On the negative side one can say - as a few mentioned on here before - that the title doesn't might fit the content at all, as "Opening Night 1971" looks more like a collection from three different shows from January 1971. You might say that with "The Wonder Of You" there's only one new track on it, but I think that there's much more to this release from the new lable "Flaming Phoenix Productions".
A lot of people said we had almost all the songs from this release before on "All Things Are Possible" (DAE), "Lean, Mean & Kickin' Butt" (Fort Baxter) (or the 1st CD from the box-set "Showroom Internationale 1971" (International) and FTDs CD "The Impossible Dream". Not forget to mention that somewhat bizarre compilation that misused the synonym "Fort Baxter" for the forgettable CD "Thank You Very Much".
Some people claimed that the former released tracks were taken from the mentioned releases, but I don't believe their sayings.
There's no doubt that the soundquality of all releases from the January/ February Vegas engagement 1971 left a lot to be desired. The weakest sounding of all the import releases was the now very rare "Snowbird" (2001). The best sounding to me was - possibly quite subjective - "Lean, Mean & Kickin' Butt". The soundquality of the officially released "The Impossible Dream" CD didn't offer better soundquality than the bootleg CDs and wasn't one of the strongest releases of the otherwise mighty fine collectors lable.
Now "Opening Night 1971" got released by the new lable "Flaming Phoenix Productions". Is it any worth?
The first four tracks were former released on "The Impossible Dream" and "All Things Are Possible" but to me the sound on this new release sounds a tad better than what we've had before. The editing is done fine as one gets the impression to hear a complete show.
The tracks 5 to 10 from the midnight show on January 27th don't have any reverb effects that were so typical for DAE. "All Things Are Possible" didn't have to much reverb on it, but it's there and I don't like it that much. That alone is an indication that the Phoenix people used a different source and better sounding one. The result is that the recordings do sound warmer and fuller on "Opening Night 1971" than on "All Things Are Possible".
Track eleven "Johnny B. Goode" was released on "The Impossible Dream". As on the first four tracks it's hard to make out any difference between them despite the fact that FTD sounds much louder, but not better.
The tracks 12 to 14 are the only new recordings offering introductions, a rushed version of "The Wonder of You" and the introduction of Hal Wallis.
"Can't Help Falling In Love" was released before. The sound is better than on "All Things Are Possible" and a tad better than on "The Impossible Dream". The flaws of the tape are the same. Possibly the soundquality for recordings of this season doesn't get any better than this.
Tracks 16 "Make The World Go Away" and track 17 "Something" were released on "Thank You Very Much", were they sound much more compressed - just the way lesser quality mp3s do sound. Here they sound as good as it gets which fits the performances as Elvis offers really good versions of the songs.
The tracks 18 to 24 from the midnight show on January 28th were released on "Lean, Mean & Kickin' Butt" and on the 1st CD of "Showroom Internationale 1971". Here the improvement is really evident as the tracks do sound much clearer and more vibrant in comparison to the original Fort Baxter CD.
Last but not least as a reminder one should say, that all released recordings do suffer from a more or less microphone overload, but that's mainly the problem of the recordings themselves.
Conclusion: Do I buy the CD only for one unreleased song and a few introductions? Well, I can easily live without the song, but as a hardcore collector that I am I wanted to have that one. Call me addicted and you're right (but I know I'm not alone). Despite the former known fact that Elvis is rushing the show I've got to admit that none of the above mentioned releases do sound as good as this one. To my ears the CD offers mostly the best soundquality to date for recordings of the January/February engagement 1971.
All in all a good way to start for a new lable. Recommended.