Legendary Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil is a poet, a political activist, a composer, dancer and a philosopher. He was all of those Wednesday night during a brilliant performance at Lisner Auditorium. Gil is also a warrior for international civil rights, and his concert was a music lesson in philosophy, politics and play.

He opened with a sultry reggae version of "Vamos Fugir," followed by a slow, melting rendition of George Harrison's "Something" and a steamy "Palco." Paying tribute to another musical icon, Gil also sang a soothing version of Bob Marley's "Is This Love?"

Gil, born in Salvador, in the northeastern state of Bahia, is a leader of Tropicalia, a movement that has shaped Brazilian music, theater, film and poetry. Wednesday, his music was a fusion of jazz, rock, reggae and R&B. Gil mixed electric rock with traditional folk and blended bossa nova, samba, baiao, Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian, while telling stories.

Gil's band--particularly percussionists Leonardo Reis and Gustavo de Dalva--played with passion and drive, improvising in a seamless blend of rhythms. The show included such favorites as "Refavela," "Toda Menina Baiana" and "Aquele Abraco." Gil laughed during "Flora," "Opachoro" and "Vendedor de Caranguejo," a song about a crab seller. But he did not sing his famed "Quanta," "Estrela" or the funny "Pela Internet." There was not enough time, but that was okay because the rest was enough.

CAPTION: Brazilian musician and activist Gilberto Gil shone at Lisner.