Porte De Pantin, Pavillon de Paris    October 27, 1977

Believe it or not, but the man pictured above - the one dangling stark naked over the stage of the Paris Palais de Sport, in full view of a capacity crowd there to see Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - is an extremely lucky man.

Certainly Rainbow's European promoter, Eric Thompson, had no idea that he would be making an unannounced but spectacular appearance at the gig - but his fate, after foolhardily combining numerous snipes at Rainbow's proud reputation as "wild men of rock" with a couple of blunders in handling the tour, could have been considerably worse.

According to tour manager Bob Adcock, the original, far more outrageous, plan was to get the promoter unconsious on booze and drugs, strip him, shave his head, and then dump him in the back seat of his own car - which would then be driven to a French port and put on a ferry to Iceland.

Imagine Thompson's horror on awakening to discover he was halfway to Iceland with a one-way ticket.

Adcock didn't explain why this plan was dropped - but under the circumstances, Eric Thompson should consider himself lucky indeed merely to have been grabbed by Rainbow's road crew, stripped on the spot, trussed up in a harness, and suspended elegantly over the Rainbow! (Think I'd rather go to Iceland! - Ed.)

New Musical Express, November 12, 1977

A big thank you to Tonny Steenhagen for a scan of this article

At the last night of the tour on the Continent you played Paris and you guys got a practical joke lined up for tourpromoter Eric Thompson. Tell us about that please?

Bob Daisley: The road crew made a harness for Eric, stripped him naked and hung him from the rainbow during the show! They let him down when he started going red in the face as they thought maybe the harness was too tight. When asked if he was ok, Eric said, "yes, I was just trying to take a shit on Cozy".

Rainbow Fanclan interview with Bob Daisley - August 2003

Bob Daisley: There was a promoter there called Eric Thompson. You might notice that his initials are E.T. He looked a bit like E.T. He looked a bit like a light bulb. He had a weak and narrow chin that went down to his neck like a light bulb. The top of his head was sort of bulbous. Once Ritchie pulled the photograph out of his passport and replaced it with a picture of E.T. When Thompson went to go through customs and gave it to the guard and they just all fell about laughing.

Classic Rock Revisited, April 2002

Ritchie playing another joke on Eric Thompson - European Tour 1982

Eric Thompson (or Thomsen like his name was in fact) passed away on May 20, 2006