Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live

The Musical Performances Vols. 1 + 2

NBC/Dreamworks

What the hell happened? SNL used to be known for not only its cutting-edge live comedy, but its risky selections in musical acts. Hell, I remember Devo performing “Working in a Coalmine” on treadmills, and that was a rerun. Why isn’t that here? Blondie was on, too. About the only concession I see is Elvis Costello’s “Radio Radio,” an unauthorized performance (it contains the “n-word,” heavens), a gem in a wasteland populated by Jewel, Counting Crows, and the Dave Matthews Band. A sticker placed on the back of the second disc cleverly omits the title of Nirvana’s song (“Rape Me”), though it lists all others. A fitting gesture for a brilliant show that tempers it brightest moments with tepid compromise.

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