There’s one memory many of our childhoods have in common: that moment where we’re pretending to hold a microphone and belting our favourite songs at the top of our lungs imagining that we’re performing for a sold out audience. 

Now, imagine the room actually being filled with 15,000 people screaming your name and knowing every word to your very own global hits. 

In the last three years, AP Dhillon, born Amritpal Singh Dhillon rose from humble beginnings as an international student in Victoria to touring the world performing a variety of hits infused with key elements of Punjabi music, blended with hip hop and trap beats. 

When Dhillon announced that his North American tour Out of This World was coming to Vancouver, I knew I had to be there—despite the sky high price of the tickets. 

While I went to hear his popular tracks like Excuses, Brown Munde, and Summer High, the performer surprised audiences by releasing a mellow EP entitled, Two Hearts Never Break the Same just days before the Vancouver show. 

I could feel the anticipation at Rogers Arena bubbling in the moments before the show. Everyone brought their best fits and Cartier glasses to watch the boys perform. It felt like being at a big family reunion where everyone had the same goal—to celebrate our brown munde in a sold-out arena. 

While expectations were sky high, the performance itself garnered mixed reviews from both the audience, and myself.

The funniest reviews were the viral discussions that surfaced for his dance number during Hills, that felt vastly different from what we were expecting to see from his performance. At one point, there was even a ballerina on stage. Now, I can’t knock an artist for wanting to expand their sound, style and growing edgier, but the show lacked a creative story line drawing these new elements together.

Many people criticized the show for relying on a back track, poor audio and some "interesting" creative decisions. I left the show feeling confused about my feedback because as much as I wanted to support a member of our community that truly made it to the big stage, there were too many key elements missing from the performance to make it an outstanding show. 

The lack of attention to detail and creativity really felt like the audience experience was not prioritized by the artists, even though as a fan I invested my time and money to come support him.

On top of that, the technical misses could be felt with audio being inconsistent throughout the show. If you weren’t seated in the first few rows of the stage or on the floor then you were probably left wondering why the speakers sounded off, or why he performed a song twice. 

As an avid AP Dhillon fan, I personally couldn't understand why he opted to lip sync the show. It felt like he was robbing his fans from a true experience to relish in the vocals and sounds of an artist that we love.

One thing is for sure, the boys know how to put on a fantastic fire and sparkler show, but in spite of that, an artist still needs to know how to command an entire stage from the crowd from the very back to the front which seemed to be largely missing. 

Luckily, he’s still so early on in his career that there’s time to cultivate his craft as a performer, because if you ask me, he’s definitely got the music part down. 

The debate could go on back and forth forever if audience members would spend their money to attend another AP Dhillon show, despite the missteps we saw.

But whether people in the audience loved or hated his performance, I’m sure there’s one thing we can all agree on. 

Regardless of where you were sitting, you could see AP pause to really take in performing a sold out show in a city just a few hours from where he used to study. In the end, it was a night for all us brown kids to celebrate each other and our love for music. 

The look beaming on his face every time he noticed the crowd singing his songs word for word, or the magical moment when thousands shined their flashlights in the arena was something special that he made possible. 

Being able to experience that was truly out of this world

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.