Blackpink at BST Hyde Park, London, 2nd July 2023

“I came out early! Story of my life!” laughs Aussie manic pixie dream fairy Peach PRC, as she steps out sooner than planned onto the aptly named Rainbow Stage. Make no mistake – this is a set for the girls and the gays. Opener Perfect For You samples the iconic Paris Hilton track Stars Are Blind, and somehow manages to make it even dreamier and dancier than before. Peach tumbles through a synth heavy cover of Teenage Dirtbagbefore leading the crowd through the bouncy Forever Drunk and cutesy TikTok hit Loved You Before. But it’s God Is A Freak that sees the most engagement from the crowd, a candid and funny queer anthem that rounds off the set perfectly. If you’re looking to have fun, your best chances are with Peach PRC. 7/10

Indie band The Rose may hail from the same country as headliners Blackpink, but there’s no synchronised dance routines on show here, just big, Coldplay-style stadium rock riffs. The band power through their set with aplomb – there’s some technical difficulties early on, but they’re navigated with utmost professionalism and certainly don’t assuage the enthusiastic cheers of their fans. The band’s songwriting talent is undeniable – She’s In The Rain and SOUR have huge cathartic choruses that soar thanks to the impressive vocals of Kim Woosung. Finishing on an unreleased track is an unusual choice, but Want You Back is an infectious indie anthem that turns out to be the highlight of the set, and shows The Rose certainly have even bigger things in store. 9/10

Have you heard Rebecca Black is back? That’s right, the Friday hitmaker is now a fully-fledged pop starlet, and she has a surprisingly impressive voice. Black’s vocals really shine on R&B-tinged slow jam Worth It For The Feeling and Doe-Eyed, which sounds like it could be an Ariana Grande cut. However, it’s Destroy Me that is the most fun, a hyperpop romp that will crawl inside your head and get stuck there, whether you like it or not. Combined with some polished dance routines and fun props (chainsaw as a microphone holder, anyone?), it’s a deep shame there isn’t more people witnessing this campy pop dream. As the set finishes on a remixed version of Rebecca Black’s now infamous debut song, a sudden swarm of people dashes over to the stage. Don’t tell them that they already missed the best part. 7/10

Sabrina Carpenter has clearly been taking lessons from the Taylor Swift school of stage presence – everything from her playful audience engagement to her guitar technique would make Swift proud. Her songs, however, sometimes lack the same versatility. Openers Read your Mind and Feather are very retro feeling but flow into each other and cause the start of the set to drag a little, before things perk up with the heartfelt Tornado Warnings and a gorgeous cover of Lay All Your Love On Me. It’s a common theme throughout the set, shines of brilliance, like the Latino tinged Looking At Mewhich feels like a fresher, more modern version of Camila Cabello’s Havana, are too frequently buried in forgettable ballads. Talent is not the issue here – Carpenter’s voice and musicianship shows she has it in spades – but her catalogue may need some sharpening if she’s to reach the same heights as her pop contemporaries. 6/10

Tonight, K-Pop superstars Blackpink are making history: they can now add being the first Korean group to headline a UK festival to their long list of accolades. Known worldwide for their highly polished performances, as the group appeared on stage to cavalier opener Pink Venom, it was evident that tonight would be no exception, as UK Blinks were treated to an exhilarating live show showcasing the group’s impressive collection of hits.

The only drawback? It ends too quickly –  at less than 90 minutes, it was considerably shorter than Blackpink’s other shows on their recent Born Pink world tour, and fan favourites like As If It’s Your Last and Kill This Love were missing from the setlist. That said, the fact that the group can fill a setlist even without some of their biggest tracks is testament to the fact that despite having just two albums under their belt, Blackpink’s discography is a force to be reckoned with. Where they go next is anyone’s guess: right now, there’s no stage too big for them. 8/10

Powering their way through hip-hop infused tracks with chunky choruses like Pretty Savage and Whistle, the quartet maintain impeccable poise, executing dance moves with ease and showering love on their emphatic fans at every opportunity. Mid-way through the show, the girls show off their individual talents with solo performances, which sees Jisoo perform recent viral hit Flower and Rose deliver a stripped-back version of Gone, which manages to feel intimate even in the 65,000 capacity crowd. The gritty Shut Down and europhic Forever Young are set highlights – but even if you aren’t familiar with Blackpink’s music, it’s a show that’s truly mesmerising to watch, packed with confetti, pyro, and costume changes.

This year’s American Express presents BST Hyde Park series included shows from P!nkLana Del Rey and more. For more information about BST Hyde Park and to keep an eye on announcements for 2024 visit the official website.

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