this year, Jisoo made her solo debut with her two-song EP, ME, with the single “Flower” (which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard Global 200 chart) and the B-side track “All Eyes on Me” (which hit No. 78 on the Global 200). While “Flower” got a gorgeous music video and slew of live performances, “All Eyes on Me” seemed to take the backseat — until Friday night.
During the solo section of the girls’ setlist, Jisoo surprised the crowd with her first performance of the stomping electro-pop track. The accompanying choreography brought the song to life with Jisoo taking center stage and all her dancers freezing, looking at her, when she shouts the chorus’ “All eyes on me!” line.
The BLACKPINK members later acknowledged the special song, with Jennie saying, “I’m actually sad I don’t get to see it,” while Rosé admitted she was secretly peeping the performance from off stage.
Lisa’s Endless Energy
The demanding schedule for a stadium tour can undoubtedly take a toll on any artist’s energy, but Lisa not only kept her vivacious bounce throughout the show but made sure to transfer it to her bandmates as well. The “Money” superstar brought her mega-watt smile, perfectionist choreography, and a continuous stream of powerful and playful ad-libs throughout the show, many times Lisa hyping up her members as well. Fans could almost depend on Lisa shouting out a “Let’s go, Jennie!” or other encouraging words whenever her fellow rapping member took on a rap section.
Meanwhile, there was an endless stream of big grins and affectionate touching from Jisoo, Jennie and Rosé as consistent displays of BLACKPINK’s affection for their youngest member.
The Band’s Spotlight in ‘Playing With Fire’
A rare but much-appreciated treat in K-pop concerts is when artists bring a live band. Live Korean-pop productions tend to utilize backing tracks to accompany performers, but BLACKPINK has toured with an impressive full band since their first In Your Area world tour that began in 2018. The full display of how the live band can elevate the songs came during the performance of “Playing With Fire.”
Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa performed the number without any dancers during this number, proving how the four of them can just as easily command the crowd’s attention as they do with their entire ensemble. Then the extended outro for “Playing With Fire,” led by the band here, particularly proved how significant having a live guitar, bass, drums, keys and more instruments can upgrade the experience and make for one of the best musical moments in the show.
The 7th Anniversary Cake
August 8, 2023, marked BLACKPINK’s seventh anniversary and with the MetLife concert marking the group’s first show since the milestone, naturally, there needed to be time to celebrate — and there was cake!
Toward the show’s end, the girls were surprised with a four-tier black and pink cake decorated with bows, flowers and cartoon renderings of the quartet. The group seemed genuinely touched by the gesture (making sure to include the cake when they posed for a group photo with the stadium audience behind them) and appreciated the details put into the dessert (Jisoo and Lisa took some of the decorative rosettes off the top of the cake and began dancing the viral choreography of the former’s “Flower” choreography).
Rosé’s Sentimental Story Time
In addition to the sentimental response from the surprise anniversary cake, it also elicited some sweet stories from Rosé. The “On the Ground” star began saying how, “It’s been quite a ride…” before Jisoo sweetly told her, “Don’t cry.” Rosé told the audience that she had gotten her tears out before and told a story when she was thinking about BLACKPINK’s seven years together. While reminiscing on her pride in the group, the Born Pink track “The Happiest Girl” suddenly started playing in the background. The four even sang a little bit of the fan-favorite B-side.
That wasn’t the only story Rosé shared, retelling the story of meeting Jisoo, Jennie and Lisa for the first time entering YG Entertainment headquarters 10 years ago at age 16. Lisa reenacted her first impression of Rosé — hilariously giving her a shady side eye when first walking past her in the elevator. But by the time Rosé joined the three in the rehearsal studio, Lisa noticed how her future bandmate was “so cute and so shy” with Rosé saying the girls were “so welcoming.” The group reminisced on how they sang together and played guitar all night after that first meet.
Jennie’s Sweet Words for BLINKs
Throughout the concert, it was nearly impossible to keep your eyes off Jennie anytime the singer-rapper-actress delivered her lines or was displayed across the massive LED screen. From her fierce stage demeanor (seen in sure-to-go viral clips from the show) to her sweet side coming out when speaking to BLINKs, the full range of Jennie was on display at MetLife Stadium.
After Rosé’s adorable story time during the encore, the crowd saw Jennie at her softest when she shared some reflections with the audience.
“We’re just really happy to share our today with you guys,” The Idol star told the audience. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for every single one of you guys out there and we could not thank you guys enough.”
The Funny, Failed Finale Poll
Since the Born Pink world tour officially kicked off in Seoul last October, the show’s setlist always concluded with an extended, turned-up take on BLACKPINK’s beloved 2017 single “As If It’s Your Last.” But for this new leg of stadium dates, the group seemed to want to switch things up at the end — or, at least, they tried.
Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa tried to ask the crowd what song was their favorite from the night (laughing when they heard someone yell “The Happiest Girl”) and decided between themselves on three songs they’d gauge which had the loudest crowd response. After “Kill This Love” got a heap of roars, asking the crowd about “As If It’s Your Last” garnered noticeably heavier howls, and the girls forwent the poll and decided to get right into the track to close the night. As much as fans appreciated BLACKPINK looking to switch things up for the night, the fans clearly wanted to hear as many songs as possible and proved how even the group’s earliest singles have a lasting brilliance.
See the full setlist from the Born Pink Encore at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey:
“How You Like That”
“You & Me” (unreleased Jennie solo song)
“All Eyes on Me” (Jisoo solo)
“Gone” (Rosé Solo)
“On the Ground” (Rosé)
“Money” (Lisa Solo)
“Playing With Fire”
“Yeah Yeah Yeah”
“As If It’s Your Last”