Saturday Night Live: 25 Years of Music

The first thing any SNL fan will notice when picking up this five-disc set is all of the great live segments over the past 25 years that are not here. Once you get over the fact that a favourite performance is not to be found (probably for licensing reasons), you'll certainly be impressed by the multitude of great artists that are included. On par with the musicians represented are many fantastic music-related sketches, featuring a list of performers that is just as star-studded, including Steve Martin's classic "King Tut," Andy Kaufman's unforgettable Elvis impersonation, Gilda Radner's Patti Smith send-up and other great spoofs by Eddy Murphy, Mike Meyers, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Bill Murray and the ever-brilliant John Belushi. The five discs are divided into five-year blocks and it will surprise no one that the best stuff is on the earlier discs. In fact, Volume One is incredibly solid from beginning to end, including killer performances by Ray Charles, the Grateful Dead and Elvis Costello. The hands down highlight, however, has to be Patti Smith's intense and inspired take on "Gloria." As the discs progress, the musical relevance of the artists drop substantially until we're presented with the likes of the Spice Girls, Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boys on Volume Five. Along the way there are a number of key performances of historical importance, including Spinal Tap's hilarious live debut ("Big Bottom," '84), Paul Simon's South African revelation ("Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," '86), Neil Young's return to peak rock form ("Rockin' in the Free World," '89) and Sinead O'Conner's Pope-trashing and poignantly sung rendition of "War" ('92). Other notable musical moments worth owning come from Carly Simon, Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger, Joe Cocker and John Belushi, the Band, James Brown, Talking Heads, Rick James, Aretha Franklin, Nirvana and Beck. Extras: Interview clips and selection options. (NBC/VSC)