The recordings are from various concerts during the period 1968 to 1970 including shows in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Boston and Copenhagen. Tracks include "Gloria", originally a hit for Them, and an extended version of The Doors' best known song "Light My Fire". John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful joined the band on stage to play harmonica on Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster". The album was discontinued following the 1991 release of In Concert, a double-album which included all of the songs from Alive, She Cried and Absolutely Live, as well as a few other live tracks. The version of "Light My Fire" from this album is actually from a variety of sources. "The Graveyard Poem" is a recited poetry piece from Boston in April 1970. It was inserted into the break of "Light My Fire" for this album. "Gloria" was also edited to exclude some risque verses. Later releases of "Gloria" on the Bright Midnight label restored the edited verses.
In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau wrote that the tapes are "of some quality" and Morrison is effective when he focuses on singing, but the album is marred by moments "when he emits his poetry" and "narcissistic" come-ons.Rolling Stone's Parke Puterbaugh rated it four out of five stars, explaining that it "brings [...] the Doors' impossibly strange and wonderful music, Morrison's drunken loutishness and his stabbingly sober poetics, and the brilliant, vivid sparking of a machine too mercurial to last." He concluded by stating that ""Light My Fire" [...] flares upward into an intensifying bolt of passion that crescendos with [...] a scream signifying the communal orgasm of a generation and a decade and a band that would flame out and fall silent all too quickly." In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Bruce Eder said that Alive, She Cried "helped solve [Absolutely Live's] problem" of "[leaving] more casual fans rather cold, owing to the absence of any of their biggest hits". However, he pointed out that "it also revealed the reason why 'Light My Fire' had not made it onto the prior live album".