Just got back from the DC show a couple of hours ago. I'm very glad to have Neil back in town for the third time in two years. This show was not as good as the last two solo-Neil shows at the 9:30 Club though, the first of which was transcendent, a show where he made average songs like Pineapple Head and When You Come sound absolutely brilliant.
I didn't chart the set list, but here are some that were played:
New album: Gentle Hum, Won't Give In, Luckiest Man Alive, Anything Can Happen, Edible Flowers, Nothing Wrong With You, at least a couple of others that I don't know the names of yet. Won't Give In was great, but I knew that from iTunes. Gentle Hum was one of the few songs to sound better live than on the recording tonight. Edible Flowers was good. Nothing Wrong With You was probably the low-point for me, veering into danger message-song territory (a la Phil Collins 'Another Day in Paradise').
Finn Bros 1: Suffer Never, Angel's Heap
Woodface: There Goes God, It's Only Natural, Weather With You, Four Seasons In One Day
Split Enz: I Got You, I See Red, Six Months in a Leaky Boat, others that I don't know.
Warning: Rant ahead. All of this in context of letting you know that CH & Neil Finn has been my favorite artist since Woodface, period.
The backing band was not nearly as good as the Lisa Germano / Sebastian et al. band of recent days. You could tell that Neil was getting pissed off with poor guitar tech work.
Tim was out of form tonight. A lot of energy, but the lower range of his voice is shot, and he was not very disciplined musically. Came in at the wrong time on the backing vocals at least once - Four Seasons in One Day if I recall correctly.
Overall, I think Tim detracts more than he adds to the pairing. Part of that is my anti-Split Enz bias, and part of it is agreement with the guy who wrote the review of the Toronto show that was posted today - he's just not as talented, and his harmonization muddies Neil's lead vocals. I know that I'm setting myself up for vigorous defense of Tim, but let's face it: he's not a tenth of the talent that Neil is. Neil is a nice enough guy to work with his brother every few years, but these efforts (with the exception of the Woodface tracks) have been below the mean.
Overall, good night with some high points (Edible Flowers, Won't Give In, There Goes God), and nice to hear tracks from the new album for the first time, but I want Neil solo next time!