Dean Ford doesn’t want to cause you any sorrow. Dean Ford doesn’t want to cause you and pain. Dean Ford only wants to see you laughing – and dancing – in the Purple Rain. And you can do so in costume if you’re so inspired while at his show on Halloween night.
For the fourth consecutive year, Ford and his musician friends are putting on a Prince tribute show on Halloween. Past shows have featured Prince and The Revolution’s keyboardist Matt “Doctor” Fink and a flash mob performing “Thriller.” This year Ford says he’s sticking with his core band, The Keepsakes, featuring Renee Coolbrith, Evan Haines, Jonathan Truman, Joe Harding, Jeff Chipman and Jason Ward. Though he added that there are plenty of surprises up his frilled sleeve. Ford, as Prince, and company will be performing everything from “Purple Rain” to other material from the catalog of his royal badness between the years 1978 and 2004. What’s more, Ford is actually opening for himself with a set of original tunes from his new album “Get Messy.”
Ford’s love affair with the music of Prince dates back to 1997 when he was eight years old. He caught an episode of “Muppets Tonight” in which Prince appeared. “I remember seeing him as the guest and thinking that there was something about him that was really cool but kind of off.” Ford said that between then and 2010, he was aware of the radio singles but have never taken a deeper dive into Prince’s work. “Then people started telling me how much my style reminded them of Prince so I dove into ‘Sign o’ the Times’ and became somewhat obsessed,” recalled Ford.
Ford went on to say that he could wax poetic (extensively) about Prince but he’s able to break it down in short form. “Simply put, he is an artist, musician and performer in the truest sense. He can play every instrument as if it were his primary instrument. He writes, performs and produces nearly every piece of music he has ever released.” Ford says the word prolific doesn’t come close to describing Prince’s contributions. “Since 1978, he’s released around 35 studio albums, with some of those being double or triple albums.” But the number one reason why Dean is such a huge fan is really quite simple: “There is, always has been, and always will be one Prince.” But there will be a second one in Portland for one night only and if you’ve never seen Ford’s interpretation of Prince, you’re in for quite a surprise. He’s got the look, moves and sounds down jaw-droppingly well. Hear – and see – for yourself what it sounds like when Dean Ford’s doves cry.
Purple Brainz: A Halloween Tribute to Prince with Dean Ford & The Beautiful Ones
9 p.m. Saturday. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland, $8 in advance or with costume, $10 day of show, 18-plus. portcitymusichall.com