MANILA — Filipino concertgoers never cease to amaze artists with their loud cheers and energy. And K-pop superstars Blackpink were the latest act to be moved by the local crowd.
The hitmaking girl group recently visited the country for its "Born Pink" concert tour, playing before thousands of fans for two nights at the colossal Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The screams began the moment Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa appeared on stage, exuding charisma and a commanding presence as they descended from an elevated platform while fountains of sparks shot up from the front of the stage.
And from the opening song to the very last number, the zeal from Filipino Blinks never waned as they sang, danced along, cheered and waved their hammer-shaped lightsticks.
Even the girls seemed surprised with the massive turnout and ear-splitting shrieks at the 55,000-seater venue, with Rosé’s jaw dropping as she scanned the sea of pink lights early into the first show.
"We think this is one of the loudest crowds [we've ever heard]," Rosé remarked.
Rosé and Lisa even got goosebumps when they received a loud response after the latter asked the audience if they were prepared to have fun during the concert, which ran for nearly two hours.
"One thing I'm really loving about [the Philippines] is that [I'm] actually seeing people really jump and dance and singing along," Jennie said halfway through the event.
"We really appreciate it. It makes us very happy," she added.
Reunion with fans
The Philippine leg of the "Born Pink" tour, mounted by Live Nation Philippines, marked Blackpink's reunion with its Filipino fans after over four years. The group previously performed at the Mall of Asia Arena in February 2019 for its "In Your Area" tour.
During the girls' first visit, they had very few songs under their belt, filling the set list with covers and reprises of singles "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" and "Stay."
But for their latest concert, Blackpink — described by Time magazine as "biggest girl group in the world" in 2022 — brought a more extensive repertoire, showcasing over 20 songs, most of which were pulled from their full-length records "The Album" (2020) and "Born Pink" (2022).
The concert's production was nothing short of grand, fitting for performers of Blackpink's stature. Pyrotechnics and flashy multicolored lights helped amplify the dance routines during the climactic endings of hits like "How You Like That," "Kill This Love," "Pink Venom" and "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du."
A live band accompanied the foursome, adding new musical flair to their songs. For instance, there's an electric guitar that plays during the bridge of "Kill This Love" and outro of "Playing With Fire," bringing tinges of rock that were absent in the original recordings.
The girls also performed alongside an ensemble of YGX dancers who helped them fill the vast stage, which featured an elevated platform, a V-shaped ramp and T-shaped extension that stretched into the standing area.
Similar to the previous concert, each member was given a solo stage, allowing them to show off their individual star power, starting with Jisoo who charmed the crowd with her cover of Camila Cabello's "Liar."
Jennie gave fans a taste of her unreleased song "You & Me," which includes a partnered dance routine, with the pair's silhouettes projected on a shining moon in the background.
Rosé's rich vocals filled the arena with her performances of "Hard to Love" and "On the Ground," while Lisa had the crowd going wild with her pole dancing and solo tracks "Lalisa" and "Money."
During the encore, the girls were mostly freewheeling and interacting with fans from the main and extended stages as they capped the evening with "Yeah Yeah Yeah," "Stay" and "As If It's Your Last."
"Considering we haven't been back for four whole years, I'm pretty sure the Philippines did not forget about us," Rosé said.
"Today was a very wonderful day together with our Philippine fans," Jennie added.
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