BLACKPINK at Coachella 2023: top five moments from the K-pop superstars’ headline set
It’s been four years since BLACKPINK made their debut appearance at Coachella and it’s a moment that clearly made an impression on the group. “I believe that left a mark on all of our hearts,” singer Rosé tells the crowd as the band return to headline, making them the first Korean act to top the bill at the Californian event. “It made us remember the passion for performing for all you guys so I must say this is a dream come true for us to be headlining one of the largest festivals in the world.”
That passion is on full display tonight as the girl group levels up once again and leaves little doubt as to why they deserve to be occupying such a prestigious spot. Here are the five highlights from their set.
The hype-building drone show
Coachella just got a little brighter…
— SKYMAGIC Drone Shows (@Skymagicdrones) April 16, 2023
As the crowd waits for BLACKPINK to take to the stage, club-ready electronica begins to blast over the PA. As it does so, numerous drones start forming different shapes above the Coachella Stage – an astronaut, a butterfly, a heart, and more. It’s a dazzling lead-up to the main event that wows festivalgoers and builds anticipation for the four-piece’s eventual appearance.
The first “BLACKPINK IN YOUR AREA”
Chances are if you’ve listened to even just one BLACKPINK song then you’ll know what their slogan is: “BLACKPINK in your area.” It gets chanted several times during tonight’s performance, each yelled back passionately by the crowd. The first time it appears though – during ‘Kill This Love’ – it’s deafening; a true signal of the group’s arrival on stage that brings goosebumps.
The solo stages
Solo stages are a fixture of BLACKPINK’s ‘Born Pink’ world tour, and Coachella is no different. Each member gets their chance to shine in the spotlight, with two members choosing to perform familiar fan favourites, while the other two showcase new music. First up is rapper Jennie, who airs her unreleased song ‘You & Me’, which has been a highlight of other dates on the tour. This time, though, she adds a rap verse that brings new flare and ferocity to the lovelorn, pretty song. Immediately after her, singer Jisoo performs her recent debut solo single ‘Flower’, enrapturing Coachella with its hypnotising melodies.
On the other side of the coin, Rosé begins her segment with a snippet of the yearning acoustic song ‘Gone’, before picking herself up and launching into the more upbeat ‘On The Ground’. Wrapping up the individual moments, Lisa picks up the baton from her bandmate by pole dancing at the back of the stage before launching into an explicit version of her single ‘Money’ (“I came here to drop some money / Drop your fucking money,” she commands).
The euphoria of ‘Lovesick Girls’
i will ever shut up about how pretty and talented blackpink are
— morgie ? PINKCHELLA (@bammiesulthoe) April 16, 2023
The girl group might have a back catalogue full of bangers that all hit incredibly hard tonight, but their 2020 single ‘Lovesick Girls’ might just top them all. A strong declaration of independence, it’s euphoric in both its message and its bubbling, bright pop melodies and makes the whole crowd jump as one giddy mass.
The sheer confidence on display
— LalisaDebocha ✨PinkChella (@DebochaLalisa) April 16, 2023
Last time BLACKPINK played Coachella in 2019, you could see how nervous they (understandably) were, but there’s no hint of nerves tonight. Instead, the four women stride on stage as if they own it and deliver possibly the most confident performance of their lives. Rosé and Jisoo form the backbone of the songs with their powerhouse vocals, and Jennie makes each of her raps pack a punch. Lisa’s verse in ‘Whistle’, meanwhile, oozes charisma and effortless power. “It’s checkmate, I won this game,” she says at one point during it, and it’s hard to argue with her there.
Check back at NME all weekend for more reviews, news, interviews, photos and more from Coachella 2023.