Why do I feel as though in places, this is not as much a friendly debate anymore? I thought the question was basic enough (can Neil Finn, or can't he, read music and why you think what you think about it....), but I find myself sorry I bothered to come back to this thread and read the answers...
Several of you know how to read music, and hey, good for you. But you know what, I don't consider myself any less a musician because I can't. I feel however that some of these posts have suggested as much, and I've found the tone of some to be a bit condescending. I can't speak for those whose intention was to make this about who can do what, or who can do it better, but my post was intended to base MY opinion of whether Neil can read music on MY experience and perceptions, period.
To those who responded with the information about Neil reaching grade 8 in piano, that's something I didn't know, and thank you, that's what I was trying to figure out. To those who groove on implying that I or others like me are lesser musicians or groove on your own presumed superiority by publicly correcting others, I will simply point out that I've made more money in my life playing music I can't read than my classically-trained, concert pianist mother ever made, and will ask that we go back to making the focus here NEIL FINN and HIS abilities, and not the superior versus inferior abilities of listees.
(By the way, this is not a mood thing. I am having a pretty good day for a change. I just get incredibly offended when people steeped in musical theory imply that their musicianship is superior while people who can't read or taught themselves how to play aren't valid or gifted musicians. I've known people who sight read wonderfully, but are incapable of playing with any degree of soul...and in my book, it's ALL about soul. It's a position I've held, gotten mad about and defended, all my life.)