By Dong Sun-hwa
K-pop girl group BLACKPINK made a triumphant return home on Sunday after wrapping up its "Born Pink" tour ― the largest-ever world tour for a K-pop girl group that attracted an unprecedented 1.8 million concertgoers worldwide.
The YG Entertainment stars held a sold-out tour finale concert at Gocheok Sky Dome in southwestern Seoul's Guro District, the place where they started their globe-trotting journey last October. After staging 64 concerts in 34 cities including LA, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and Abu Dhabi, the quartet has elevated its performing skills to the next level, showcasing the best version of itself during the 120-minute show.
"I am really happy that so many people have joined our last concert to support us," member Rose said during the concert. "I am also glad that we can finish off our tour in Seoul."
Sunday's extravaganza began with the powerful "Pink Venom," a song from the group's second full-length album, "Born Pink" (2022). Clad in dazzling white, the four members ― Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rose ― popped up on stage amid ear-splitting screams and performed their smash-hits like "How You Like That" (2020) against a backdrop inspired by traditional Korean architecture. It was more sophisticated version of the one used for BLACKPINK's show in April at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of North America's largest music festivals.
Throughout the concert, BLACKPINK predominantly focused on delivering quality performances instead of talking between songs, letting fans immerse themselves in the group's eclectic music and dance performances.
The four members created great synergy as a team, but they also displayed their impeccable solo artists sides. Jennie started off her solo performance with her take on "Solo" (2018) and "YOU & ME" (2022). "Gone" (2021) and "On the Ground" (2021) by Rose, which highlighted her mellifluous voice and wide vocal range, made the audience grow sentimental. Jisoo stole the show like the title of her solo release, "All Eyes On Me" (2023) before commanding the stage with "FLOWER" (2023). Lisa wowed people with her dancing prowess during her gripping rendition of "MONEY" (2021).
One of the crown jewels of the concert was BLACKPINK's performance of "Typa Girl" (2022), which wove together elements of a musical and "buchaechum," a traditional Korean fan dance. Dancing along with a group of male dancers with huge white feather fans, the K-pop stars manifested their ability to integrate Korean culture into their modern, global appeal.
"Unlike our previous shows, every performance today is striking a chord with me," Jennie said. "We are marking an end to our one-year tour today, so I hope you all enjoy it until the end."
Some BLACKPINK fans and K-pop industry insiders speculated that the singers would address the issue of their contract renewal with YG Entertainment during the show. The four members, who debuted in 2016, soon have to decide whether to maintain their partnership with YG. The members, however, did not disclose any specific details.
"We already have been together for 2,596 days," Lisa, who was rumored to have rejected a contract renewal offer, told her followers. "We could perform in many great venues thanks to you. Thank you so much for brightening up my 20s with me."
Jisoo said, "I want to show appreciation to you all for helping us build precious memories. I think it's great that none of us got sick while we were on tour."
Jennie recalled that it was a tumultuous year.
"We could only reach this point because we have each other," she said. "This year marks the seventh anniversary of our debut, but in hindsight, we did not have much of a chance to meet our followers in Korea. That was why we wanted to play our last concerts in Seoul."
The 27-year-old added, "In the days ahead, we will continue to work hard to be seen as a cool group."