Hillary Clinton's rally at Independence Mall would start in four hours, and Matt Wilson was happily standing in an unmoving line a half-mile away.

Behind him on South Fourth Street, the line for the rally would eventually stretch all the way to Washington Avenue and over to 11th Street - nearly two miles of Clinton supporters, hoping to make it to the mall to see the Democratic presidential candidate, a former president, and the current president and first lady speak. Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen were set to perform. The sun was still out. The mood on Fourth, as supporters streamed to the unseen end of the line, was buoyant.

"It's a star-studded cast," Wilson said, grinning. "How could you miss this? It's her story in the making."

Tens of thousands packed the mall for the rally before Election Day. Thousands more waited for hours to get inside, snapping selfies, buying buttons from hawkers, and hoping the line would move just a few more blocks.

The crowd on Independence Mall was shoulder to shoulder, filled with mothers pushing strollers, old men in wool caps, boys in soccer jerseys. It was 43 degrees at 5:30 p.m. and getting colder, but nobody seemed to mind.

They were black and white, Latino and Asian, drawn to the candidate, many said, not the spectacle.

"If I wanted to see Bruce, I would have went [to his show] in the summer," Lauren Tice of Manayunk said with a laugh.

Kevin Niemann, 23, got off from work at 2 p.m. and drove straight from Baltimore to Philadelphia, pausing only a moment to pull on his Springsteen "River Tour" T-shirt.

"As a proud Democrat," he said, noting the president and nominee would both be present, "this is the whole thing."

As she waited to see Clinton - and Springsteen, whom she said she was eager to see - Kat Richter wore a purple and gold sash that read: "Vote for a woman."

The Stockton University professor started out as a Bernie Sanders supporter but has moved to the Clinton camp.

"I wanted them to see history," said Amanda Atkinson, sitting on the mall with her four sons - all under 7. "I think it'd be amazing to have a woman in the White House."

Not everyone at the rally was a Clinton supporter. At the line, a man in an orange prison jumpsuit and a Hillary Clinton mask was met with eye rolls.

On the mall, Kevin Patrick Moran called the nominee a horseman of the apocalypse, and held up a large "Don't Tread on Me" flag. "I'm voting for Gary Johnson," he said of the Libertarian candidate.

Bon Jovi took the stage around 7:30. He played a few stripped-down hits - "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Who Says You Can't Go Home" - and thanked Philadelphians for supporting his charitable efforts in the city.

Springsteen followed to cheers, playing three songs, all acoustic: "Thunder Road," "Long Walk Home," and, surprisingly, "Dancing in the Dark," usually performed as a bouncy, up-tempo rocker. In between, he strummed his guitar and spoke about income inequality, the Supreme Court, climate change, and what he called Republican candidate Donald Trump's "profound lack of decency."

The crowd clapped. "He's good," a man whispered to his companion, pleasantly surprised by the policy talk.

The crowd reserved some of its biggest cheers for the Obamas.

"In many ways, speaking here tonight is perhaps the last and most important thing I can do for my country as first lady," Michelle Obama said.

Supporters lifted cellphone cameras to the Jumbotron on the mall and sighed when she called President Obama the love of her life. They fell silent as the president spoke.

"I'm betting that tomorrow you'll reject fear and choose hope," he said.

It was 9 by the time Clinton took the stage, and some in the crowd had been standing since 3 or earlier. They chanted "Hillary!" and recited familiar campaign catchphrases. She said she regretted the negative tone of the campaign.

"Not your fault!" a woman yelled.

215-854-2961@aubreyjwhelan