MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The late rock ‘n’ roll legend Tom Petty said it best: The waiting is the hardest part. That song, or at least its meaning, played out in the minds of thousands of people standing in a zig-zagging line Sunday outside the Armory to see Katy Perry.

It was the finale of a free Final Four concert series at the venue. Electronic dance music producer Zedd was the opening act.

“Just glad it’s not raining,” said Rachel Dukowitz, who got in line around 5 p.m. The doors to the venue wouldn’t open for two more hours. “Had a few drinks, so hopefully don’t have to go to the bathroom. Don’t know what I’m going to do if I have to.”

Not far from Dukowitz’s spot in line was Tracy Appelbaum who was with her daughter, Ella.

“I feel old,” Tracy joked. “But I’m excited I’m with my daughter and it’s our first concert together.”

Appelbaum acquired the free tickets for them, scoring major cool points with Ella. “She likes to have, do fun things together and this is good bonding for us,” Ella said.

Like the concerts the two previous nights, the line snaked far away from the Armory. Hundreds who showed up early were standing outside Government Plaza.

“Honestly, I thought that we were crazy for coming this early and then we turned the corner and it was like holy crap, maybe we should have come here sooner,” Dukowitz said.

While their wait might have felt long, it was nowhere near the length experienced by a dedicated group in the front of the line. Katy Perry super fans, about a dozen of them who met online through their shared fandom of the pop star, showed up the night before as people were entering the venue to see the Jonas Brothers.

“They were like trampling all over us because we were on the ground,” a girl in the group said.

When asked why they would show up 24 hours early, forcing them to sleep outside (which included a late-morning rainstorm), another in the group answered, “We want to see (Perry) up front, every single time.”

Regardless of the wait times, most were simply happy that attending the concert didn’t cost them a dime.

“It’s nice not having to pay for it, so I guess waiting in line for two hours is not too bad,” Dukowitz said.

The Final Four is hosting another free concert Monday night. However, it’s not at the Armory. The Fitz and the Tantrums will perform on the stage at the Tip-Off Tailgate on the Nicollet Mall at 6 p.m.

Jeff Wagner