A Picture of Nectar is the third official studio album and first on a major-label by American rock band Phish, released on February 18, 1992, through Elektra Records. The album is dedicated to Nector Rorris, the proprietor of Nectar's in Burlington, Vermont, where Phish played their first bar gig followed by a series of monthly three-night stands, saying that the experience "taught us how to play".
There are two versions of the album's cover. The first printings of the CD were issued in longbox format, and the title of the album was not printed on the CD insert itself. Later printings came in shrink-wrap format and had the band's name and album title printed directly on the insert.
The songs on A Picture of Nectar explore a variety of musical genres, including jazz, country, calypso, rock and roll and neo-psychedelia. Tracks 2, 8, and 9 are instrumentals. The song "Manteca" is a cover of the song by jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie; in Phish's short version, the melody line is sung as a goofy nonsense phrase. "Poor Heart" is written in bluegrass style.
All songs on the album have been performed live by the band, though the instrumental tracks have become relative rarities after the mid-1990s. The short instrumental, "Faht", written by drummer Jon Fishman, has only been performed live twelve times, the last in 1995. Several live versions of "Catapult" have been performed in the middle of another song, such as "Run Like an Antelope", "David Bowie" and "Simple".
The album was certified gold by the RIAA on November 15, 2001.
Allmusic staff writer Jim Smith gave the album four and a half stars out of five, noting the variety of musical genres explored on the album and calling it "a surprisingly tight record for a band that built its reputation on endless concert jams".
In an April 2, 1992 review, Billboard magazine raved that A Picture of Nectar "...should be required on all college listening lists. The songs are all over the place from whacked-out rock to bluegrass to jazz. The constant is the high quality of musicianship and spirit that runs from track to track."
PhishTrey Anastasio – guitar, vocals
Page McConnell – keyboard, organ, vocals
Mike Gordon – bass guitar, vocals
Jon Fishman – drums, vocals
AdditionalGordon Stone – pedal steel, banjo
Michael Mills – art direction
Tom Walters – assistant engineer
Jon Altschiller – engineer
Bob Ludwig – mastering
B.C. Kagan – photography
Joe Witkop – photography
Kevin Halpin – producer, engineer
The song "Llama" is included in the music video game Rock Band 3, where it is the second song in the main-game series (not including DLC) to have full Impossible rating for all band members (Painkiller from Rock Band 2 is the first). However, it is the first to have a full Impossible rating with keys included. "Stash" and "Tweezer" were also released as downloadable content for Rock Band 3 in 2011.
"Tweezer Reprise" was used in a Michael Phelps montage following his 19th Olympic medal in 2012.
"Catapult" features a sample from "Remember Now" by Queensrÿche off of the album Operation: Mindcrime.