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By Haydn Hickson

The time was 7:30pm on Wednesday night. I was exhausted as it was only that morning that I’d landed in London. After 24 hours of not-sleeping, I was walking through the Olympic Park-esque esplanade on my way to see the biggest girl-group in the world right now. I couldn’t believe it. I was about to be in the same room as K-pop icons, BLACKPINK. I wasn’t ready! But that was okay because evidently, no one else was. 

There was a chaotic energy surrounding the SSE Wembley Arena. Doors should’ve opened by now, but they hadn’t. Instead, a lack of organisation lead to mass audiences in various, confused clumps with rumours circling that some were in the “wrong line”. While this would’ve caused a ruckus at any other concert, the BLINKS weren’t letting anything get them down, with smiles all-round and the occasional sing-along to pass the time.

As we walked in, tension and expectations were high. With light-sticks costing over $60, t-shirts costing over $70 and tickets costing at least $200, the average BLINK had spent a lot of money to be there. And with no opening act and quite a reputation that preceded them, I started to question if they had the ability to deliver a concert that met not only expectations but the monetary investment of each and every audience member.

But boy, were my expectations met.

As the lights dimmed and intro music played, the stadium roared with excitement. From the very first adlib uttered, I was captivated. Even with thousands of iPhones in between us, nothing could take my focus away from these girls and their slick dance-moves. The foursome opened with their biggest song “DDU-DU-DDU-DU”, which was closely followed by the EDM cult-classic “Forever Young”. From the get-go, it was clear, this was no regular concert.

You really couldn’t fault BLACKPINK’s performance if you tried. From Lisa’s rap to Jisoo’s high notes, the girls were vocally perfect. An example showcasing this in action was during “Kiss & Make Up” (a collaboration with British singer Dua Lipa). While some would consider it a ballsy move to replace Dua’s vocals in front of her hometown, it became very apparent that Dua wasn’t needed on that song at all. Rosé, who sung most of Dua’s original lyrics, vocally exceeded the English singer by a long shot, showing much more character in her singing style and nailing the language in the process.

While there were some songs that were lip-synced, the audience barely cared because the choreography was way too rigorous to maintain breath anyway. Not to mention, the dancing was such a highlight to witness in person, as each of the members hit every beat with ease, as if it were second nature to them.

There were very little lulls in the show at all, with the only memorable one happening during the second act. Here, each of the girls took the stage solo to sing a cover, dance or perform their original song. While each of the members were technically perfect (and could all have solo careers- might I add), it was at this point that something felt missing. As good as the performances were, the BLACKPINK magic wasn’t on stage anymore. It became painfully clear that each and every member of BLACKPINK were in that band for a reason. They complete each other, which is a dynamic that I haven’t seen in a girl-group since their viral processor 2NE1.  

But I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed it, the audience couldn’t get enough. With the constant screams becoming white noise throughout the duration of the concert, the energetic audience couldn’t be more present if they tried. While I was taken back by the amount of people that knew all the Korean lyrics to their songs (I’m gonna estimate ¾ people knew all the words), something else that the audience did shook me to my very core.

As BLACKPINK played a video interlude mashup that collated people from around-the-world dancing to their music, I was happily shocked at how supportive the audience was for the other stans. BLINKs don’t have the best reputation for being a nice fandom, so to be in a room with thousands of them, as they appreciated and pedestalled the works of others, was touching to say the least.

All-in-all, my experience being in the audience of BLACKPINK’s In Your Area tour was incredible. Every single second of this concert will have you captivated – even the 3-minute-long KIA ad. I’m not even joking, that happened. From their flawless vocals to their energetic dance moves, prepare to be hypnotised. If you can get tickets, I highly recommend heading along to their Sydney show.

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