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Concerts

Diljit Dosanjh Makes Punjabi Music History With Stadium Concert at Vancouver's BC Place

The artist kicked off his Dil-Luminati tour at a sold-out concert at BC Place in front of 54,000 people — making it the largest ever Punjabi music concert outside of India.

Diljit Dosanjh at an earlier tour stop

Diljit Dosanjh at an earlier tour stop

Live Nation

On Saturday night (April 27), Vancouver witnessed Diljit Dosanjh make history.

The artist kicked off his Dil-Luminati tour on April 27 with a sold-out stadium show at BC Place to a crowd of 54,000 people — making it the largest ever Punjabi music concert outside of India.


The show leaned into its historic accomplishment, with an ominous voice preceding Diljit Dosanjh’s entry, “Remember, firsts are always special and what you witness here will never be repeated.”

With anticipation palpable in the air, Dosanjh delivered a high-powered, electric set with charisma and an undeniable star-power that easily captivated the record-breaking audience. It was an unapologetic celebration of Punjabi music and culture.

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An eager multigenerational crowd braved hours of traffic and long rainy lines to watch Dosanjh take the stage. After all, the artist has a deep connection to Vancouver. Several of his popular Punjabi films that accelerated his career like Jatt and Juliet and Honsla Rakh were filmed across Greater Vancouver, making this moment that much more special for fans who have been longtime supporters far before his recent international successes. For many, the show felt like a reunion, with people stopping to warmly embrace old friends and family throughout the venue.

Dosanjh emerged from the ground in a cloud of fog with a hand raised to open the show with “G.O.A.T.”, the forceful and energetic title track from his 2020 album. He was fashionable in an all-black Punjabi kurta and chadra, with sunglasses, gloves, and a turla style turban, complete with a signature pleated fan accent. At the first chance, the singer broke into bhangra amidst a rainfall of confetti. The crowd cheered him on and joined in, his image projected on the two large screens on either side of him. Behind him, local bhangra dancers backed him up throughout the show.

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After his first song, Dosanjh paused to scan the sea of people around him. While processing this unprecedented moment in his career, the audience processed it along with him. He did this throughout the show, pausing to drink in his surroundings and address the audience with gratitude or shoutout local collaborators, recognizing this as a collective win for the Punjabi community — one that is just as much ours as it is his.

“Now, Punjabis have made it to stadiums,” Dosanjh said. “The next generation won’t be able to say that this has never happened before. Now for generations to come, our kids can dream even bigger.”

During his performance of “Vibe,” the singer scooped up a young fan from the crowd who was dressed in signature Diljit Dosanjh attire, inviting him to dance with him. As the boy, understandably intimidated by the size of the crowd in front him, got more comfortable, he broke into dance himself. It was Diljit Dosanjh’s hopes for the next generation coming to life right in front of him — a child who can now literally see himself on stage performing for a stadium of fans.

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In over two decades in the music and film industry, Dosanjh has solidified himself as one of the defining global artists of our generation. Just last year, he was the first Indian-born Punjabi singer to perform at Coachella and has recently made strides for international music amassing hundreds of millions of streams on collaborative tracks with Sia, Saweetie and Camilo respectively. More recently, Dosanjh is fresh off the critical acclaim of his performance of the titular Amar Singh Chamkila, a Bollywood biopic about the life and death of the controversial Punjabi singer who was killed at the height of his fame in 1988.

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The 27-song setlist, running for about two and a half hours including an intermission, featured a thoughtfully crafted mix of songs that catered to the crowd. Dosanjh deftly transitioned between songs from early in his career to the newer hits from his meteoric rise in the last few years — with everything from Punjabi folk to hip-hop to pop. The crowd was enthralled throughout without a single drop in energy or enthusiasm. Dosanjh even interspersed a few covers and asides of songs by Chamkila, like “Kan Kar Gal Sun Makhna,” a nod to his most recent film role. The stadium itself came alive, with thousands of light-up wristbands illuminating the area, and well-timed effects like pyrotechnics, balloons and confetti throughout.

Ultimately though, Diljit Dosanjh’s historic Vancouver concert was a testament to the rock star that he has become. This moment, shared with thousands of supporters who are acutely aware of the gravity of this accomplishment, was the perfect culmination of his journey as an artist. His vocals were sharp and precise, and his years building his chops as a performer were on full display.

Diljit Dosanjh is showing the world that Punjabi artists and music are worth investing in. A high-value, blockbuster show for all generations is a risk in so many ways. But Dosanjh shows how it’s a risk worth taking, time and time again.

So many of us packed into BC Place on Saturday had never dreamed of seeing a Punjabi artist perform at this scale. It was a big dream, and Vancouver turned up to make it a reality.

Diljit Dosanjh's comfort and ease on that big stage gave the impression that he is on the cusp of something even bigger. Everything up until now has just been the warm up.

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