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Carrie Underwood: See Backstage Photos of ‘The Storyteller Tour’

Country’s superstar entertainer offers commentary and exclusive pictures from her sold-out tour

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood shares backstage photos from her current Storyteller Tour.

Jeff Johnson

Carrie Underwood is currently in the midst of her Storyteller Tour, her first trek to employ a 360-degree in-the-round stage. The production and choreography that goes into presenting the concert, with all its hydraulic lifts, set pieces and moving parts, requires Underwood to have laser-like focus onstage. In this behind-the-scenes gallery, she shares a glimpse of how she prepares for each concert stop and what went into planning the tour.

"You have ideas and feel your way through it. Sometimes something can seem like a great idea on paper and once you get out there, you're like, 'Eh, that didn't really work or that was weird,'" Underwood tells Rolling Stone Country. "But we wanted to make sure everybody got a great show, no matter where they were. That's super unique about being in the round. It maximizes interaction with the audience."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Bus Life

Underwood travels with her son with husband Mike Fisher, 11-month Isaiah. "This tour is a little bit more bus happy than I feel like we've been in the past. I am taking my son with me, and it's a lot of work to get all of our stuff off the bus and into a hotel room, and then pack it back up to get it on the bus. So we're living more on the bus than we ever have."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Back in Black

Underwood is an unabashed hard rock and hair-metal fan and often plays songs by Kiss and Guns N' Roses backstage to get warmed up for the show. She says she's excited for the impending Guns N' Roses reunion. "I know people are skeptical of [the whole reunion], but I would want to go just in case it was freaking awesome. I'd be really mad if I wasn't there," says Underwood, who dreams of duetting with Axl Rose. "That's bucket list stuff right there."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Mic Check

"I like to see how different my voice and the music sound, depending on where I am on the stage," Underwood says of soundcheck. "We will do maybe two songs and then I'm done, and the band can figure the rest out."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Jukebox Hero

One of the key set pieces of the Storyteller Tour is Underwood singing atop a Wurlitzer jukebox. "That was Barry Lather's idea, our creative mind behind the whole show. At first, it was like, 'She comes up on a jukebox!' But we had to make sure it's really cool, because it has the potential in the wrong hands to be cheesy. But Barry definitely made it look amazing. It's a cool moment."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

360 Degrees

The goal of the in-the-round setup is to give fans in all areas of the arena a one-of-a-kind experience. "No matter where they were — standing, sitting, down low, up high — we are very careful to make sure that everybody would have a unique show," says Underwood.

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Alone Time

Underwood handles all of her own glam while on the road. "I do my own hair and makeup for tour, but if there is some special reason, like TV, then somebody else will do that. But for just your regular show, I do my own."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Beam Me Up, Carrie

"When I'm standing in the middle, looking up, it feels like I'm about to be transported someplace," Underwood jokes, describing her enormous lighting rig. "It's such a cool design."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Home Away From Home

"We have to work hard to bring home with us. Even in the dressing room," says Underwood, who cites the nightly performance of Storyteller track "What I Never Knew I Always Wanted," featuring intimate photos of her family, as one of her favorite parts of the concert. "It's like my break in the middle of the show. I get to sit and look at pictures of Mike and our son Isaiah."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

The Storyteller

"Storytelling is a part of our tradition and our heritage in country," says Underwood of the tour's theme. "Country music has always done such a great job of holding onto the past while looking ahead and mixing it all together."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

To the Stage

Underwood changes costumes five times during the show, often starting each performance in this gold dress. "I have at least three options for things to wear, depending on how I'm feeling, or if it's hot or cold. It's nice that I don't have to wear the same thing every night," she says. "The gold one is an opener piece. They're all different and they all have different vibes and feels. That's one of my favorites."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

All-American Girl

Underwood chats with a young fan at a backstage meet-and-greet. "We're a family-friendly show," she says. "There are so many families that come to the show. It's what it's all about and we work hard to make sure it feels like home."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Costume Quick Change

Underwood has a small dressing room underneath the stage, where she switches out her various costumes. "You have to crouch down and run all hunched over until you get there and then stand up," she says. "It's a finely choreographed dance to do my wardrobe changes."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Testing Out the Set

Underwood's band spent a week rehearsing before the tour, with the singer joining them shortly after at a rehearsal space in Nashville, where the full set was erected. "We spent about a month rehearsing music and staging," says Underwood. "We spent a long time before then just talking about it, to get it rolling."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Crew Mate

"We've had so many of these guys and ladies on tour with us, the same people, for years," says Underwood, praising her crew. "It's nice to have that constant. We all live together and travel around in this strange little caravan."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Pre-Show Pep Talk

Like most touring artists, Underwood and her band and crew engage in a ritual before taking the stage. Mostly, it's a bonding moment — without booze for the star. "A couple of the band guys might have something to drink, but I can't. I don't know how some performers do that," she says. "With all the moving parts on our stage, if I was even a teeny bit tipsy, I'd fall in some pit or fall off something. I have to be in control when I sing."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Performing State of Mind

As Underwood begins her walk toward the stage, she says there's one final thing going through her mind. "I'm thinking about my staging, where I need to be. There are a lot of moving parts, and if I'm not on some lift somewhere, when it's time to take me, it can throw everything off. I don't want me being in the wrong place at the wrong time to screw everything up."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

Keeping an Ear Out

"I sing full-on when we do soundcheck," says Underwood of testing out the arenas' acoustics. "Because it's such a big space that I have to cover, I have to make sure my microphone works everywhere and I'm not getting any feedback or dropping out my ears. I just walk around the stage, get a feel for the room."

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

On the Move

"Right before we go onstage, we get together in my dressing room and break some of the tension," says Underwood, making her way to a preshow meet-and-greet with fans.

Carrie Underwood

Jeff Johnson

In the Round

"With every tour, I want to make it look and feel and sound different. I've never done in-the-round before," says Underwood of the Storyteller Tour stage setup. "It can be intimidating, just thinking about it: 'Can I do this?' You are sticking out there, for everyone to see, from all angles."

In This Article: Carrie Underwood

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