May 15, 2023
SINGAPORE – “It is very, very, very hot today. My face is melting.”
Singer Jennie of K-pop girl group Blackpink cracked the joke midway through the first night of the Blackpink World Tour Born Pink concert held at the National Stadium on Saturday.
The quartet will perform again at the same venue on Sunday.
Indeed, record temperatures hit the city over the weekend, but it was no match for the excitement of some 50,000 fans of Blackpink (known as Blinks), which comprised men and women, as well as prepubescent children and their parents, who paid between $168 and $398 to watch them perform.
Members Jennie, Lisa, Rose and Jisoo took the stage at around 8pm, opening the 105-minute show with a string of five hits – How You Like That, Pretty Savage, Whistle, Don’t Know What To Do and Lovesick Girls.
Although it was a surprisingly brief gig, it was filled with pyrotechnics, confetti and blockbuster tracks, from the early Boombayah to the more recent Shut Down.
Each member also got to showcase their solo songs – Jennie performed You And Me, Rose belted out her English numbers Hard To Love and On The Ground, while Lisa flaunted her dance skills with Lalisa and Money. Loud cheers also erupted when Jisoo performed her newly released viral hit Flower.
Earlier in the day, thousands of Blackpink fans decked out in black and pink outfits thronged the vicinity of the National Stadium as they counted down to the concert.
While the official queueing time for standing pen ticket holders began at 2.30pm, fans began forming informal queues for security checks before noon.
Temperatures soared to a high of 33 deg C, as crowds waited unsheltered amid the heat and humidity.
At the front of the line were dating couple, Ms Dewi Mayaningtyas and Mr Cenmidtal Cuaca Mulyanto from Indonesia. The 36-year-old employees of a crypto-exchange firm specially flew to Singapore to catch Blackpink live for the first time. They had failed to secure tickets to the Jakarta gig on March 11. Mr Cenmidtal has supported Blackpink since 2016 and said that queueing in the scorching weather was worthwhile.
Singaporean student Renee Quek, 21, who admitted she was nervous about the crowd crush in the standing pen, added: “We also have no plans to eat (meals while we queue). However, it is worth it as the group only comes once (in a blue moon).”
Blackpink last performed here at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2019.
Mass queueing also took place earlier in the morning, when the Blackpink World Tour Born Pink merchandise booth – which sold themed paraphernalia ranging from $20 to $100 – opened at 9am.
Among the first in line was Ms Momo Banyar, 20, who was “too excited to sleep” and rushed down to OCBC Square at 4am in the hopes of scoring some swag.
Said the Burmese national who is studying in Singapore: “The crowd gradually built up. By 7am, there was a second queue that extended around the perimeter of Kallang Wave Mall.”
In addition to around $800 spent on VIP tickets for both days, Ms Banyar forked out another $1,850 on bulk buying hoodies, keychains, lightsticks and accessories such as plush toys and hair clips.
The concert also created an opportunity for enthusiasts from the local K-dance scene to show off their moves.
From noon to 1pm, three crews RisinStars.Official, Eve and Sunergy – whose members are aged 13 to 23 – put on an arresting display at the open space outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Each took turns to perform dance routines to Blackpink songs such as How You Like That, Pink Venom and Forever Young.
Local student Nicholas Tan, 13, a member of RisinStars.Official, started taking dance classes in October 2022 after watching Blackpink’s dance videos since 2020.
He said: “We are very proud as despite the short training time, we managed to bring out our best performances to show our fellow Blinks.”