The National paid tribute to late musician Daniel Johnston at a show at the White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas by performing a mash-up of their own “I Am Not in Kansas” with his classic tune “Devil Town.” The musicians took the opportunity to honor the singer, who died of a heart attack at age 58, in a clearly emotional way. The two songs included back-up vocals from Kate Stables, Hannah Georgas and Kyle Resnick.
“That was for Daniel Johnston, who left us,” The National frontman Matt Berninger told the audience after the song, which hit the eight-minute mark. “And we’re still here.”
“Devil Town” comes off Johnston’s 1990 album 1990 and has been covered by numerous artists, including Bright Eyes and Beck. Several other musicians have paid tribute to the musicians since his death was announced on Wednesday, including Zola Jesus, The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle and Jack Antonoff.
Johnston’s death was announced by his family on Wednesday, September 11th. “The Johnston family is deeply saddened to announce the death of their brother, Daniel Johnston,” his family said in a statement. “He passed away from natural causes this morning at his home outside of Houston, Texas. Daniel was a singer, songwriter, an artist, and a friend to all. Although he struggled with mental health issues for much of his adult life, Daniel triumphed over his illness through his prolific output of art and songs. He inspired countless fans, artists, and songwriters with his message that no matter how dark the day, ‘the sun shines down on me’ and ‘true love will find you in the end.’”