Total Recall is a thorough, chronological audio-visual history of Roxy Music, including forays into the solo careers of prominent band members. The 90-minute videotape features 41 videos/live performances that span approximately ten years, 1972-1982. It excels in its presentation of rarely seen clips from television broadcasts and concert footage, plus a plethora of stills from album-cover photo shoots and old concert flyers. Archive sources include BBC Television, Dick Clark Inc., Live Aid, music videos, and more.
The documentary covers all of Roxy's official album releases and also includes the following: a 1973 clip from Brian Eno's recording session for Here Come the Warm Jets; a substantial number of video excerpts detailing Bryan Ferry's solo career; excerpts from solo performances by Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera; and a 1975 clip of Manzanera playing "Diamond Head." The truly live performances hold much more interest than those in which the group lip syncs for commercial television shows; there's an abundance of each here. Cameos include Gary Glitter, Abba, Eurythmics, and Elton John, all of whom were guest hosts on some of the TV programs that Roxy played over the years.
Highlights on Total Recall are many. In a mid-'70s video promoting Ferry's "Let's Stick Together" single, tigress Jerry Hall struts across the stage twirling her cat tail and growling as boyfriend Ferry croons. Roxy's "Same Old Scene" (from 1980's Flesh + Blood) makes an appearance in the form of a cool black-and-white video. Fans of this later, Avalon-era sound will gravitate toward Total Recall's latter third, while glam rock, prog rock, and Eno fans will delight in the first two-thirds of the documentary.
Total Recall is as professional and polished a package as one will find, with an emphasis on creative and inventive editing techniques throughout. It's a testament to Roxy Music's unique sound and style, and confirms the group as an influential and inspiring force.