I am thinking of biting the bullet on this. I am tired of monkeying around with my ragtag assortment of pedals. Right now I have a stock Strat and a TRRI. Do I need to invest in an OBEL? Am I going to need anything else other than this contraption? Also, how long is it going to take to figure this thing out? Something that gets me 80-85% of Jerry's tone is just fine by me.
The Axe box, from what I've heard does a great job of replacing the amp (at least the pre-amp) and a bunch of pedals. You might still want an envelope filter of your choice - I don't have one but most of the rack versions of the Mutron III don't quite cut it. Vic or one of the others that use the Axe could tell you for sure. Are you looking to run direct? Into a poweramp? If so, then this thing is a good choice. Do you play a lot of other styles of music? Then this box is a good choice, lots of cool amp models so you can get your shred on too if you desire.
As to the OBEL - I would say this: it's a great thing for playing live. It gives you the ability to not have to do the stomp-box tap dance right when you need to be focused on playing or singing. If you gig a lot I think it is a cool thing for any live player not just Dead band players. As far as changing your tone dramatically, I am skeptical - other than if you mess with you volume a lot. Having a master volume on your guitar after the OBEL allows you to change volume at your guitar and not have your effects wimp out on you. If that sounds like issues you have then I would say the OBEL makes sense. I'm getting a guitar built now and I am probably going to put one in that guitar.
You can get a really good Jerry tone from a Strat and a TRRI - it won't be exact but good. Heck, if you play like Jerry you can get a good Jerry tone from a Flying V and a Marshall