I am a couple years shy of having been able to see the mighty Led Zeppelin live. I was fortunate enough to see the original Roth era Van Halen live. for those of you old enough to be my older sibling and was fortunate to see both...who was better live?
Never saw either of them live. So I can't comment on that. But as for influence--there still stoner teens listening to Led Zeppelin to this day, its a right of passage. VH... not so much. Unless they play guitar, maybe.
DLR's early image is Plant like and EVH took a fair bit from Page but VH focused on the upbeat rock parts of Led Zep because VH were a party band with that humour in their songs as well.
An early LA music review from 1977 compared DLR and EVH to Plant and Page.
VH hasn't got the serious depth of Led Zep and I don't think they wanted it for VH.
VH had lots of influences, Deep Purple, Led Zep etc etc and EVH had Clapton, Blackmore and Page and then hooked onto early 70s Holdsworth which changed EVH's playing into what it became, a sort of Rock/Fusion hack mix.
Page hasn't got Fusion in his mix and Blackmore has a bit but EVH has and it came from early Holdsworth when he was in bands like Tempest.
"David Coverdale: Someone on the inside told me and I’m not sure how true it is, that the Van Halen camp floated the idea on the internet. I was so angry about that, as I was semi-retired at the time. I like being my own boss!
I haven’t spoken to Eddie since he came up to my room in London when I was working with Pagey. He knocked at the hotel door and asked if Jimmy was here? [Laughing] He got on his knees in front of Jimmy Page, asking him how he played this thing and how he played that thing. It was very sweet. He also went straight to my ****ing mini bar at 10:00am too!"
I saw them both. Both great bands that made huge contributions to rock. I have one I prefer over the other, but that's just a preference.
I will say I saw Zeppelin at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, which is the place a bunch of people were trampled to death at a Who concert two years later. It was an incredibly unpleasant experience because of how badly the Coliseum managed crowds and the whole general admission thing in general. I'm really surprised nobody died that day either.