Increasing performance requirements and compact structure design promote the generation of axial–radial combined compressors. However, its complex structure and asymmetrical outlet boundary cause difficulty to get an in-depth comprehension of the flow unsteadiness associated with spike-stall. In this work, unsteady full-annular simulations of an axial–radial combined compressor coupled with performance experiment validations were carried out. Based on the overall understanding of outlet distortion on each component, the general feature of tip leakage flow with asymmetrical outlet boundary was extracted. The temporal and spatial development of large coherent perturbations was revealed by the decomposition and reconstruction of the transient flow data with the dynamic mode decomposition approach. The results demonstrate that the outlet distortion can propagate reversely to the compressor inlet and the degree of distortion decreases gradually, which leads to the highest possibility for radial rotor to suffer from flow unsteadiness. In the circumferential location with distortion affected, the leakage momentum of the adjacent blade leading edge is enhanced by the secondary leakage, inducing the expansion of tip leakage vortex and causing flow instability. Besides organized perturbation structures related to mean flow and blade passing frequency, two large low-frequency stall perturbations approximately one-third and three-fourth rotor frequency was captured by the dynamic mode decomposition method, which is caused by volute potential effect and stator/rotor interference, respectively. The former occurs in the radial rotor and decays during its propagation, while the latter always exists owing to the multiple rotor/stator or stator/rotor interference in the axial–radial combined compressor.