The 1985 Montreux performance was much better received than the 1982 visit, when some of the crowd booed Vaughan's hard blues sound. The song selection for Live Alive displays many of SRV's biggest influences: Jimi Hendrix ("Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"), Stevie Wonder ("Superstition"), Howlin' Wolf ("Commit a Crime"), and Buddy Guy ("Mary Had a Little Lamb").
"I'm Leaving You (Commit a Crime)" is incorrectly credited on the album to C. Burnett, better known as Howlin' Wolf. Although Howlin' Wolf was the first to record the song on the album The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions, it was written by James Oden. The title is also incorrect, because "I'm Leaving You" is a completely different song by Howlin' Wolf. The song was originally titled "What a Woman!", but was released in 1981 (after Wolf's death) as "Commit a Crime" on the album "All Night Boogie". It is not unlikely that the title used on Live Alive was an honest mistake, since the lyrics start with "I'm leaving you woman, before I commit a crime". When Kenny Wayne Shepherd recorded the song for his 1995 album Ledbetter Heights, he carried on the mistake and used Stevie Ray Vaughan's title for the song, and also credited Howlin' Wolf as the writer.
Stevie Ray Vaughan's older brother, Jimmie Vaughan (guitar, bass), appeared as a special guest on July 17, 1986 and is featured on "Willie the Wimp", "Love Struck Baby", "Look at Little Sister" and "Change It".