The setlists of this era in the Swans live show were probably the most varied in terms of chronology. Although many of the songs performed were culled from Soundtracks for the Blind, the band also resurrected songs from much earlier albums, including a reworking of "I Crawled" from Young God.
Disc one (Black) was recorded in Amsterdam, New York City, Trondheim, Prague, Brussels and Atlanta on the band's final tour in 1997. Two other songs were performed on this tour, "The Man With the Silver Tongue", which appeared in a revised form on Angels of Light's 1999 debut LP New Mother; and "My Birth", which remained unreleased until it appeared on Swans's 2010 album My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky. However, neither tracks were included on the album. Other songs were also sporadically performed, such as "The Sound" (at least twice on the American leg of the tour).
The liner notes state that disc two (white) was recorded in Norway on the band's 1995 tour. The songs "In", "Alcohol the Seed", and "Animus", that had been played during the tour and also for the Amsterdam concert, did not appear on Swans Are Dead (the concert has been recorded by the radio station VPRO, Animus is also cut on that recording).