Are you sure about this? Because this piece, according to Mays, was written not too long before being released.
If you look in the right margin, about 2/3 of the way down the page, you see a mini-interview with Mays where he states they wrote it just before recording it.
Lyle describes the overall creative process for The Way Up
MOTU: How did the idea of doing an entire continuous album come about?
Was that something that had been kicking around for a while amongst
Lyle: Not really. But it emerged during the first few days
of meeting with Pat. I flew out from LA to New York to start a writing
process for this record. Our discussions before the record were pretty
minimal. And Pat and I got together with the idea that we would
compose a record. And we didn't know that it would be a single piece
of music at that point.
Also, in this Metheny interview he never says anything about playing this piece prior to releasing it:
That's not to say that they didn't perform a variation on it; plenty of bands perform versions of song prior to release and it evolves a bit before it's finally recorded (a la Pink Floyd performing Dogs and Sheep on the Wish You Were Here tour under the titles "You've Got To Be Crazy" and "Raving And Drooling" respectively).