"I had a dream that a guy was sentenced to death for attempting suicide, and the guy was me, and I was in the back of the courtroom going, "NO!  NO!"  This tragicomic little snippet of stage banter from Daniel Johnston's gig at Paradiso last Thursday night wrung plenty of uncomfortable laughs from the rather stiff audience.  

The mix of appreciation for talent and near-schadenfreude embodied by the response says a lot about the experience of listening to the legendarily fragile cult musician in general. Johnston, backed by Holland's BEAM orchestra for most of the set, trembled and soldiered his way through a mix of classics (e.g. "Walking the Cow", "Devil Town", "True Love Will Find You in the End") and tracks off his recent release, Is And Always Was. There were some pretty great musicians on stage, and I found the addition of the orchestra to be a welcome recontextualization of Johnston's music. 
Given that he seemed to be struggling both physically and mentally throughout the set, I honestly don't see how he could tour without that kind of added support at this point. Despite the shakiness of Johnston's performance, the show made me root for him all the same and served as a good reminder of the great music he's made over the course of his career.

Daniel Johnston - Speeding Motorcycle by subbacultcha