This was my second Cocteau Twins gig in less than a year, so you might think I would have been a little more forgiving that the band only lasted four songs before calling it a night. In truth, at the time I was okay with a truncated set because The Veldt had opened and I'd been dying to see them anyway, and Cocteau Twins were not doing anything significantly different this time than they had a few months earlier.
Liz Fraser had a cold or something and as I have mentioned before, she seemed to barely be able to bring the music to life on her own with all of her faculties. After struggling and coughing through a few songs, she walked off stage and we all sat there kind of wondering what has happening. I remember everyone being really sympathetic and accepting of the situation as we all felt bonded with the woman behind that angelic voice. The weird thing though was the way that the band reacted. Simon Raymonde seemed to get really testy on the mic as he explained that they simply couldn't go on and we should all go home. I couldn't understand why he seemed so frustrated with us at the time, but after being on stage with Underwater and having to cut a set short ourselves about a decade later, it all made a lot more sense. I doubt very much that he was angry with the audience, and realize now that it was more likely that he was just taking it out on us.
The organizers were promising a rescheduled date or refunds, but neither ever materialized. I was pretty happy to get whatever the band had to give that night, but now that the band has broken up and moved on, I realize that my last chance to ever see Cocteau Twins ended after 4 songs with a Liz Fraser who's voice was even more fragile and lonely than usual. I had seriously considered going to the Coachella festival when Cocteau Twins were scheduled to headline, but as I read Robin Guthrie's blog I realized that it wasn't happening after all and I could have nearly ended up feeling like the band owed me for TWO tickets, more than a decade apart.
Sometimes it's just not going to work out. I learned this in my own bands with singers. Sometimes the best thing you can have as a fan of someone else's music is a record and a dream of what it might be like to hear the band bring those songs to life over giant sized speakers. Sometimes a dream will have to do.