As the global phenomenon that is BLACKPINK prepares to unveil BLACKPINK: A VR Encore, an immersive virtual reality experience stemming from the special finale concert of the BORN PINK World Tour, anticipation is high not just from fans, but the members themselves.
Speaking exclusively with Billboard ahead of A VR Encore‘s premiere on Tuesday (Dec. 26), Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa dive into their vision and inspiration to take the “next step” intersecting the technology, creativity and energy synonymous with the BLACKPINK brand to jump into virtual reality.
Produced and directed by Emmy winners The Diamond Bros in partnership with Meta, the 70-minute concert will have BLACKPINK and BLINKs experiencing Billboard Hot 100 hits such as “Shut Down,” “Pink Venom” and “How You Like That” like never before. Utilizing Meta Quest 3 headsets, the show takes place in Meta Horizon Worlds’ new Music Valley venue.
BLACKPINK: A VR Encore premieres for free, exclusively in VR on Tuesday, Dec. 26, at 5 p.m. PT in Meta Horizon Worlds. For those unable to attend the live premiere, replays will be available until the end of January in Meta Horizon Worlds.
Fans can RSVP to the event here. Read on for an interview with BLACKPINK on their latest world tour reflections, how the innovative experience came together and what BLINKs can look forward to in the future.
Congratulations on a massive 2023 where your BLACKPINK WORLD TOUR [BORN PINK] won you Top K-Pop Touring Artist at the Billboard Music Awards, and now marks your first virtual reality concert experience. What has this tour meant to you personally?
Rosé: Thank you so much. This tour has been an incredible journey for us. It means a lot that, after the pandemic, we were able to travel the world again and meet all the angels who have supported us. This support has enabled us to do what we love as musicians.
Personally, during this world tour, I was grateful for the lessons learned from our first world tour about setting goals and purposes before heading out. Since it was our first tour after the pandemic, I understood how important it was to really cherish the moments we have with our fans and to do what we love. I feel like I connected with myself and with each crowd in a different way every time. I had so much fun during this world tour.
BLACKPINK: A VR Encore showcases your finale concerts at the Gocheok Sky Dome. What memories do you have from those Seoul shows specifically?
Jennie: The energy from the audience was amazing and made those shows unforgettable — they showed us how strong our connection is with our BLINKs. Despite the many travels, the love we felt at Gocheok Sky Dome, and throughout the tour, made everything worthwhile. These experiences showed us how much we’ve grown with our fans, making our journey together very meaningful.
While creating the experience with The Diamond Bros and Meta, what were the most exciting parts when adding new immersive elements to your show? What are you excited for fans to see?
Jisoo: It’s interesting to think of our performances being presented in a new way with virtual reality. We’re curious about how this different format will bring a fresh perspective to our shows! It’s a new venture, and we’re looking forward to seeing the fans’ reactions to this unique experience.
Lisa: I think the fans will enjoy the playful aspects of the VR concert. It’s like a new, fun experience for them. I hope they can feel the warmth and energy of our performances, even in this new format.
Jennie: It’s a different and unique way to experience our music. I think fans will find it interesting, especially with the immersive sound and visuals. I hope it feels like an exciting and innovative way for them to connect with us.
Why was this the right time for BLACKPINK’s first VR concert?
Rosé: We felt that now was the perfect time for our first VR concert because technology has finally caught up with our vision. We’ve always wanted to offer our fans a new and exciting way to experience our music — VR felt like the next step in achieving that.
Have you been able to preview A VR Encore with the Meta Quest 3 headsets? Any tips for BLINKs having a first-time experience?
Lisa: We’re looking forward to seeing A VR Encore, just like our fans are! The idea of mixing technology with our live shows is interesting — we’re waiting to see what this virtual world is like and how our fans will like it.
Looking at the BLACKPINK WORLD TOUR [BORN PINK] at large, do any particular memories stand out?
Jisoo: In each city on our tours, we took group photos with our fans. Looking back at all these photos together, it really hit us how many fans we’ve shared our journey with. It was a way to capture memories city by city, and the incredible support from BLINKs.
Rosé: As I mentioned earlier, I felt a unique connection to every city. It’s always fascinating to see how each crowd has its own character and personality. What was also interesting was hearing friends predict how wild some cities would be. They were right, but there were also cities where nobody mentioned the crowds, and they turned out to be the loudest I’d ever performed for. Interacting with each crowd in a different way was so much fun, and I loved learning new things about each city.
How do you think BLACKPINK will elevate and upgrade future tours? Do you imagine more immersive ways to connect with fans? What else do you want to share with BLINKs at this time?
Lisa: Whether it’s more VR elements or other immersive experiences, our goal is to keep pushing boundaries and creating unforgettable moments for BLINKs.
Jennie: And to all our BLINKs, we love you and are so grateful for your unconditional support. You inspire us to be better every day, and we promise to keep bringing you music and performances that light up your world. Stay tuned, as we have so much more to share with you!